How to pass your US Embassy tourist B1/B2 visa interview

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard all the horror stories. Despite bringing land titles, “show money,” proof of vehicle ownership, credit cards, bank statements, letters of financial support from relatives overseas and even wearing tons of jewelry, numerous U.S. visa applicants still got denied. Even well-traveled folks still didn’t get that seemingly elusive U.S. visa. You may have even read or heard testimonies that some American consuls are too strict, don’t listen to your explanations or don’t even bother to check your other credentials and proofs that you can sustain your trip to the USA.

I’m sure that those horror stories are the very reasons why you’re either scared or hesitant to apply for a B1/B2 tourist visa. Okay, let me tell you from the get-go: the entire process is simple, you only need FOUR items and there aren’t any other secrets. Just like what the U.S. Embassy Manila said in its official video: WALANG SIKRETO.

us visa

In this blog post, I will share my US Embassy tourist visa interview experience and some bits and pieces about the application process. Hopefully, this can help ease your doubts and worries and that this can also help you get a U.S. B1/B2 tourist visa.

Before anything else, let me point you to the official page where you can find the complete, step-by-step procedure on how to apply for your U.S. visa in the Philippines – http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ This is the ONLY website that I used. Forget agencies that offer “visa assistance.” Don’t waste your money! You can most likely accomplish the tourist visa application steps on your own and in just a matter of hours. (our PWD and senior citizen friends may still need assistance, though).

Also, I would like to point out that the U.S. government granted me a J1 visa before for my 2012 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). I also had to undergo an interview at the time but it was more like a formality. Plus that visa already expired; hence, my need to apply for a new visa. This time, since my trip will for leisure purposes, I needed to apply for a US tourist visa specifically the B1/B2 visa.

B1 is for business while B2 is for pleasure/leisure, medical treatment or visiting relatives and friends. Usually, B1 and B2 are combined and issued as one.

The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premiere exchange program for global leaders. You can read more about my life changing experience here.

So, okay, like I said, just follow that page for the application procedure. A few reminders, by the way:

1. Check the validity of your passport

2. Keep your valid passport nearby as you accomplish your DS-160 form

3. Best to have your photo professionally taken. When I applied for that J1 visa, I only took a “selfie.” Lucky for me, my brother is a professional photographer so I just requested him to edit the photo according to the Embassy’s requirements. This time around, though, what I did was go to a photo studio inside a mall. They actually had a “US Visa photo package” already. Since you have to upload the digital version of the photo when you accomplish your DS-160, I just paid a little extra for the studio folks to save the digital version in my USB

I went to a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch to pay for my US visa fee (US $160 = Php 8,160 that time). Please note that the peso equivalent of the visa fee will depend on the current exchange rate.

Then, I went to this website to set my interview appointment. If you’re a first time user of the website, you need to create an account. The website is very comprehensive, don’t worry. Just key in the required details (e.g. your full name, passport number, bank receipt number etc) and you will be able to set your interview appointment. The website gives you the earliest available date. When I logged in at the time, however, I didn’t like the available date so I decided to wait it out.

The next day, I checked the website again and saw that there were available slots on my preferred date (YAY!). I immediately confirmed my interview date and printed my appointment confirmation. By the way, when you click on the available date (found on the left side of the website), you will be taken to another page where you can find all the other available dates, available time slots and the number of slots per day.

So going back to what I said at the start of this blog entry, you only need 4 items:

1. valid passport (previous and currently issued ones)
2. DS-160 confirmation form
3. appointment confirmation
4. payment confirmation (receipt from the bank)

Note: You might still want to bring supporting documents. There’s no stopping you 🙂 However, I can tell you that I didn’t need them at all.

DAY OF THE INTERVIEW

My interview was set at 11 AM. There was an earlier slot available but I wanted to take my time. When I applied for my J1 visa, my interview was set at early morning (I think it was 8 AM, if I’m not mistaken) and I remember barely getting any sleep the night before.

Anyway, US visa applicants are only required to be at the Embassy 15 minutes before the interview.

Because I wasn’t too sure about Manila traffic anymore (Roxas Boulevard can be a nightmare!), I consulted my Manila-based friends and cousin. They all told me that it may take me a good 2 hours to reach US Embassy Manila from Makati so I left the place I stayed in at around 8:30 AM. Lo and behold, I arrived at 9:10 AM (LOL). So I decided to kill time at a coffee shop roughly 3 blocks away (unfortunately I didn’t know there was one right across the Embassy).

At around 10:10 AM, I decided to leave the coffee shop and just go to the Embassy and wait for the 10:45 AM call time. Under the searing heat of the sun, I walked towards the Embassy. Good thing I wore comfortable clothes and sandals! That’s another tip, by the way. Wear comfortable, decent clothes.

Several minutes later, I arrived at the Embassy. I saw a sign that said that the Embassy was now processing appointments for 11 AM! It was barely 10:20 AM. Hmm. So I went to the tent that served as the “entrance” and the lady told me to go to the next tent and proceed to Line 1. I went to Line 1. Save for a lady who served as a companion for a minor, there weren’t anyone else in line. The Embassy staff asked for my passport and then she pasted a barcoded sticker on the back of it. I was then told to proceed to the doors.

