My US Visa Experience: Part 2

Important Note: I applied for a NON-IMMIGRANT B1/B2 (Business/Tourism) CATEGORY VISA; so anything different from this particular subject will not be covered.

Schedule An Interview

  1. Go to this link: http://cgifederal.secure.force.com/
  2. Click on “New User?” and create an account.
  3. Once you have an account, log in and click on New Application/Schedule Appointment
  4. Follow the steps with the necessary information. Be ready with your passport details, Receipt Number and Application ID.
  5. Select the date and time of the interview.
  6. Select the method of delivery. I chose to pick it up at a 2Go outlet near me; but you may opt to have it delivered straight to your home/office. The delivery is already covered in the application fee; so there’s no need to pay for this anymore.
  7. Schedule the appointment.
  8. An Appointment Confirmation will be generated. Print this out. You may also have a copy sent to your email address.

I M P O R T A N T !

There’s a grace period before your application fee payment/Receipt Number goes through the system. Refer to this page http://ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-paymentinfo.asp under Scheduling Your Interview for full details on the timelines.

T I P !

Unless you’re really confident and complete with your supporting documents, I suggest scheduling the interview at least three weeks from submission of the DS-160 form. That way, you have enough time to gather all the documents you may want to bring to the interview. But this might, of course, turn out to be unnecessary. More on that later.

Go to The Interview

  1. Bring the following:
    1. Appointment Confirmation (all pages)
    2. Original MRV Fee Receipt: Php7680 Deposit Slip Confirmation
    3. Valid Passport
    4. DS-160 Confirmation Page
    5. 2×2 Photo
    6. supporting documents proving socio-economic ties to the country. Here’s what I brought:
      1. old passport
      2. latest ITR
      3. bank certificate
      4. employment certificate
      5. credit card statements from two accounts for the past 3 months
  2. Arrive at the US Embassy Consul at least 15 minutes before your scheduled interview. There’s no need to arrive hours and hours before your schedule to line up.

T I P S !

  • You are not allowed to unload people right in front of the US Embassy. I suggest you park/be dropped off where Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is (Avenue of the Arts, 1388 Roxas Blvd corner Sta. Monica Street) and get across via the overpass.
  • If your appointment is really early, you will see a bunch of monoblock chairs situated near the entrance to the tents. Those aren’t free. That’s Php30 for a seat. It’s cheap; but I sat without knowing I had to pay for the chair. Oh well… had to pay up.
  • Do not bring any electronic or battery-operated device, big bags/backpacks, anything with an on/off switch, any flame generating device or sharp objects. They are very strict with this. There are people outside who are willing to hold your valuable items for a fee.
  • There are people offering to sell black ballpens as well. You don’t need these. Don’t buy.
  • If you arrive around 30-45 minutes before your scheduled interview, I suggest you go ahead and enter the first barricade. Chances are there’s already a line that has formed waiting for the go signal to enter.
  • US Embassy personnel will put up signs giving notice as to which schedule is already being processed (ex. Now Processing Non-immigrant Visa 7:00am). Once your schedule is up, people are led to the first security check.

Continue reading “My US Visa Experience: Part 2”

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My US Visa Experience: Part 1

Important Note: I applied for a NON-IMMIGRANT B1/B2 (Business/Tourism) CATEGORY VISA; so anything different from this particular subject will not be covered.

A number of bloggers have shared their personal US Visa stories online; and they’ve been really helpful to me. I promised myself that if successful, I will pay it forward and share my story as well. Hopefully, my own experience will help someone out in successfully obtaining a US Tourist Visa.

First, a little about myself just so you have an idea of my profile:

  • single
  • no children
  • 31 years old
  • no immediate family in the US
  • applying alone
  • working in the same company for almost a decade
  • 5-figure monthly salary
  • traveled to a number of countries within Asia: Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan

For the first five details I shared, I am someone usually categorized as a “high-risk” candidate – one who is most likely to go TNT and not come back to the Philippines. However, the last three details prove my strong economic ties to the country and my love for travel. What’s not on paper, though, is that I genuinely just want to go to the US for sight-seeing. I believe this is a big part of what made my application result in an approval. I will elaborate on this more once I share my interview experience.

To be as comprehensive as possible, I will start from the beginning… from deciding to apply all the way to picking up my Visa/passport. In between, I will share some tips or insights I picked up along the way.

Deciding to Apply

During early May, my brother mentioned an exhibition he’s planning to attend in Las Vegas late this year. He also mentioned wanting to visit Silicon Valley during that same trip. I suddenly became very interested. I’ve been wanting to go to the US for a long time – Hollywood, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Canyon (the list goes on and on)… and that’s just in the west coast! Why don’t I tag along? I certainly feel like I could set aside enough money in time for the trip. I also felt like I’m not getting any younger, right? It’s time.

After a quick Google Maps search, a trip from San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge, Silicon Valley) to Los Angeles (Hollywood!! Harry Potter!!!) to Las Vegas (main reason for the trip where the exhibition will be, near Grand Canyon) is very feasible. The idea just sounded better and better the more I thought about it. My head just kept on thinking, “Why not? Just take the plunge. Try to apply for a tourist visa. The worst that could happen is that I would be denied and the money I could potentially save will go towards a different trip.”

And with that, I decided to apply for that infamous and allegedly elusive US Visa.

Continue reading “My US Visa Experience: Part 1”