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The dream is finally coming true. I’m going to the land of milk and honey. Hello, USA!
Around two weeks ago, I found myself inside the US Embassy, patiently waiting for my turn to get interviewed. When my number got called, I stood in front of an American consul who looked like he was ready to kill my every attempt to convince him that I wasn’t planning to abuse the opportunity if I’m given a US Visa.
When he uttered the words, “your application is approved,” I calmly said thanks, went back to my hotel, and felt feverish. Damn, I was nervous.
Today, let me share with you all the steps that brought me this wonderful blessing. I hope you find this helpful. Please note though that what you’ll read next is based on my personal experience, and things may be different for you.
PRO TIP: Bookmark this website: http://ustraveldocs.com/. Everything that you’ll need to process your application is found here. Read every document and list down all the requirements. Upon opening the site, you’ll be asked what type of visa you’re applying to. Since I applied for a non-immigrant visa, I will only be able to talk about this type.
Step 1: Pay your Visa Application Fee.
This is a non-refundable, non-transferable visa application fee. You will not be refunded if you don’t get a visa. So yes, this is a gamble.
How much should you pay?
For TOURIST VISA Application (B1/B2 type of visa), you have to pay an exact amount of P7680.00. For the corresponding fees for other types of visas, read this > Visa Fees.
How can you pay the fee? You have two options in paying for your visa application fee. Here are your options:
Option 1: Pay at any BPI branch. Before going to the bank, you must print this U.S. visa application deposit slip > PRINT THIS. If you don’t print this, you may not be able to pay in the bank.
Option 2: Pay online. If you have an account with either Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) or BancNet you may choose to pay your visa application fee online using their online bill pay services. Here is the step by step guide in paying online:
I paid online because it’s so much more convenient. Good thing I have a BPI Express Online account. :)
Step 2: Complete the DS-160 Form.
The next step is to complete your visa application form, called DS-160 form. Be sure to read the Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form carefully. When you’re done reading the guidelines, click here to fill out the form. All information must be correct and accurate. Once the form is submitted, you cannot make any changes.
What you need to complete this form:
- A passport size photo with white background. Ask for the soft copy from the photo center. I went to Kodak and asked them for the soft copy, so make sure you have a USB with you always.
- Your passport information
- Personal Information (Date of birth, name of mother, etc)
- Reason why you want to travel to the US
- Your address in the US
- Your companions in the US (Who do you know there? Who will be with you?)
- Your past and present work experience
TIP: Be very honest and always check the information you’re submitting before pressing the next button. :)
Step 3: Schedule your interview
To schedule your interview, you must create an account in the US Embassy Database. Follow this link and click on New User.
Complete all fields and create a password. Once you are in the system, you will see your dashboard. Click on Schedule Appointment on the left-hand side menu.
What you will need to completely the new user registration:
- Your passport number
- The receipt number from your Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) or BancNet receipt. If you paid online, this will be the transaction number.
- The ten (10) digit barcode number that you will get upon completing your DS-160 form.
Once you’re done, you will be given a choice for your preferred interview date. For the interview, you have to bring the following:
- Your BPI transaction receipt / email print out.
- Your completed DS-160 form.
- Your confirmation document (you’ll get this once you’re done scheduling your interview).
Other documents you can to bring (just in case they’ll ask for it during the interview):
- Invitation letter (if you have any)
- Bank statements
- Employment contract (I didn’t have any because I work online, so I just requested for certifications from my bank. They will print out a document detailing how much you have in the bank since when).
- Itinerary. So you can explain to the consul what you intend to do in the states
- Land Titles (if you have any)
- Business Permits (if you have any)
What I brought along with me:
- Bank Statements
- Bank Certifications
- Invitation Letter