As soon as you enter the doors, your bags will be checked. A few reminders:

1. You may bring a bag of any size. HOWEVER, you are NOT allowed to bring any kind of electronic and battery-operated devices (mobile phone, digital camera, laptop, music player, portable game consoles such as PSP, thumb drive, mobile tablet, e-readers, CDs and the like). You also cannot bring lighters and any flame-generating device, sharp objects including army-style multi-tool accessories, crayons and markers and any device with an on/off switch.

2. You aren’t allowed to bring food and drinks inside including chewing gums. If you do get hungry or thirsty, there are some stalls at the waiting area.

3. No weapons allowed. Of course.

us embassy manila

* The signs and the first waiting area. First photo by my friend Jane, used with permission. Second photo from the US Embassy blog

IMPORTANT: Applicants who bring such devices will be denied entry and your receipt will be locked, preventing rebooking, for 30 days. So don’t take any chances.

Once you’re in the clear, you will be allowed to proceed to the main building.

Now this is where things got interesting for me. The waiting area was EMPTY so the security guard there told me to go straight to the main building. There was another scanner. I again noticed that the seats were EMPTY so the male usher told me to go to Step 1.

* This is how the waiting area at the main building looks like. This one was taken by my friend Jane at the second floor but the first floor looks like this. See the booths? That’s where the consular officers are. Photo used with permission.

Step 1 is the Pre-Screening Area. A Filipina Embassy staff member manned the booth and asked for my passport. Then I was asked when my birth date was. A few seconds later, she told me to go to the next step (which was like 5 steps away hehe)

Step 2 is the Finger Scanning Area. I was asked to put my left 4 fingers first and then the right 4 fingers. Finally, the 2 thumbs. The Embassy staff member looked at the screen and then told me to proceed to the next step.

NOTE that I was virtually alone at both areas (LOL – I guess the 11 AM appointment time isn’t a favorite of many applicants). I saw some Consuls conducting interviews so I figured I could sit down for a second and catch my breath (remember, I basically went straight from the coffee shop to Step 2 LOL). Unfortunately, the male usher saw me and said that I could proceed to Window 28.

OMG.

At that point, all I could think of was, “WAIT LANG. CAN’T I LOOK AT A MIRROR FIRST?”

But it was now or never. Window 28 was less than 10 steps away.

* Where interviews are conducted. Notice the electronic billboard on the wall? That’s where you’re supposed to monitor your number. Photo used with permission

A friendly looking male Consul sat behind the glass window. I gave him my passport.

AND THEN HORROR OF ALL HORRORS.

“I’m sorry. It’s so hot outside, hardly no one in line and and I just went straight here,” I said.

I know. I’m sure you’ve read other blogs where they said that you should just answer when asked and answer as briefly as possible. It was crazy. I honestly don’t know why I said that. I guess I just wanted to break the ice?

Fortunately, the Consul smiled and agreed. “Yeah, not a lot of people today.”

He took my passport. He didn’t check it yet.

“So, what do you plan to do in the U.S.?,” he asked, while looking at his computer screen.

I told him that I wanted to spend my birthday in New York City and explore the city more. I then told him that I was able to visit in 2012 but only stayed for a few days.

“Why were you there?,” he asked.

I told him that I was sent to the US for the IVLP.

“Ah, IVLP. You liked your visit? Where did you go?,” he asked. He was typing something. Note that he still didn’t bother to check my passport. I was beginning to feel a lump in my throat.

“Yes, of course!,” I answered. I mentioned the states that I visited and told him that my last stop was New York.

“I haven’t been to New York. What’s a good tip you can give me?”

I excitedly told him about taking a free ferry ride from Manhattan to Staten Island so you can see the Statue of Liberty. He was nodding his head and smiling.

“I see that you have a blog,” he said. Then he FINALLY picked my passport up and flipped its pages.

“Yes. Mindanaoan.com,” I said. Then he continued to type.

At that point, I saw him putting my passport inside a small plastic sleeve tucked on the booth divider.

“You’ll receive your visa in a few days,” he said with a smile.

“Wow, thank you very much! I truly appreciate that. Have an awesome day!” I said.

“You’re welcome. Have a great day, too. Don’t get arrested, okay?”

“Yikes, no! The Ambassador will get mad,” I joked.

And, just like that, I was granted a visa. The interview lasted less than 2 minutes and, if you include all the walking, I’d say the entire process only lasted for 5 minutes! I was really pretty lucky that day.

Like anybody who was granted a US visa, I felt like I was floating.

As I walked away from the booth, the male usher saw me and said in jest, “Ma’am, kilala mo ba yung Consul?” I laughed and said no. I guess he heard how my interview went.

By the way, you can actually listen to the other interviews in neighboring booths. On my left was a couple and their small toddler. I heard the Consul deny the toddler’s visa. On my right, I heard the Consul ask, “How did you meet?” The applicant answered, “Through the Internet.” My guess was that it was a K1 (fiance) visa interview.

Anyway, as I headed towards the exit, a lady walked past me and opened the exit door. As she held the door, she looked at me and asked if I passed. When I said yes, she flashed me a look of sadness. “Ako, hindi eh. Pangalawa na ‘to.” (I didn’t pass. This is my second attempt.)

I felt bad for her but then again, there’s always a next time.

My first instinct was to call my family but since I didn’t have a mobile phone with me, I had to wait until I arrived at my Makati abode. Which reminds me – to not have a phone feels really weird but a little liberating. It’s nice to be “disconnected” from the world even for a while.

Anyway, here are a few notes.

