A lot of people has been asking me how I got a multiple entry tourist visa to the US. For someone like me with no strong ties to the Philippines, I was worried I'd get denied.
To my surprise, I got a multiple entry visa valid for 10 years!
I travel a lot and have no intentions to overstay in any country. I want a clean passport record but these were not asked of me.
Getting a US visa for us Filipinos is quite expensive. It will cost USD180 per application, and you have to pay for it whether you pass or not, and the same amount whether you get a single entry or a multiple entry visa.
I heard a lot of stories of people getting denied because of suspicions that they might not come back to the Philippines.
In this post, I will give you tips on how prepare for the interview. The Consuls from the US Embassy never reveal their qualifications so this is based on myexperience. I also provided my interview transcript towards the end of this post.
Tips to Win that Visa
1. Only rely on the official US embassy website for the requirements.
There are so many blogs detailing the steps and it’s good to check with them, however, always double check with the official website as they may have some updates that are not in your favorite blogger’s notes.
You can also bring additional requirements not listed on the website such as bank certificate, income tax return, certificate of employment, etc.
I brought some extra documents with me but the Consul never asked for any of it.
2. Fill out the application form yourself and answer the questions honestly.
I heard some people who failed the interview because someone else filled out the online application for them.
During the interview, they would look at the form you answered so you have to be consistent with it.
Liars will not necessarily go to hell, but are likely to get denied. Keep in mind that these consuls are trained to be like lie detectors.
3. Dress professionally.
You are going for an an interview that will last for only a few minutes so you have to make a good impression.
You do not have to wear a business attire. A smart casual wear will do as long as you look decent.
4. During the interview, answer with confidence and honestly
It can be nerve wracking to have an interview where other applicants can even hear you!
The interview is also not in our native language so be prepared for this. Most Filipinos can speak English but you can still get jittery when you do not know what questions will be asked.
If you answered the form honestly, you do not have to worry about anything. However, if you are lying on any of the information asked, then the Consul might get suspicious. These people have been interviewing thousands of applicants per day so they can easily smell a dishonest person from a mile away.
5. Keep your answers short and direct
Unless the consul asks for more explanation, keep your answers direct to the point.
Remember, less talk, less mistakes.
My US Visa Interview Questions/ Transcript
Consul: When are you going to the US?
Me: I plan to go there from --------- to ---------
Consul: Where in the US do you intend to go?
Me: I will go to Texas and Louisiana.
Consul: Do you have relatives in the US?
Yes but they’re in Hawaii.
Consul: So you will not visit them?
Me: No, sir.
Consul: What’s the purpose of visit to the US?
Me: It’s my birthday holiday,
Consul: Who will you visit there?
My highschool best friend.
-end of transcript-
The Consul smiled at my last answer. He took my passport and said to wait for it after a week.
I got approved! The Consul didn’t tell me it was a multiple entry visa so I was really delighted to receive my passport with a 10-year valid visa in the mail!
My interview was quite short. I believe that if you answer directly and honestly, the Consul does not need to probe further.
Remember that they screen people to ensure that they do not allow anyone who has no intention to return and whose purpose is just to work illegally in the US.
I hate applying for visas because it costs a lot and it takes a lot of time to prepare all the documents. However, I cannot blame the countries who are strict on Filipinos because we have historically failed their trust. There are so many Filipinos until now who go to the US as a traveler but would then get work.
Some people are desperate due to poverty but getting into something illegally might just get you more in trouble. It also impacts an entire nation, legit travelers also have to face the same scrutiny because of what our fellow Filipinos have done illegally.
No Cellphone or watch inside the Embassy.
If someone is accompanying you, leave these with them because these will not be allowed inside the embassy.
Get a US visa while you are still employed
I met someone at the embassy who got denied. She was supposed to attend a wedding. She said that she has a family business and even flew from Iloilo to have this interview. She got a paper telling when she can apply again, and she will have to pay the same application fee again.
I was still a full time employee when I applied for a US visa. I do not have any family connections here but perhaps my connection to an employer was an assurance that I would return to the Philippines.
I am currently an independent digital nomad and freelancer and I might have not the same outcome had I applied now. First because of the lack of ties I have here in the Philippines and second, a full time job is more stable than my current freelance career.
I am sure that there are freelancers who got multiple entry visa so if you’re one, please share your tips on how to pass the interview on the comments section below.
Do you already have a Travel Insurance?
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Before my trip, I researched thoroughly and found that SafetyWing is the most affordable and the best part is you can extend your insurance wherever you are in the world!
Other travel insurance in the Philippines require you to be in the country after some months and this is not ideal for me as a digital nomad. Thankfully, SafetyWing lets you extend wherever you are and they even allow you to register even if you are already abroad which other travel insurance wouldn’t allow.