United States

Getting a US visa: A Filipino traveler’s tips

Joshua Berida

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Getting a US visa: A Filipino traveler’s tips
Here are some factors that could strengthen your visa application and tips on what to do during your interview with the embassy

The United States is a dream destination for many Filipinos. Chances are, you might know someone who is already living the American Dream. That person (or those people) might be friends, relatives, or acquaintances from the city or province where you’re from.

For this article, I’ll be writing about my experience in getting a B1/B2 visa.

What is a B1/B2 visa?

In my case, I applied for a non-immigrant visa for a temporary stay. This type of visa is for people who want to enter the US for business (B-1), tourism (B-2), or both (B-1/B-2).

The B-1/B-2 visa covers the following activities:

  • Holiday
  • Contract negotiations
  • Visit relatives and/or friends
  • Attend a conference or convention
  • Treatment for an illness
  • Consult business associates
  • Participate in social events hosted by an organization
  • Settle an estate
  • Participate in amateur contests or events

For more information, you can refer to the official site here.

Text, Document, Adult
Going through the forms

You’ll have to fill out forms to move your visa application along. You’ll need to register here.

You’ll need to fill out a DS-160 form (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) here.

The application contains several questions about you. You’ll need to provide your full name and any other name you use, birthday, address, family living in the US, employment history, travel history, travel plans in the US, security questions, and others. They’ll also ask for your social media and online profiles.

Answer all questions truthfully. The process is straightforward. You can save your answers and complete the form some other time within the deadline.


I paid the equivalent of US$185 (the US Embassy sets a foreign exchange rate) in Philippine Peso for my B1/B2 visa.

You’ll need a unique receipt number which you can get from this link:

Click on the “Deposit Slip – $185 MRV Fee – B1/B2, C-1, D, F, I, J, M, T, TN/TD, U” option to generate a unique receipt number.

I deposited the amount at the nearest RCBC branch. Don’t forget to keep the deposit slip, you’ll need to bring it with you.

You’ll have to wait for a few hours after payment before you can choose an interview schedule.

Getting a schedule

After payment, you can book an appointment for your interview. You don’t have to book immediately. You can return to the site to check if there are open slots for the time you want. I often found favorable time slots when I browsed the site at night. You can always reschedule if you want a later or earlier slot.

What should you bring during your interview?

You need to bring the confirmation letter sent to you after filling out the form. I brought my passport, a 2×2 photo, deposit slip (for the visa fee), and a certificate of employment with me for the interview.

This is a case-to-case basis but consider bringing other documents such as bank statements, properties under your name, bank certificates, enrollment forms, certificate of employment, income tax return, business permit, and others that you think the consul might ask for.

The consul only asked for my passport during the interview. He didn’t ask for anything else.

What to do during your interview?

Make sure to arrive early for your interview. If you arrive too early, the worst that could happen is that you wait outside the embassy. You’re not allowed to bring your mobile phone inside the US Embassy.

I suggest bringing only the required documents and leave everything else to the person who came with you, at home, or at the accommodation you stayed in near the embassy. The wait until it’s your turn can be nerve wracking.

However, stay cool, calm, and collected until you reach the consul’s window.

The questions the consul will ask you will most often be related to the answers in your application. They asked me if I had any relatives in the US (I have), about my job, and my travel history. Answer truthfully and confidently.

If you’re trying to mislead them, they’ll find out. You have to be consistent with your answers to increase your chances of approval. If they engage in small talk, respond as you normally would in any other conversation. The interview often lasts less than five minutes. My interview took less than a minute.

You’ll immediately know if your application is refused or approved. They’ll ask for your passport if your application is approved.

However, there are cases where they’ll ask for additional documents before making a decision. In some cases, even if they initially ask for your passport, in the next rounds of screening, they might ask for additional documents again. You might have to return to the embassy to submit them. Comply with all of the embassy’s requests.

In my case, I had to return to the embassy to redo the fingerprint scanning.

Should you hire an agency?

NO ONE can guarantee a visa approval, regardless of how much you pay an agency. They can only assist you through the application process. They’ll remind you about the requirements you need to submit, maybe get a schedule for you, and other services.

However, the consul will be asking YOU the questions. Your answers to their questions, the documents they ask you to submit, and your answers in the application form will determine your fate.

It’s your discretion if you want to hire an agency for your US visa application.

Factors that strengthen your application

It took me two tries (and several trips to other countries) before the consul approved my application.

From my experience, these factors will most likely determine the result of your application:

  1. Rootedness: If the consul is sure you’ll be returning, they’re likely to approve your application. This means you have family in the Philippines, you have a steady job, and/or you own a business.
  2. Travel History: It’s possible to get approved even if you haven’t been outside the country or have only traveled a few times. However, an extensive travel history improves your chances of approval. This shows you only travel for leisure and return.
  3. Financial Ability: This means you can afford your trip and still have money after your vacation. You have a full-time job or a steady source of income as a freelancer, or you have a profitable business. You can ask someone to sponsor your stay, but I would recommend showing you can afford to pay for your entire trip.

Don’t fret if the consul refused your application. You can try again and be more prepared the next time you apply. – Rappler.com

Joshua Berida is a writer that loves to travel. He blogs at www.thewanderingjuan.net.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!