You only need to be at the Embassy 15 minutes before your appointment. Strict enforcement of this rule allows applicants to avoid waiting and lining up unnecessarily outside the Embassy for long periods of time. There is no advantage given to an applicant who arrives hours before the interview appointment.

At Step 1, just in case you’ll be told that your photo doesn’t meet their requirements, you can proceed to a photo booth at the first waiting area. There are also stalls here that sell snacks and drinks. You can’t bring food inside the main building.

At Step 2, just in case the scanner can’t seem to read your fingerprints/biometrics right, you can apply hand sanitizer. There’s a big bottle near the glass window.

Here are my tips on how to pass your US visa interview:

1. Do your research and, even with assistance from family or friends, you should try to accomplish everything yourself. This is especially true when you fill in the DS-160 form. There will be important questions there that you should know your answers by heart.

2. Be confident. Remember, you’re a tourist and America, like any other country in the world, will be happy to welcome tourists. Have this kind of mindset: “I am a tourist and I intend to go back to my country within the allowed period of stay.” If you know that you have no intention of doing illegal things in the USA, there’s nothing to worry about.

3. Review your travel history. Although the Embassy doesn’t explicitly say that your travel history plays a factor on your application, I think that helps. If you’ve been to other countries and you haven’t violated laws or overstayed, then it proves that you are indeed a tourist and are capable of coming back.

4. Answer honestly. Consuls are professionally trained to detect if you’re hiding something so don’t risk it! Remember – what you need to do is CONVINCE the consular officer that you will only be in the USA as a non-immigrant.

5. If you think you’re not comfortable speaking in English, you can request for a Consul who can converse in your preferred dialect. There are American Consuls who can speak perfect Filipino.

6. Dress decently. Wear appropriate clothes and comfortable footwear.

7. Prior to coming to the embassy for your interview, you should check the U.S. Embassy website https://ph.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/ to ensure that is the visa section is open, particularly in times of inclement weather or heavy traffic conditions in Metro Manila.

WHAT TO DO NEXT WHEN YOU ARE GRANTED A VISA

In my case, a text message was sent to my phone informing me of the status of the delivery of my passport with US visa. It only took 3 days! Yup, it was that fast. On the day of the supposed delivery, a text message was again sent to me. Since I wasn’t home, my brother received it on my behalf. My passport with U.S. tourist visa was delivered by 2Go courier service. Do note that you should not pay any additional fees as the delivery fee was included in the fee you paid at the bank.

Now, if you haven’t been granted a visa, PLEASE don’t despair. According to the US Embassy website, you will be given instructions on what to do next and you can also reapply at any time. Kindly read the letter that was given at the end of your interview.

Anyway, I received my passport with a 10-year multiple entry visa in it 🙂

Thank you for reading this. Please feel free to share this post with someone who might find this useful. If you have a US visa, please do share your experience in the comments section below. I’d be most happy to hear from you.

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Mindanaoan Irene

Mindanaoan is a multi-awarded blogger, social media strategist, publicist, Google Business Group - Women lead organizer, avid traveler and a proud relief operations volunteer. She is also a regular resource person for social media and blogging related conferences/workshops here and abroad. In 2012, Mindanaoan also completed a US Gov't. Department of State-sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program for emerging global leaders. She toured the U.S. for about a month for her IVLP experience. She is the founder of a bloggers group and social media club. She is also an active member of several online media, bloggers and social media enthusiasts groups all over the world. Mindanaoan is available for work and travel. Contact Mindanaoan at mindanaoan@gmail.com

108 Responses

  1. Arlene Mata says:

    Ang gaan ng feeling,pano ung sinasabinh invitation letter sis?

    • Hi Arlene! Salamat sa pagbisita 🙂 Invitation letters are optional, unless stated doon yung official reason why you’re supposed to visit the US. For example, if you need to attend a conference or something, then it would help if you bring the invitation letter. For leisure purposes, hindi kailangan but it won’t hurt if you bring one 🙂

  2. John says:

    Hi. Pano nalaman ng consul na may blog ka?

  3. mj says:

    Hello there,had my interview today May 3@ 8:15am,,i have all things and documents i guess for supporting documents pero na denie application ko,i dont know whats the reason honest naman sagot ko,i apply here in Malaysia US Embassy since i am living and working here for a long years,reason ko for us tourist visa it visit my bf. Naka apekto ba na nalagay ko estimated travel or length of stay is 1month? Kasi sa iba lusually they put 2weeks. Please help.thanks?

  4. ac says:

    Hi Irene, pwede ba makadala ng comb, press powder with mirror inside of the bag para lang makasalamin before entering the US Embassy, how about ballpen dapat ba magdala nito?

  5. billie says:

    my first travel is in japan, second is in south korea and this coming june I will be going to Australia to tour. I want to apply u.s visa after my Australia trip, kinakabahan lang ako cuz I’m a nursing grad, and they said na most of the nursing grad hindi daw na approved. haist.

    • Bakit naman? Kung valid naman ang reason mo sa pagpunta ng Amerika, may chance na ma approve ka 🙂 Siguro i-prove mo lang nang maigi na babalik ka at hindi maninirahan doon illegally.

    • Chary says:

      Maam irene tinatanong ako kung ano work ko ang sabi ko private nurse!possible ba na yun ang dahilan na denied ako kasi alam nila na nurse ako at cguro sa isip nila hindi na ito.babalik sa pinas.

