Applying for US Visa for the first time as a Philippines passport holder is very easy. It took me about 30minutes to finish the application and 2 working days to get my passport back from the US Embassy (with ten years multiple entry visa). I’m gonna tell you all my step by step process, but there’s one important reminder I want to give to you before you even consider applying for your visa.
YES. BE HONEST. As simple as that. Don’t filter anything, no white lies, no sugarcoat or whatever that may look good in your application. You will encounter a visa officer who will ask tons of questions so just be honest! Don’t abuse the goodness of other countries giving us the opportunity to visit them. Be honest!
Growing up in the Philippines; coming from a mediocre family background and neighbourhood, I’ve heard a lot of stories from people I know getting rejected for the first time or even multiple times. I didn’t understand. I always hear that its difficult and complicated. But really, its not.
Here are my step by step US visa application process :
- Identify the type of visa you want to apply. For me, I applied for the DS-160 – Non Immigrant Visa.
- When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you are required to upload a digital photograph as part of completing and submitting the DS-160 visa application form. In their website, they require you to bring also a copy of your photo at the Embassy during the interview but they didn’t asked for mine. Click this link for US Visa Photo Requirements.
- Once you’re done completing the DS-160 form with all honesty, take the next step.
- Pay the Visa Fee. I’ve done it through bank transfer. This one is a little tricky as each application and payment has it’s unique MRV fee payment receipt number. This is very important as this is needed to be able to schedule your visa appointment and it is not refundable. I got a little difficulty identifying mine, so I needed some online help immediately but good thing the visa online help is very efficient and quick to respond to all my inquiries. For visa fee information, click here.
- Once you’re done with your payment and you have your MRV receipt number, and your DS-160 form is complete, you may now create your profile in the US visa system. Complete all fields and create a password. Once you are in the system, you will see your dashboard. Click on Schedule Appointment.
- In the system, you will be asked your passport number, MRV receipt number and your 10-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page – for you to be able to schedule your appointment. As you go through the process you will be able to select your visa type, enter personal data, add dependents, select your document delivery location, confirm visa payment and finally, schedule your appointment.
- Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview. Be sure to check the Schedule My Appointment page for the necessary documentation needed for your appointment.
- On the day of your appointment, don’t come with so many things. I came with my passport and old ones in case they want to see and my visa photos. They won’t allow you to come in the Embassy with metal things or things that is listed in their website – for the safety of everybody. Come a little early prior to your appointment and be ready to queue to get in the Embassy. (At least here in Malaysia, my appointment was at 9:30 and I was able to get in the Embassy about 10:15am)
- Inside the Embassy you will first queue for the fingerprinting, then will proceed to the next queue – the visa officer for the interview.(This depends on how long you can convince the officer basically that you are a safe and worthy person to visit the US).
- During my turn, the officer greeted me nicely, collected my passport and asked me what’s my purpose in going to their country, who I’ll be travelling with and how long I’m planning to stay in the country – then he said the magic words, “You’re visa is approved. Here’s the information of how you will collect your passport.” (It was like music to my ears! LOL)
- Two working days later, I’ve got my passport delivered to my home with the 10 years multiple entry stamped into it. Tadaa!
There you go everyone. It’s easy and straightforward as long as you indicate every single detail that they require you to answer. Remember to stay honest with everything and you won’t get in trouble. Try to be friendly, polite and smile when speaking or talking to people at the Embassy, they don’t bite.