To travel to the United States, a Filipino must be granted one of two Visa types available to Pinoys: a Nonimmigrant Visa or an Immigrant Visa.
Nonimmigrant Visas are for travelers who wish to enter the United States and stay there for a definite period of time. It is given to Pinoys who wish to tour the U.S., visit friends and relatives who reside there, seek medical treatment, or attend company and business functions. Nonimmigrant Visa holders are expected to return to the Philippines within a prescribed period.
Immigrant Visa on the other hand are for those who wish to relocate to the U.S. and live there permanently.
In this article, we will be providing the step-by-step process needed when applying for a U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa and setting your interview appointment online. These were lifted from the U.S. Embassy website.
- Your Passport must be valid.
If it is your first time to apply for a US Visa, you may want to go beyond the minimum six-month validity required of Pinoy travelers. You can find the complete list of requirements and procedure in renewing your passport here.
2. Accomplish your U.S. Visa application online by logging on to the US Embassy website (ph.usembassy.gov)
Read the instructions carefully. Do not rush into completing the online forms and questionnaire as the answers you will be providing on the website will be reviewed by the embassy and may form part of your interview. Avoid asking someone else to accomplish the online forms for you as well.
3. Pay for your Visa Application Fee
As of this writing, the Visa Application Fee is $160.00. You can make your payments at any Bank of the Philippine Islands branch. Just bring the print-out copy of the US Visa Application Deposit Slip which you can get after you have completed the forms online.
There is an expiration date on the deposit slip that you will be printing out; make sure you are aware of the last date when you can make your payment. Should you miss the deadline, you can simply visit the US Embassy website again to have the system generate a new deposit slip for you.
After you have made your payment, keep your bank receipt and take note of your receipt number. This will be asked of you when set your appointment online. The bank cannot generate a new receipt number for you so take care not to lose your copy.
Whether you are granted a visa or not, you are required to make the payment. This is non-refundable.
4. Complete the DS-160 form and submit online.
- You have the option to save your answers and then come back later to continue filling out the online form.
- Follow the prescribed guidelines for taking and submitting your photo. The system will not accept your file if it does not meet the requirements.
- Email yourself a copy of the accomplished DS-160 to serve as your reference. Do not bring a copy of the DS-160 to your interview.
5. Create your profile in the Visa Application system.
- This is where you gain access to creating an appointment for your interview.
- Prepare the following when creating your profile:
- Your Passport number.
- Receipt number from the bank payment you made.
- The ten-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.
Once you have a confirmed schedule for your interview, all you need to do is prepare the documents you need and wait for your appointment date!
In our next article, we will feature tips and guidelines to help you ace your interview. Stay tuned!