  6. Joy says:

    Hello po tanong ko lang po ate ko interview MAY 24 2017 d cla pasado sa interview kasama 2 anak nya pude po ba uli kuha nag interview nla June 2017 any date thank you po

  7. Joy says:

    Hello po pude mag tanong ate ko at 2 anak nya d cla pasado interview noon MAY 24 2017 sa U.S embassy pude ba uli mag kuha sila interview nla June 2017 any date po o mag intay pa ba po sila nag 6 month bago kuha sla uli interview thank you po

  8. Ed says:

    I was reading your blog yesterday for my interview at 11 am the same day. Just answered 3 questions from the consul then got my visa application approved.?

  9. Cez says:

    Thanks sis. laking tulong ng blog mo sa m ga gustong magapply ng us tourist visa. Sana nga lng talga approved din ang visa ng husband ko nyan. kukuha xa this year. Sobrang kabado nq pra sa kanya.

    • Hi sis, salamat sa pagbisita sa aking munting blog 🙂 Kung may tanong ka, please feel free to ask ha. Tutulong ako sa abot nang aking makakaya. Basta dapat confident lang si hubby at sagutin lang ang questions without the unnecessary extra details. Kaya yan! 🙂 Update me sis ha. Good luck sa inyo

  10. Chris says:

    Hi Irene!
    Thanks for the tips! It has been helpful. ?
    You posted this when I was applying online and filled up my D160 form. I had hesitation because I don’t have any travel experience. But I still applied. Original schedule is on April 30 but was cancelled due to the ASEAN summit (sayang ang air fare and hotel!). I reschedule it to June 16 and was very nervous before the interview because I saw few people being denied (even those who have travel experience to US). The interview went quick (less than two minutes). I even gave extra details to few of the consulate’s questions. But I answered directly, quickly, consistently, and honestly. No documents were asked, the consulate didn’t even bothered opening my passport as I have no travel experience. The questions are usual, about family, work and income. After the last question “Do you plan to be an immigrant?” which I simply said “no”, he told me that my visa is approved. ?
    Four days later, I picked up my passport at 2go with 10-yr multiple entry tourist visa. I’m so happy that the first country I’m going to visit abroad is the US.

    • Congratulations, Chris! I’m very glad that you found this post helpful. It is my aim to help as many people as possible. Walang sikreto nga sabi ng embassy 🙂 Please do share this post to your friends and let me know what your plans are in the US. I’m here in NYC

    • Franz says:

      Hello!

      I plan to get a US Visa this Dec but I will used it on March pa sana sa Bday ko. Ok lang kaya mag pa appointment ako ng maaga. Hehe. First international flight ko rin to. Sana ma approved din ako. Inask po ba kayo if my relatives kayo sa states? Ano po questions sa inyo? Ano sinabi ninyo na purpose of travel? My hiningi po ba na docs? Thanks po sa pag sagot. 🙂

      • Kimberly says:

        Same tayo but January pa ako mag apply and i plan to go on March for my birthday na rin. First international flight ko din to.

  11. Toni says:

    Hello! Ask ko lang gano katagal pinrocess yung payment mo bago ka nakapagschedule ng interview? Sabi kasi sa website 4 hours after payment pwede na magschedule pero hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin valid yung receipt ko, 8am ako nagbayad, 4pm na (BPI online ako nagbayad). Thank you in advance!

  12. Antonio Llano says:

    Thank you for this informative information, I already apply for visa, I already have my confirmation for DS-160, I am hoping and praying to God na sana ma-approved ako. please do pray for me. thanks

  13. cai says:

    hi I just got my passport and is it possible to apply for US visa kahit weeks palang ang passport?

  14. May Alberto says:

    Hi sis! Just read your blog and planning also to get a visa once i got my passport next week. I just wanna asked what is the best day to pick to have an appointment (like not so many people falling-in-line) and if there’s a line for PWD? Cuz i’ll be travelling my son who has ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Thanks in advance!

    • May Alberto says:

      and i forgot to ask, is there a required medical exam from SLEC if you’re applying for a Tourist/B2 Visa?

      • Hi May! I’m not sure about the SLEC. What I can say is that whatever is placed lang talaga as the list of requirements on the website, yun lang dalhin. You can try to call the Embassy hotlines, though to be sure 🙂 As for the best day to pick – I believe there is a fixed number lang of allowed applicants in a day and on a certain time slot. You can see that when you check for open slots. You can see na there are, halimbawa, only 9 spots left on Tuesday, 10 on a Thursday etc etc. Good luck! 🙂

  15. Paul says:

    Hi irene, ask ko lng may interview kame this friday 7am, kasama ko parents ko senior citizen na cla, and ako im married and im currently employed. Gusto kasi mag visit ng parents ko sa kapatid ko na nasa Us then kaya nila ako sinasama kasi takot sila magbyahe alone kc hirap cla magsalita at umintindi ng english, possible kaya mabigyan kame or sila? And me ito un first time ko lalabas ng bansa. Tnx

    • Hi, Paul! Thank you for reading my post 🙂 If you may notice, may ibang commenters dito na nag-share na even if it was their first time to apply and first time din if ever na makakalabas ng bansa, they still got approved 🙂 Nasa way lang talaga yan ng pagconvince nyo sa consul officer that you will really come back and not overstay.

