U.S. EMBASSY MANILA TOURIST VISA INTERVIEW EXPERIENCE
Personal, Travel, Visa

U.S. Embassy Manila Tourist Visa Interview Experience

Once upon a time, it was my ultimate dream to go to New York City. All those high buildings, fancy streets, and that overall vibe. However, life happened; I matured and realized that there was more to life than NYC and what it is portrayed on the movies. I prioritized my European dream and worked hard to achieve it. Needless to say, my Eurotrip was the highlight of my whole existence. My USA fantasy went into the backburner but of course, I still want to have the option to visit it.

With all the horror stories I’ve heard from friends, families, and even on the Internet, I kept on delaying my plan to schedule an interview. They said that you need show money, land titles, cars, properties, businesses, and whatnots. The fact that I have just graduated a year ago, with less than 2 years in my current employer, single, no kids, and no properties, it was a risk to apply. Imagine PHP 7680 going down the drain in case I got denied? 

Because I’m me, I didn’t care; I just did it!

quote

You wouldn’t believe how many people told me that it’s super hard to get a US Visa and they also said that I should wait for a few years just to be sure. I don’t know but I’m that kind of person that I jump when it’s the scariest to jump. What’s to lose? I mean, yeah, the PHP 7680 but I can still earn that. I can reapply if ever I get denied so I have to do it.

The plot twist is: I have no ties there. I have my distant relatives but they’re first and second cousins of my mother and I doubt the consul will acknowledge that. All I have with me is my closest college friend and she’s the one I want to visit first. I asked for her permission to use her information in filling out the DS-160 form and she happily agreed. I LOVE YOU, ANNE!

When I saw that they have an available interview on my preferred date, I immediately paid the visa fee via BPI Fund Transfer and waited 4 hours to activate the payment and confirm the interview date. I have less than a week from scheduling it to the actual interview and I didn’t do anything but secured the ff.:

  • Passport
  • DS-160 form
  • Appointment confirmation
  • Payment confirmation
  • Certificate of employment
  • Income tax return

That’s it! Remember what I told in my previous post that I have 150 pages of documents that I presented to the German Embassy? In US Embassy, it’s just that! The last two are not required but I brought it anyway just to be sure.

However, from the U.S. Embassy website, here are the things you should consider bringing:

capture

You can do the whole application yourself that’s why I am still wondering why there are people who pay for visa assistance. They do not guarantee approval, they’ll just do what you can do which is assisting you on what you should answer in the form – all of which you know yourself. It’s useless and a waste of money. If you can read and you’re not dumb, there’s no use of getting their service.

Now, on to my experience! Click next!

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

72 Comments

  • Reply Rhea September 12, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Hi Jacklynne! Congrats on getting your US Visa application approved! I, for one, am about to apply again. Yes, you read that right. My previous application was rejected. LOL. But I’m not one to give up so I’m trying again. I’d like to ask you some questions and tips, if that’s alright. Your story inspired me so much and I’m hoping that this time around, I’ll be able to do everything right. (Hugot) Thanks very much and I’m hoping for your response. 🙂

    • Reply Jacklynne September 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Yes! Apply lang nang apply! There’s no limit. I’m sure you’ll have it at the perfect time. Good luck, my love and you can always send me a PM for your questions! 🙂

  • Reply Dreamer September 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Youre so luck jack.:) congrats to you. i will be applying a tourist visa too this week. Hope you could give me thoughts and enlighten me haha. Coz since last week ive always wanted to throw up. That butterflies in my tummy feeling 😖 Scared/excited.

