Getting a US Visa

I totally am not over my US trip just yet so please allow me to share another post about my preparations for the trip.

When I first heard that I’ll be attending the conference about 6 weeks before the trip, I panicked!  I don’t have a visa yet and I know that getting an appointment takes long.  So it was really a good thing that our company has an accredited travel agency, Fiesta Tours and Travel, who made arrangements for me – from online application to checking the requirements and getting me an interview slot.

What are the requirements?
1. Valid passport
2. 1 2×2 picture with white background printed on a non-glossy paper – ears visible, hair pulled back (I had to have my picture retaken because my bangs covered 1 eyebrow)
3. Bank statements for the last three (3) months for current and savings accounts
4. Income tax return
5. Pay slips for the last three (3) months
6. Credit card statements for the last three (3) months
7. NSO-issued birth certificate
8. NSO-issued marriage certificate (if applicable)
9. Invitation letter from the US (if applicable)
10. Employment certificate indicating position, salary and tenure
11. Vehicle registration (if applicable)
12. Land titles (if applicable)
13. Other ties in the Philippines (ex. family pictures)
14. Old passport

What are the steps in applying for a US visa?
1. Secure the requirements listed above
2. Fill out the required form/s online
3. Set up an appointment – this one, I’m really not sure how to do.  When you check online, the time slots are for November already (when I checked in August) but the travel agency was able to get a late August appointment for me. 🙂

What to expect inside the US Embassy? (I hope this is okay to share and not a violation of any security protocol)
1. Show up on your designated time slot and queue outside the embassy.  There are “vendors” pointing you to the right line and reminding you of things not allowed to bring inside.
2. Prior entry, they will check your appointment slip and will allow only those that are in their list.
3. Security check
4. Checking of passport, picture etc
5. Wait for your number to be called then pre-screening of documents – I guess this is more of a warm-up of the interview proper
7. Finger scanning
8. Wait for your number to flash on the screen then interview proper

I would admit that even if this is a company-sponsored trip, I still felt nervous especially since the people ahead of me in the line were refused a visa.  Thank God talaga that when it was my turn, the Consul just checked my record on his computer and asked the reason why I’m going (I guess to confirm what I’d written in my application form) then told me to expect my visa in 3-4 days.  Yey!!!

The actual interview was really fast. It was the waiting that took really long (plus I had my picture retaken which was another bummer).  Also, I was impressed with the way they deliver your passport with visa.  The day after my interview I got an email message saying that the courier already picked up my passport. The following day I got a SMS saying that it will be delivered the next day and to leave authorization letter if I won’t be around to receive it on the mentioned address.  Then on the day of delivery, I got a call confirming again the delivery address.  Then when it was received, I got a SMS saying it was already claimed.  Galing di ba?!

Anyway, I hope that the above will be able to help you. I prepared everything on the list and in the end, di ko rin nagamit (I’m not complaining!) because wala naman hinanap sa kin.  I was really lucky!

I think the most important thing naman is to be honest with your application form.  Wag mag-embellish ng kung ano ano.  They’ll see through you with the way they phrase their questions (based from what I heard from those ahead of me in the line).

Let me know if you have questions so I can refer you to our travel agent.

Fiesta Tours and Travel
517 Alonso St.
Malate, Manila
Tel. no. (02) 521-7866 to 69

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