  16. anne says:

    kinakabahan ag fill-up ng DS -160 form ko… grabe.. I pray sana makapasa din ako like you…

  17. Rica Mae Serrano says:

    Hi, Mindanaoan Irene ?
    Just want to consult something. I’m planning to set my B2 application next week. I’m still a student, a dependent so I don’t have the funds and such. I have an American boyfriend for 1 year and a half and he’s willing to pay my way there because it’s his idea. We met twice. He’s going to send me the needed documents to prove his capability. Is there any chance I would be granted? What is the best way I should do? Thank you so much in advance :*

    • Hi Rica! 🙂 Best advice I can give you is have solid answers as to why you only have to VISIT and not stay in the US for good. In your case kasi, you’re still a student so you can say that you’re enrolled in this school naman and that you have all the reason to come back since you want to finish your studies. Bring proofs of enrollment 🙂 Good luck!

  18. chin-chin says:

    Hi Ms. Irene… I have been working in Saudi Arabia for 5 years and 3 months. I will apply a US visa scheduled next month. I am so nervous. My parents already have 10-year multiple entry, they just applied last month to visit my brother. I have traveled different countries and even had a Schengen visa. But as I read your blog, some of the comments say that the consul did not even bother to look at their passport. I am worried that maybe I will get denied because I am working here in KSA and may think that I want to stay in US for good. What other proof should I present other than my employee certificate? Thank you.

    • Hi chin-chin thank you for visiting my blog 🙂 Where will you be applying for the visa? Sa Manila ba? Unfortunately, I cannot offer any other advice except to just follow the guidelines on the DS-160. There will be a portion on the application form where you can indicate the other countries you’ve been to 🙂 As for the proof, maybe bring more documents that would indicate that you’re really coming back. Maybe investments you’ve made back home?

  19. Matilda says:

    Hello everyone! I just found this blog site a night before our US visa interview. We were scheduled for 9:00 AM. We arrived 30 mins earlier. My husband already have a visa.He has been traveling to US since he was a kid. The only applicants are Me (housewife) & my 2 daughters, 6 & 3 years old. Anyway, it was drizzling that time and the guard and a lady staff were considerate to us,they let us stay beside them, under the portable tent. Exactly 9:00 AM they called all the applicants for that certain slot. They let my husband accompany us since my 2 daughters are applicants.1 representative for each child. We were able to use the priority access, no lining up in the pre screening all the way to the interview.
    The scenario inside the embassy was very organize, it’s just sad to see that some staff were kinda rude in the way they talk or give examples to those who looks like ignorant inside the embassy. This is just my observation. You can really see all the applicants if they were approved or not. But majority from what I saw, a lot of applicants were successfully got a visa, you can see it from their faces and can also hear how does the interview goes (only for the first 2 window,which are near the waiting area for priority lane).
    I can hear a female consul who sounds like very friendly & a male consul who was very stiff. The female consul approved all applicants from her window. The male consul which happens to be our interviewer, denied some applicants, and he really interviewed all the applicants “thoroughly” Like 10-15 mins. So it’s our turn now, we were assigned to this male consul. I was really nervous. He only asked my husband. He didn’t even ask me & my daughters. He was not also friendly.? the interview goes like this:
    CO: how many days are you staying in the US
    Husband: 2 weeks
    (but I also answered 17 days
    because that was indicated in the application.Im the one who did the DS160. The consul looked at us scratching his eyebrow!? then he asked again, I answered 17 days only)
    CO to husband: How long is your longest stay in the US & when?
    Husband: I think 4 months year 2000 I actually forgot,it’s was a long time.
    CO: (nodding his head!!!?) smiling with sarcasm I guess?
    *This time I was really nervous!*
    CO: What is your job?
    Husband: Senior Admin Assistant.
    CO: What???
    (with confusing voice, like he didn’t understand what my husband said)
    Husband: (repeated the answer)
    CO: how much do you earn?
    Husband: I also have a business
    CO: ok your income from everything?( he didn’t ask what kind of business)
    – I was nervous again! His left hand was on the top of the blue papers!-
    Husband: (stated the income)
    CO: Do you have your children’s birth certifacte?
    Me: Yes sir ( handed the NSO BC)
    – bring your BC if traveling with kids, he really asked BC to all applicants with an infant.Just to be safe-
    CO: What are your plans in the US?
    Husband: Just going around,like universal, disneyland & somewhere else.
    -Suddenly my 6 years old daughter talked, out of nowhere, maybe she’s getting bored, she said ” It’s so relaxing here!” The consul smiled just a little…
    CO: ok just wait for the visa after a week.
    -Whew! I thought he was saying have a great week!We just said, Thank you. –

    Sorry, it’s really long. Just like to share our experience. The interview is really spontaneous.You really need to review your DS 160,all the information. Above all, Prayer is really powerful!?? Can’t wait to make memories with the family!

  20. sheryl says:

    Hi I just want to ask question I have an appointment interview schedule this months for tourist visa cause my fiancee wants me to visit US to meet his family in person he had been here twice already last year the thing is we didn’t apply for the fiancee visa is because our requirements is not yet ready were still waiting for his divorce paper to finalized do you think they will approve my application for tourist visa and I’m sure I will come back here cause were planning to have our wedding here in Philippines..thank you

  21. Chy says:

    Hi ask ko lang is it ok to apply for a us visa even if my husband has no financial document to present.. Im the one working. Hes a manpower agent pero per comm basis only. We were granted 10 yrs back in 2004. But he has his business p that time..