    • Reply Jacklynne September 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Don’t be nervous if you don’t have any ill intentions in going to the US. Imagine the consul is just asking you and NOT judging you. Just send me a Facebook message if you have questions! 🙂

  • Reply Elle September 14, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Hi. I started following u since ur Eurotrip was posted in WhenInManila. I am 28, living with a partner & with 1 child. We are travelers but only within PH. I shared ur post to my hub and i told him that we should go outside PH soon. I know it’s gonna be expensive coz we need to secure 3 passports and 3 two way tickets. BUT i know we can do it of we want to! I’m planning to go Japan or South Korea. And US / Europe is on my list. I don’t have a job. I’m a full-time mom. My hub is working his ass of and we have a comfy life. What tips can you give me so we can pursue or family goal?

    • Reply Jacklynne September 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      The only advice that I can give is for you to go for it and secure your requirements. Certificate of employment and leave of absence from your husband are really important. Good luck! 🙂

  • Reply bim cleofas September 25, 2016 at 5:36 am

    hi Jacklynne! thanks for sharing your experience 🙂
    i would like to ask, my interview will be tomorrow at 10:15am. my sister will accompany me, is there a waiting area inside where she can stay? or better if she wait for me at starbucks bayview ba?

    • Reply Jacklynne September 26, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Sorry for the late response. I’m sure you’ve had your interview already. How was it? 🙂

  • Reply Lawrence September 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Greetings!
    I have read your experience in applying visa thanks it was worth the time, would it be the same for immigrant visa as well? because I have a pending visa application and my next step is to wait for the NVC (national visa center) to endorse it to the Manila Embassy and my schedule for interview…for now Im trying to find out if did you also went to medical exams prior to your approval?

    Thanks!

    • Reply Jacklynne September 30, 2016 at 1:48 am

      Hello. Different process for different visa types. No medical exams for me. 🙂

  • Reply Hannah S. October 3, 2016 at 11:18 am

    “See? THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”

    Gurl, you are right! I understand your anger and intensity here ’cause I feel it too! SHOUTOUT TO THOSE WHO ARE PLANNING TO NOT DO IT LEGALLY!

    Anyway, congrats on getting your US visa, Jacklynne! I hope to get mine soon but like you, I’m prioritizing my Europe trip, because over a decade ago my family had already tried to apply for a US tourist visa to visit my lola and tita (who are US citizens), but we got denied because of some abroad petition… in my understanding: if we go, we’re gonna have to migrate there already when all we really wanted was to visit for like 3 weeks! It’s been over 15 years since and I can’t just apply for a tourist visa on my own since there’s already a pending application for migration. Le sigh! Next time, soon, I hope. *fingers crossed*

    • Reply Jacklynne October 4, 2016 at 3:21 am

      Yes! I have heard tons of horror stories of getting denied because they have a pending petition. 🙁 That sucks! Well, elephant in the room – Europe is better than the US! So yes, go and prepare for that Schengen visa girl! Update me! <3

      • Reply Hannah S. October 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

        Yaaay, thank you! I’m devouring your Europe and visa posts like there’s no tomorrow 😁👍

        • Reply Jacklynne October 6, 2016 at 1:49 am

          I need to start writing a new blog post! Wahh!

  • Reply Deborah Paylago October 12, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I think it’s a plus factor in your application that you’ve been to Europe before, right? Like in my case, I have never been to US nor Europe before, I’ve only been to some countries around Asia (Korea, Malaysia, HK, Macau, China & Singapore) but planning to visit US soon. Do you think the embassy will approve my application given that it’s my first time to travel outside Asia?

    • Reply Jacklynne October 17, 2016 at 1:26 am

      Travel is a big advantage wherever what countries those are. It goes to show that you can afford to travel and come back. Good luck on your application! 🙂

  • Reply Steffy October 18, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Hi Ms. Jacklynne, thanks for these infos! Congrats by the way for being granted a US visa. I felt quite relieved about your insights on unemployed non-immigrant applicants, I am planning to visit the US with my parents and brother for a rotary organization convention next year but I am having second thoughts whether I’ll be granted one since I am unemployed. I’ve been to Australia/granted Australian visa when I was still in college, Thailand, Hongkong, and Macau. I recently graduated last April 2016 with a degree of doctor of dental medicine and currently I am reviewing for my dental board exams which will be this December 2016 and January 2017. My dad owns a construction firm and my mom helps him, my brother is also a medical student. I have a savings type bank accounts, land titles and 2 cars under my name given by my dad. Do you think there will be a bigger chance for me to get approved? 🙂 Hoping for your reply.

