*Please note that that this blog post is for the B1/B2 US Visa or Tourist Visa/Business Visa.
The day I got my visa approved was one of the happiest days of my life. Everything went surprisingly fast for me. I have been to many visa application process and US won the “most relaxing”, hands down. But for many Filipinos this was the most stressful thing though they haven’t even tried because they are afraid. I heard a lot of horror stories of people getting denied a tourist visa to the US. I know the feeling. I was once refused to get Schengen visa but I didn’t stop until I got it. There is no harm in trying again and again. I’d loved to share to you how did I get my US Visa while working here in the Middle East.
Like you, I am an ordinary Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) base in Kuwait. I had a dream to visit the city that never sleeps, New York. My passion of traveling brought me to a place I never thought I’d have to come to. I’ve been to many countries in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East but America. Well, the highlight of my experience during the interview is like competing for an international pageant. You’ll have to meet the requirements and undergo the most dreaded Question and Answer portion with a consulate officer. Easier said than done, right? Hence, getting approved for a US Visa is one of the top concerns, we, Filipinos have especially now that Donald Trump won the presidential election. Not to mention, visa applicants will have to show determination in order to get a visa like mine, the 10-year multiple entry. Here’s a quick guide from my experience on how I got my visa in US embassy in Kuwait. This process might be the same with other countries in the Middle East.
What are Type B1, B2 or B1/B2 US Visas?
Again, I got B1/B2 Visa. This is a non-immigrant visa for those who are only planning on visiting the country for a relatively short period of time. When you refer to Type B1 US Visa, is mainly for business purposes. On the other hand, the Type B2 US Visa is for medical treatment, visiting relatives or friends, and for pleasure. These two visas are merged and therefore they are issued jointly. However, your intended travel’s purpose as well as other necessary details will be primarily considered before you get approved. This will determine the visa type you need under US immigration law.
Basic Steps in Successful US Visa Application
Please do some research, google is just one click away. Ask the people who have experienced the process or do not hesitate to call the US embassy near you. Below are the steps as per my experience. It may not be 100% accurate but it works for me. Ready? Believe me it is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Log on to Go to www.ustraveldocs.com/kw sign up or register for an account. Creating an account on the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website is the first thing to do. This will help you get an online application while scheduling an interview before personally going to their office. Just click the New Application button and choose Nonimmigrant Visa; then it all follows. Don’t worry it won’t take 30 minutes to fill up the form.
- Complete the DS-160 for online visa application and carefully review it before submitting to the consular officer for assessment. Please be honest and avoid providing fake information. Do not forget to check the spelling.
In order to fill this out you will need:
*passport (and old passport if there is)
*travel itinerary (do not purchase plane ticket until your visa has been granted)
*digital image or photo (Photo Requirements) bring 2 original copies during the interview.
3. Print and pay the fee of $160 to any Burgan Bank location in Kuwait. If you are outside Kuwait check the consular affair website to know where to pay. Please bring your passport with you and/or a national ID.
4. After paying the application fee, it’s time to schedule an appointment for your visa interview online at www.ustraveldocs.com/kw or by phone through the Call Center (at +965-2220-4144). Again, if you are outside Kuwait check consular affair website. You may change or cancel your appointment 24 hours beforehand, as a courtesy to other applicants.
5. You will receive an appointment confirmation letter by email which you must print out and bring it with you to the interview along with other documents.
Congratulations if you have successfully scheduled an appointment. Just like that, you are halfway towards getting your visa. It is so easy! Now, for the second half prepare yourself for an interview with the visa officer. Get a lot of sleep and confidence.
The day of the interview.
- Arrive Early. Be sure to show up 30 minutes earlier to secure your spot. You don’t want to miss your interview just because something came up. Take note that when you arrived in the US embassy, you will pass through security screening so it will take around 20 minutes before you get in. Wear formal clothes just like in a job interview. Be confident. Do not forget to eat breakfast please.
- Ensure that all required forms have been completed. A plastic envelope helps to organize documents you carry along with you. You are not allowed to bring gadgets, mobiles, cameras and other digital devices. Below are the necessary papers you need to have as evidence of strong economic, familial and/or social to a residence outside of the United States.
Proof of employment
Bank statement(s) demonstrating sufficient funds for travel
Previous passport showing prior international travel
- Once inside the embassy you will be given a priority number. Ok you are almost there! Prior to your interview with the consular officer, you will be required to scan your fingerprints for biometric identification on the other window. Pay attention on your number. Remember, officers are also human like us so don’t be afraid they don’t bite
Now, it’s time for the actual interview!
Stay calm, dress smart and do your best to convince the consulate officer to approve your US Visa. Be honest. Nothing can beat a sincere and determined Filipino wanting to travel in the US. Remember that interview portion will give you 75% chance of success if you will make it right. To be honest, during my interview I was scared. The interviewer assigned to me seemed pleasant so I was able to battle nervousness. I walked up to the counter with a game face on.
Me: Hi, good morning Ma’am. (handed over my passport)
Consul: Hello! So, why are you visiting the United States?
Me: Well, next month will be my birthday and I wanted to fulfill my dream to celebrate it in America alone. *with my cutest smile*
Consul: What countries have you visited the past 2 years?
Me: Ive been to many countries like Germany, Turkey, UAE, Singapore, Thailand … *she cuts me off*
Consul: Show me your old passport. *gave her my old passport* what did you do in Germany?
Me: I spent my time visiting churches, castles and national parks…*again she cuts me off*
Consul: Congratulations your visa is approved! Enjoy your birthday trip to the USA. *handed me the green paper*
Me: *totally shocked* You mean!?… ahhmm.. huh!.. :-l for real?
Consul: Yes *with her cute smile* take your passport after 3-5 business days.
That was my most surprising interview ever. I never thought it was that quick. Visa officers are experts in their profession and they can figure out your true intentions just by looking at you. She did not even ask any questions nor asked any documents. I felt it when she looked at me like she’s reading my eyes. I knew I was sincere and I really dreamed of getting the US visa.
Interview Tips to Learn From
• On your scheduled interview, just stay calm and do your best to convince the consulate officer to approve your US Visa.
• Again, nothing can beat a sincere and determined Filipino wanting to travel in the US. So for your upcoming visa application, it’s make or break.
• Come up with convincing answers and make sure to speak in English clearly.
• Do not forge any documents. Please!
• Be polite and confident when responding to questions asked by the officer. Don’t let them see that you are unsure with your answers. And most of all, dress appropriately in the interview.
That’s how I succeeded in my visa application recently! Don’t be afraid that you will not be granted. I’d love to give you some advice.