    • Hi Chy! Thank you for visiting my humble blog. Have you traveled to the US na? Please check the US Embassy website baka kasi you guys can avail of the visa renewal program 🙂

      • Chy says:

        Yes last 2005 we were given 10yrs but my son was given only 5yrs bec he was only 3 yrs old that time.

        • Hi Chy, thanks for your reply. I think my best advice is to provide as many proofs of financial capacity as possible. Maybe certifications from your husband’s clients? Or a list of your husband’s clients the past few years. You have to show the consular officer that even though he no longer has his business, he still has the financial capacity and a compelling reason to come back to the Philippines. Yun kasi ang important for a consular officer to see 🙂

  22. Mikaela says:

    Hello!! I’m a SHS student who would be having an interview this August 31.. I’ll be having the interview because my grandma would like me to visit her during Christmas break especially i wanted to meet my step grandpa. Do you think i would get approved? Since my family is based in Philippines and i would soon be returning to my studies after my christmas break?

  23. Chacha says:

    Hi, ask lang ako ng opinion, dating immigrant ang father ko…He was already 85 years old. Di na sya nakabalik ng US dahil 3 times syang noa heart attack during his stay here sa Philippines. Ang mother ko ay dual citizen. Ngayon, since american citizen ang mother ko bumalik sya ng US ngayong AUGUST 2017 lang para humabol lng pension nya… Naiwan si father dito… Ngayon sobra syang nalulungkot…. Gusto ko syang ipa interview sa as TOURIST…ano sa palagay mo Sis…. ma aaprove kaya sya …nag overstay kasi sya dito sa PINAS. Then, sa interview nya magpapa interview din ako para samahan sya .. ESL teacher ako for almost 4 years, may properties naman ako , once nga lang ako nag travel abroad at Hongkong lang……Do you think mabibigyan ng tourist visa father ko..?

  24. vIC says:

    HI Irene i have a question kasi may appointment ako this aug 16 10am , im working as a call center agent i am also fond of travelling, my mom and my dad and my 3 sisters had their visa approved ( magkaiba yung appointment date namin kasi before hndi ako nakapagleave para sa interview so basically late ako, ang reason namin ay family tour ( my family business din kami then yun ung support ko for financial then it is more into family tour lang dun lang tlga umiikot tingn mo maapprove ako haha kinakabahan ako eh

    • Hi, Vic! Maybe you can tell the consul officer na family tour siya. So halimbawang he or she will ask what you will do there, sabihin mo I will be joining my family for a tour on ___ and I will come back on ___ because I’m working. Their visas have already been approved. Para alam ng consul officer yung situwasyon. I always say that you have to be truthful always and they can see that naman sa system nila na approved yung visas ng other family members mo 🙂 Bring copies of your employment and letter of approved period of leave. Just be confident, be honest. Have coffee and/or breakfast before your interview, pray. Good luck!

      • vIC says:

        Hi, Wala pa kasi kaming itinerary and wala pa akong nafifile na leave kasi gusto nila mom and dad na ma make sure na may visa muna bago mag plan sayang kasi sa pamasahe eh, however ill check kung meron na kasi plan nila xmas break eh, do you think maaapprove kaya

  25. Czarina says:

    Hi, Mag aapply ako ng US visa kasi bibisitahin ko yung bf ko mag celebrate kami ng 7th Anniv. Pero student pa naman ako graduating palang ako. Sa tingin mo ano yung pwedeng advice mabibigay mo po sakin? 🙂

    • Hi Czarina, the rule of thumb is — if you will apply as a tourist, just be a tourist 🙂 You have to come back so you need to convince the consul officer that you will indeed come back and not stay sa US 🙂 Since student ka pa, be ready with copies of your enrollment and maybe a certification stating na you’re up for graduation this March or something 🙂

  26. mary says:

    hi ms.Irene,i had my interview sched on aug.15,2017 and i feel very nervous bcoz this is my 1st time to apply a us tourist visa.my bf want me to visit him in us,because he did not have time to visit me here in the philippines because of his work,we need to meet in person in order for him to be able to apply for a k1 visa.iv been in kuwait b4 but i did not finish my contract.and when i filled up my ds 160 there’s a question like this “have you been travelled in other country?”and i answer no..omg..maybe that woulb be counted for us to be denied.

    • Hi Mary, just explain to the consul officer that you got confused. Tell him/her that you did go to Kuwait before BUT ONLY if the consul officer will ask. Do not offer information that wasn’t asked of you. Also, please know that if you’re going there as a tourist, you just have to be a tourist. Don’t say that you are going there because you will apply for a K1 visa. That will increase your chances of getting denied. Good luck!

  27. Joix says:

    Hi Ms,. Irene. May interview ang mama ko n isa ng senior citizen s US embassy soon. Pde bang may magsama s kanya pra i-assist xa??

  28. Sheila says:

    Hi Irene. Your occupation as a blogger means you can work from anywhere, right? Is it your main source of income? I’m a designer working full time for an SG based company. I work from home so I’m a little worried that it might be a problem. I have sufficient funds to support my trip and I’ll be paying for everything. I’m single, 25 yo. female. Any advice will be appreciated.