    • Reply Jacklynne October 18, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Hi Steffy!

      Your travel and visa from Australia is a huge plus. However, your current status being an unemployed is a red flag.

      My advice is to apply a US visa as a family and not individually. Tell the consul that you will come back for your board exam din so they’ll know you’ll come back. 🙂

      Good luck!

  • Reply Anonymous October 24, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    U

  • Reply L October 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Hi

  • Reply nestor October 30, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Hi, I am happy you got it at first attempt, but my experience is different I’m working in an American Company and has the stamped employment certificate. If you ask me if my purpose is really a visit then I can honestly say yes because my niece wanted me to travel with them in Vegas and my sister just arrived in the US as immigrant. During the interview I said I have my niece their and she is a US citizen and my sister as an immigrant and then ask me if I had traveled in other countries and I said no because I don’t like traveling alone and I’m really lazy traveling except if its for family…I mean that is an honest me and I have no plan to go TNT..but still im denied..so honesty is still not an assurance…

    • Reply Jacklynne November 1, 2016 at 10:07 am

      So sorry to hear that, Nestor. Sad to say that there are collateral damages because a lot of Pinoys go TNT with a tourist visa. Sucks that even those who are honest get their visas denied. You can still reapply. Hoping this time, you’ll be granted that visa. <3

  • Reply Stan October 30, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Congrats for getting the visa. I applied once for a US visa back in 2009, same questions, same poker face and I was denied. I was planning to visit my mom. I just graduated that time and had no work. My mom ( my mom is legally working in the US) just told me to apply without thinking that it will not be easy. Now I’m in Europe working, so I guess this time I will have a better chance getting it, but one of the requirements in their website here is a letter from the employer that I have enough vacation leave for the visit. Do you think that the validity of the visa is random? or all visas that they give is for 10yrs?

    • Reply Jacklynne November 1, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Employment is really a big factor in getting a visa. Now that you’re in Europe and working, yes, I reckon you will get that elusive visa! Not all gets 10 years; my friend who has been to a lot of places with visa only got 3 months. Hope you’ll get the 10-yr visa! 🙂

  • Reply Leonie October 30, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Jackie we are appplying for visa as family only for a month that we have to stay there to go to tourist spots in new york and visiting orlando for disney etc. What type of application form are we going to have? We had visited asian countries and the last was china for business purpose. Thank pls reply. By the way i am an author and businesswoman. All my children is now working and my youngest had a perfume business . thank you and pls reply

    • Reply Jacklynne November 1, 2016 at 10:02 am

      B1/B2 Group Visa. 🙂 Good luck on your application! 🙂

  • Reply Jan October 31, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Hi i have read your article and this really helped. For years, Ive been planning to visit the US and i finally decided to get a visiting visa next year. My particular reason to visit the USA is because i would like to tour as well as to see some friends who work there but definitely no reasons in staying there because i have my own businesses here in the philippines. I have been to hongkong, thailand, singapore, indonesia and other parts of the philippines and currently applying for a tourist visa in australia because i am planning to go there early next year. Do you think i can get that US tourist visa ive been dreaming of? Thanks in advance

    • Reply Jacklynne November 1, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Why not? You’ve been to places and you also have a business here. Those things prove your rootedness here. Good luck and keep me updated! 🙂

  • Reply Jaymee October 31, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Hi Jacklynne,

    Congratulations on your 10 years B1/B2 Visa! I remember when I applied for a B1/B2 5 years ago. The consul asked me one question as he see that I’d been in and out the US using my C1/D visa (transit visa only). So he asked: You’d been to the States a number of times, why apply for a Tourist Visa now. I just answered him looking into his eyes: It’s been always my dream to visit Disneyland. His eyes lit up and said that’s interesting. He knew from my data that I work on cruise ships so he started asking about the cruise culture. In a matter of 5 minutes, he said my visa was approved.

    I still have to use my B1/B2 though. I am planning a NY/LV escapade soon 🙂

    • Reply Jacklynne November 1, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Confidence is the key! Can’t wait to visit NY, too! 🙂

  • Reply Arnell October 31, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Well done …Im sure you’ll enjoy your 1st US visit. Cheers!

  • Reply Anonymous November 3, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Got my multiple entry visa in less than an hour too!

  • Reply Dyndyn Marquez November 3, 2016 at 3:25 am

    Hi! I just want to share that we also got our 10-yr M.E. US visas – all 5 of us. We applied as a family last July 2016. Our kids are aged 19, 17 & 10 y.o. Our 2nd child, our daughter, actually asked for a US Vacation instead of celebrating her 18th bday next with a fancy debut party. We eventually obliged. As parents, we want them to learn things through actual experiences, which in this case, will come from traveling to another country. My husband & I are working for the 2 top telecom company in the country and have been to the US 3x already so it was really an easy interview for us. I am just glad that my 3 kids were able to enjoy the privilege of us being previous 10-yr. US Visa holders. I had friends whose kid got only 5yrs while the parents renewed theirs and got 10. So, yes. It is indeed a surprising turn of events. Thanks for sharing your your experiences & travels. I have become a newly converted fan/reader. Bon voyage!

    • Reply Jacklynne November 4, 2016 at 1:39 am

      So happy to hear your experience, Dyndyn! I personally didn’t think I’d get the visa, I just took the risk and I’m glad I did it! Enjoy US with your family! 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous November 3, 2016 at 7:03 am

    You were approved simply because of your previous Europe and Asian trips. It would be more interesting if you wrote your experience in getting Europe visa.

  • Reply Kirby November 3, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Great information you got here! 🙂 So happy I found this.
    Anyway, many people usually say that getting a Schengen Visa first will make it easier for you to apply before obtaining US or Canada Visa – such sayings. Congratulations and will try out the luck like yours! 🙂 Thank you for sharing the experience!

    Kirby from Dubai

    • Reply Jacklynne November 4, 2016 at 1:43 am

      Hi Kirby! Thank you! Good luck in applying. <3

  • Reply EVLYN November 3, 2016 at 11:23 am

    congreatulations jackie, Honeslty for a long time I wanted to apply with my family even my son o

  • Reply EVELYN November 3, 2016 at 11:28 am

    honestly I wanted to apply with my family for along time we are not very rich and we do not have anybody in the states, for a long time we wanted to apply just to visit disney land in orlando for a week but being scare since to apply that since we do not have anybody there will it not affect our chances of getting the visa we actually want to go and come back. my little boy always run out when ever he hear the sound of earoplane and always say I will fly aeroplane to USA.

    • Reply Jacklynne November 4, 2016 at 1:44 am

      Awww, that’s so cute! <3 Prepare the requirements and get that visa na! Wishing you all the best! <3

  • Reply kate November 3, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Jack Lynne am planning to apply for a u.s.visit visa in u.s. with my husband I retired in govt office 4 years ago I am 56 y.o. and my husband is 62 y.o. still employed in govt office I have a travel agency but I only registered my business just recently I already applied u.s. visit visa year 2009 was denied I’ve been to Australia 2009 china Singapore hongkong Thailand Canada for 2 years tourist visa and recently last October 5-12 2016 in dubai but my business only run for 6 mos dti only bir still on process what do you think?