    • Hi Sheila, the best advice I can give is to provide the consular officer proof of your strong ties back to the Philippines. Give him or her the most compelling reasons as to why you just need to stay temporarily and will still need to go back. In my case, I have my family, I have existing contracts and business investments in our homeland 🙂

      • Sheila says:

        Based on what I’ve read online and heard from friends experiences, they don’t ask for supporting documents and that the interview is so quick. So I’m kinda worried I won’t get a chance to prove them that I’m coming back

  29. Mikaela says:

    Hellooo!! It’s me again! I would be having my interview this Aug. 31. Almost two days left. I’m quite excited of answering the imterview questions since I would only be visiting my granma and grandpa and also visit disneyland and universal studios but i’m nervous with the fact that there’s still a chance I would get denied even though there’s nothing wrong. What should I do?

    • Hi Mikaela, you have to take a breath and just relax. The more nervous you look, the scarier the interview will be. If I were you, I’ll go to the embassy early, maybe have breakfast, relax, pray. If you have nothing to hide and if you know naman na you will really come back, there is no reason to be scared 🙂

  30. Nina says:

    Hi. I’m a fresh graduate and my aunt(US citizen) wanted me to visit her at Hawaii as her graduation gift for me para rin mag tour. Hindi pa naman po ako nag aayos ng papers at nagfifill up ng form para sa interview ng US embassy pero nagtry na ako magcheck ng blogs about this, wala din naman po akong plan na magstay don ng matagal, kaso nag aalala po ako kapag tinanong na ako about sa kung ano dahilan ko para bumalik dito sa PH. Halos lahat po kasi ng nababasa ko ay may work na, kaya yun ang dahilan nila na makakabalik pa talaga sila sa PH, but for me, magiging dahilan ko po is my mom, separated sila ng dad ko bata pa lang ako and isang anak lang ako that’s why I need to be with her po. I mean, baka madeny ako kahit na magsabi ako ng totoo. I hope you can give me an advice about this po. Thank you and Godbless!

  31. Cath says:

    Hi Ms. Irene, just want to ask if net pay on your payslip affects the approval of the visa. Kasi mababa lang ang net pay ko (coz of loans) though I’m a permanent government employee for 5 years.. I have personal bank accounts, its my savings actually. I’ll be traveling for an international conference. Do you think my payslip would be an issue? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Cath! I don’t think so 🙂 I don’t have huge savings as well hehe! BTW don’t forget to ask for certification nga pala from your HR to show the length of your service. Good luck!

  32. Bogart says:

    Hello. I would like to ask some question. Me and my wife were approved this month (Aug). We have 2 children (5 yrs old & 2 yrs old) We are planning to fly in US on October and get back here after 2 weeks. Question, can we apply our children on November for Christmas vacation trip? Or can we apply now para sabay sabay ang alis namin?

    What are possible questions po?

    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Bogart, congrats on the approval! What do you intend to do during those 2 weeks? A little warning lang. I personally know of someone who went to the US, came back, tapos she applied agad for visas for her children. Na-deny. Our theory is sobrang konti lang ng time na she spent in the US and she might go AWOL na when she has her children with her. Best siguro if you can establish the reasons as to why you intend to go back and for how long lang kayo for your Christmas trip. Good luck!

  33. deodi says:

    Hello po, may i ask if do i need a transit visa kahit hindi mag exit ng US airport like JFK, stay lang sa loob ng airport even if yong next flight is 1 day after to bahamas with valid permit? purpose of travel is an OFW engineer

  34. Jerald Tamayo says:

    hello po mag mag kakaroon kasi kami ng US OJT.. and next year pa magiging sched namin sa embassy.. pero ngaun palang kinakabahan na ako.. any advice po.

  35. Michelle says:

    I also have a 10 year visa B1/B2. Yay!

  36. Maria L. says:

    Hello. 🙂 thank you so much for this post. I’ve read a lot of blogs too about U.S Visa interview. Any tips for a newbie? I’m 25 yrs old and this will be my 1st interview (tomorrow naaa!) and trip to the U.S. Though I have my old and new passports with me, kaso wala pang laman. I haven’t left the country yet since I got my 1st passport lol. Would that be okay?

  37. Edrian Tuliao says:

    Hi,nag apply po ako ng b1/b2 visa last sept.12 but it was denied,J1 din po ako dati and nag naka travel na din ako sa ibang country,at may strong ties naman ako dito sa pilipinas,bakit kaya ako na denied.salamat.

    • Hi Edrian, what were asked sa yo during the interview? Minsan kasi during the interview may mahahanap na problema ang consular officer. Like maybe you didn’t establish your ties or yung compelling reason bakit uuwi ka din eventually.

  38. Yen says:

    How did he know tou had a blog? Are you a full time blogger or did you write that down somewhere sa ds160?

  39. Jayson vincent aganon says:

    Im just interview tiday, im just wondering why i denied i have many properties and business here in the philippines. I dont know what is the requirement for tourist visa…

  40. JANNINE says:

    Hi there! I read your blog about tourist visa and I find it very helpful. I’m planning to visit in California 1st quarter next year and my aunt will paid for my visit. I’m a nursing student now and I think that would be a strong ties to convince them that I’ll be back here in ph. My plan is to stay there 2-3weeks. My question is do you think they will allow me to visit my relatives there?

    • Hi Jannine! Yes, the US naman welcomes tourists visiting their relatives. Just make sure you fully establish compelling reasons on why and how you’re going back to the Philippines. Good luck!