    • Reply Jacklynne November 4, 2016 at 1:48 am

      The reason you’ve been denied is maybe you’ve just started your business. Now that it’s already running for 7 years and you’ve already registered it, I think you have a good chance if you reapply. Also, you’ve been to lots of countries since then so that proves that you can afford to travel. Good luck in applying and keep me updated! <3

  • Reply Nepthaly Pita November 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Well done, now please take Amtrak or Bus from DC to NYC :-). Much cheaper and convenient (5 hrs drive for bus , 3.5 hours by train).

    • Reply Jacklynne November 4, 2016 at 1:49 am

      Yes!!! I’ve been researching on how to take Amtrak! Thank you and I can’t wait! 😀

  • Reply Anonymous November 6, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    hi ms. jacklynne! can i ask for some tips? i’ve been reading some blogs about what the consuls might ask during the interview. One of the question is “what would make you come back to the philippines?” aside from answering your family, job, boyfriend etc. is ok to say that “i don’t want to have a bad travel record” ? my interview will be on nov.21 with my grand father and i’m quite nervous but at the same time excited. 🙂 anyway i hope you’ll reply. Thanks. -Pauline

    • Reply Jacklynne November 7, 2016 at 1:47 am

      Yes, you can say that. Say that you’ve never overstayed and you have no plans to. Good luck! 🙂

  • Reply Pauline November 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    hi ms. jacklynne! can i ask for some tips? i’ve been reading some blogs about what the consuls might ask during the interview. One of the question is “what would make you come back to the philippines?” aside from answering your family, job, boyfriend etc. is ok to say that “i don’t want to have a bad travel record” ? my interview will be on nov.21 with my grand father and i’m quite nervous but at the same time excited. 🙂 anyway i hope you’ll reply. Thanks.

  • Reply Ron November 13, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Hi.. good afternoon.. I’ve been in the US just this year for almost four months under the Summer Work and Travel (J1 Visa). From march – July 2016 then I go back home after. I also got my Social Security from the US given the fact that I work there.
    I just wanna ask if I have a chance to get a tourist visa for this time? What would be my chance to approval?
    Though I’m still a student right now and no work yet. Thanks for your reply..

    • Reply Jacklynne November 13, 2016 at 6:42 am

      Better if you apply after you’ve graduated and have a stable job. That will give you more chance to have a tourist visa. 🙂

      • Reply Ron November 13, 2016 at 7:14 am

        Though I’ve been there in the US just this year but in different Visa Category?

        • Reply Jacklynne November 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

          I’ve heard a lot of stories from J1 holder having their tourist visas denied. I don’t want to discourage, I’m just basing my response from real-life experiences. You can still try, though. I have a lot of red flags but I still got my visa. Good luck! 🙂

  • Reply Olive November 13, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Hi i just want to ask if incase im going to apply a (US) tourist visa w/ my son & mom what will be our chances? I stayed in japan for 1 yr under spouse visa, but unfortunately i went back to the Phils & surrendered my alien card at the immigration in Narita. My husband & i are separated we have 1 child.

    • Reply Jacklynne November 14, 2016 at 8:48 am

      The fact that you lived in Japan and did not abuse your visa says a lot about you. I think you have a good chance. Then again, I’m not a consul and what I can do is to pray for your success in getting that elusive US visa. 🙂

  • Reply Andrea November 14, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Wow! To God be the Glory! Congrats Jacquie! (Feeling close with the name) haha just read your blog ang galing talaga Ni Lord. Kasi para sayo siya talaga kaya ibigay sayo. Soon sana magkaroon din ako ng lakas ng loob kagaya mo. God Bless you more! 😊

    • Reply Jacklynne November 14, 2016 at 8:49 am

      HAHAHA! Just call me “Jack.” Yes, God is so good! My faith went to another level with all the blessings he’s giving me. Good luck in everything you do and plan to do, Andrea! 🙂

  • Reply hahashah November 16, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    hi jack ! how if your appointment is Dec. 23 and the expected arrival at the US is Dec 22 ANWERED on line non immigrant application. what would you think be the effect of this?

    • Reply Jacklynne November 25, 2016 at 6:48 am

      You will be rejected because why would you put your arrival date in the US before your interview? The purpose of the interview is to assess whether you will be eligible to travel US.

  • Reply hahashah November 16, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I didnt expect when scheduling on line get easily fill up the target date i want for interview. Anyway expected arrival can be change plus a friend invited me for a trip to hong kong and macau. my trip in hong kong will be on dec 19-22 and my sched date of appointment for b1/b2 interview will be on Dec 23. Try try lng and claiming that i will be granted a visa. To GOD BE THE GLORY!

    • Reply Neil December 2, 2016 at 6:05 pm

      Hi. Initially my interview date is dec 20 bu i should be in the US on dec 14. I got a tip from my friend to call the call center and ask if there are slots that has been freed up. And just had an interview yesterday. Try to call this monday.

  • Reply Gem November 30, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    I died at “works at Krusty Krab”! 😂 This whole thing gave me hope for my NYC dreams.

  • Reply Moana December 1, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Jack, I first knew about your blog because of your Eurotrip that went viral, and can I just say #travelgoals!!! You go girl! 🙂 Would just like to ask if you think I have a good chance of getting a visa if I were to say that I want to attend my cousin’s college graduation this coming June 2017?(And tour California after haha!) I’m 21 going on 22 this December, I’ve been working at an advertising agency for almost 2 years, and I’ve traveled around Asia (SG, MY, TH, KR, HK, Taiwan, and Korea again before my planned US Trip). My mom (single mom) already has a 10 year visa so I’m applying alone. What’s the earliest time you can get a visa? Other countries like Japan and Taiwan have the 3-month rule, is the US the same? 🙂

    Thanks and keep on doing great, girl! 🙂

    • Reply Jacklynne December 5, 2016 at 12:12 am

      Hi Moana! Thanks for dropping by! I think you have a really good chance considering that you have a stable job. When I applied for a US visa, I was just working for 1 yr and 4 months. 🙂 The fact that you’ve been out of the country without any issue in immigration says a lot about you, too. BTW, I followed the 3-month rule, too. Good luck!

  • Reply Nonchalant December 2, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Hi Jacklynne! First thank you for writing about this. I’ve been researching for quite awhile now and found yours the most useful (and candid!). Got linked to your blog from your article form Rappler. I just scheduled an interview on December 22. However, I just realised that I put office delivery and our office might be closed when they deliver it there because of the holidays. How long did it take for them to deliver your documents when you got approved? Thank you! 🙂

    • Reply Jacklynne December 5, 2016 at 12:14 am

      Hello. Thanks for dropping by! I got my visa almost 2 weeks after the interview. You can still change it up to 24 hours after the interview.

  • Reply Neil December 2, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Hi! Just wanted to ask on how many business days passed before you received your passport? Just had my interview yesterday. Thanks

    • Reply Jacklynne December 5, 2016 at 12:14 am

      Almost 2 weeks. It was an excruciating wait! Ugh.

  • Reply Neil December 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    How many business days passed before you received your passport? Thanks

  • Reply Mary December 3, 2016 at 5:36 am

    hi jack, congrats for getting the visa. I am applying a tourist visa too and my interview is this coming wednesday. I am so confuse to the reason why ill go there. The reason why I need to go there is because my sister will deliver her second baby. So, if she and her husband will go in the hospital, no one will take care of her first son at home. Do I need to tell that to the consul or ill just say that I want to visit them and have a vacation? I am employed as a government teacher.
    I hope I can get a reply from you. Thank you

    • Reply Jacklynne December 5, 2016 at 12:15 am

      I don’t want people to lie on their interview. Let them know your real plans in getting a visa. This is a family/visit visa, right? I think it’s different than tourist visa. Not sure.

    Leave a Reply