  41. Mari says:

    Hello ms. irene. I am planning to apply for US tourist visa. I already have 2 schengen visas. And Qatar visa. Lahat tour lng and visiting relatives. Do you think they would be enough in a way to convince the consul that i’d never plan to over stay in any countries i have visited and would help me to get the visa approved? Thank you in advance 🙂

  42. Aa says:

    hi ask ko lang if dito sa mindanao mo pinadeliver ung passport mo?3 days lang ba tlga?im from davao btw 🙂

  43. enra says:

    hi irene, read ur blog..
    ahm…how much money needed ba sa account na ipapakita?100k ba ok na kahit walang sponsorship??

  44. Franz says:

    Hello Miss Irene!

    I plan to apply this December pero sa March ko pa gagoamitin as a bday gift for myself, pag ask ako consul ano purpose ng travel ko un lang talaga po saaabhin ko na bday treat ko sa sarili ko. First Intl Flight ko din to. Haha. Meron po ako relatives sa US pero cousin lang ng Dad ko sa Indiana and Ung Mom ko naman cousin lang din sa Anaheim. Pag inask po ba if my family member or relatives ako sa US il mention it pa? Or wag na po. Im not going to visit them kasi di ko naman sila close. I am planning to tour lang sa New York sana for two weeks? Un land din kasi leave credits ko 14days VL sa work. Thanks po in advance!

    • Hi Franz! As far as I remember, only immediate family members in the US ang tatanungin sa DS 160 🙂 But just in case iniba na ang form, just write the details down. Always be honest sa consul officer because they always have a way to find out. During your interview, pag tatanungin ka, dun mo na lang sabihin na hindi mo naman sila balak bisitahin 🙂 And yes, tell the consul officer the real reason why you’re flying to the US. Walang problema sa birthday gift. Yun din ang rason ko 🙂 I told the consul officer na part of the reason why I intend to visit the US is to celebrate my birthday sa NYC 🙂

  45. Jane says:

    Hi po! Ask ko lang po. May plano po kasi ako kumuha ng tourist us visa pero kasi unemployed ako ngayon pero icocover ng father ko ang expenses. Paano po yun? Possible ba magrant ang visa ko kung ganun? Thank you in advance!

  46. Chary says:

    Hi ms.irene good day..omg schedule ko na thia coming nov 9..ask ko lng po hindi ba maapekto ung pgka denied ko dati sa schengen?ng aaplly ko for tourist visa tapos ung sponsor ko bother in law ko okay lng po ba yon?hindi ba complicated?

  47. Chary says:

    Hi ms Irene thank u po..one question nlng po.ok lng ba 100k lng yung show money ko..kasi yung agency kapag ng avail ako ng show money 300k may interest na.5% bali 15k sa kanila.

  48. Silver says:

    Hi Ms. Irene, thanks for the useful article! I currently have a situation.
    I’m planning to apply for a tourist US visa kaso I’m not sure if I’d get approved.
    My family is on the process of petition from our relatives kaso we’re still waiting for the grant, it took us more than 20 years to receive a feedback from the embassy regarding our petition status.

    So my plan is to apply for a US visa to visit my parents. For traveling/leisure lang kumbaga. Kaso should I declare ba na meron kaming pending petition or wait til they ask me that question?

    Thanks Ms. Irene!

  49. Diana says:

    Hi Irene! Thank you so much for the very detailed tips! Just wanna ask, would you know if there’s a specific time as to when you can apply for a visa? Like maybe 3 months before your planned trip or something like that? Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Diana! Happy to help! Based on the embassy’s website, it’ll be ideal to apply at least 3 months before your trip. In my case, though, I applied about a month and a half before my flight.

  50. Chary says:

    Hi everyone share ko lng po yung experience ko sa tourist visa kahapon.grabe ang strict na nila..ang aga ko doon maam around 4am ng pila na ako at 7:10pumasok na kami ako pa talaga ang na unsa sa line hindi ako kinakabahan kasi alam ko na may strong tie ako.sobrang confident ko talaga at consistent.around 8am ayon na ng start na ng processing.Sa interview na ako ay grabe napunta ako sa babae na buntis moody cya.Tatlo lng ang tinanong niya sa akin first What are you doing in US?sumagot ako ng confident at consistent with smile pa yan.2nd question Are u working?3rd did u travel international before.eh wla akng travel experience sinabi ko No maam ay agad agad na denied ako..
    Maam irene tanong ko saan ako ngkakamali?dahil ba na wla akng trave experience ineligible na application ko?useless lng pala ang mga documents na dinadala ko.only passport lng hinawakan niya…dami na denied maam irene.may citizen nga na denied iniinvite cya ng anak nya na mg visit sa US. Halos sa consulate ko doon cla na dedenied…

  51. Chary says:

    Maam irene i want to reapply ang sabi doon sa mga fixers sa embassy after 1 month pwd hindi ba 6 months?at saka kung mgtratravel ako sa asian country possible ba na ma aapproved ako???

  52. Michael says:

    Hi,
    I am 24years old vet med student. My sister is a greencard holder then yung mga anak nya naiwan dito (born here Philippines with american passport).

    Yung sister ko kasi gusto nya ng kunin yung mga anak nya. (Well hiwalay sila ng american na asawa nyano way to contact).

    So hindi pwedi yung mother ko at father ko na mag travel because may business sila.

    So ako pinag apply ng tourist visa. Sa tigin nyo ba mataas chances ko kahitna student lang ako at mag assist lang ako ng bata to travel and i don’t have travel experience sa ibang bansa.

    Thank you in advance.

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