How to Apply for a US Tourist Visa in the Philippines?

July 2018 – I am able to convince my Mom to try to apply for a US Tourist Visa to grant my sister’s wish to visit her in the US. She have been working in the US for the past 10 years and none of the family even tried to apply for a visa to visit her. It’s her dream to bring our parents there, but since we only have our Mom, the parent who doesn’t dream to be in the US, so I tried to help her out in making my Mom to at least apply for a visa.

As a Philippines travel blog it becomes my hobby to document how my Mom and I applied for a visa, we plan for me to come along with her so that there will be someone assisting her in the trip since she’s not a confident traveler. But anyway, here is how we’ve done it or have a Do-it-yourself US visa application with no agency helping us.

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But before anything else, to know that this post is updated, I’ll update the dates on when I update this post.

January 30, 2019 - Published.

WHAT YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR A US VISA?

Here are the following things that you need to be able to complete these whole process in US tourist visa application. Please note that this is a mix of what the US Embassy said that are their requirements, and my experience in completing my US visa application and just sharing my experience as your Philippines travel blogger that just wish to visit a first world country for the first time.

Latest Photo.

When you go to the photo studio, tell them that you wish to have the US visa photo. Ask for the digital copy saved on your USB since you can make use of this for the DS-160 form.

Passport.

Make sure that your passport is still valid, and won’t be expired within 6 months that you’ll be visiting the US.

Visa Fee

As of September 2018 and as of writing this article January 2019, the current Visa Fee is $160. Please note that the currency exchange of the US Embassy is not dependent in the international currency exchange. At the time of my application the exchange rate was around Php 52 to $1 but the US embassy has Php 55 to $1, so we paid Php 8,800 per person – and there’s 2 of us.

The rest of important documents are produced through this process such as:

DS -160 Form

This will be produced in completing this process I’m just stating this since you need the following information in completing this form:

  • Relative’s information if applicable. Such as their address, contact number, work, work place, residency status, etc.
  • Applicant’s information. Such as Education, work, salary, email, etc.

Payment Receipt

You need to bring with you the Visa payment receipt that you printed and the bank have verification in it.

Appointment Confirmation

After you have selected your interview schedule, you will get an email of the appointment confirmation and you need to print it and bring this with you at the US Embassy.

If you can, and wish to be prepared you may also prepare and gather any of these documents before your visa interview if any are applicable to you the applicant.

  • Bank Certificate
  • Supporting Documents
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Employer Letter
  • Property Documents

US TOURIST VISA APPLICATION

I have made a video on my YouTube channel where I talk about the whole US visa application process in the Philippines, but of course I’ll also make a written version of it since some may not like my videos and prefer the written version. But if you want to listen how to do the US tourist visa application yourself in Tagalog, then watch it here:


Step 1: DS-160 Application Form

To start filling out the DS-160 form or the Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, you can start through clicking here. But if you wish to view what are the questions and what is filling the DS-160 form out you may view the sample DS-160 form here.

It’s easy to fill out when you are prepared with the information. You’ll be given a few minutes to complete this, especially if you’re being in active. But no worries, you may select RETRIEVE AN APPLICATION if you’re timed out. If you clicked submit, you can no longer edit your application, so make sure the information you have filled out and given are correct.

So make sure that you’ll take note or best have the screenshot of your 10 digit code or as what in the sample shown the Application ID.

How to Apply for a US Tourist Visa in the Philippines US visa application experience denied


Remember also the answer of your selected security questions, best if you’ll put this down in a paper along with your DS-160 form Application ID.

After filling it out, you’ll be e-mailed the copy of your DS-160 form, print this out since you’ll need this for your interview at the US Embassy.

Step 2: Payment

You can still back out now if you’ve changed your mind in applying for a US Tourist Visa or the B1/B2 visa. But if you’re sure then proceed in paying the fee. The fee is as of the moment $160, the exchange rate will depend on the US Embassy and not the international exchange rate.

As of the date we’ve paid the US Embassy exchange rate is Php 55 for a $1, and the international exchange rate is Php 52 for a $1. This is important since you’ll be paying in Philippine peso, and to find out how much at the time you are going to pay for the US visa fee, just select any of the payment method below.


If you choose to pay over-the-counter, just print 2 copies of the file for each person, and go the nearest BPI bank branch. Just in form the guard you’ll be paying for the US visa.

Do note that for each person it’s a different receipt that needed to be printed. Just refresh the page to get a new file.

Step 3: Register at US Bureau of Consular Affairs

It’s now time to register yourself at the US Consular, just click here to register. If you are a group like a family applying for a US visa, you don’t have to create an account for each person, you may have one of you register and have the rest added to your account for a group interview.

You’ll also need the Receipt Number of your visa fee payment to be able to schedule your interview at the US Embassy. Once done, you’ll not be able to schedule immediately there are times that it will take 24 to 48 hours before you can do so. So just check your account for it.

If you changed your mind for the date or the time of your interview, you may change this at this same website for FREE.

Step 4: Interview

The last step is of course getting interviewed by the US Consul at the US Embassy, here in the Philippines there’s only 1 US Embassy which is in Manila, just right by the Manila Bay.

If you’re flying from the province you may do this for a day trip to manila, get the earliest flight and your flight back should be in the afternoon, about 3pm onwards. Or if you’d like to roam around a bit after your interview which what we did, you may get the last flight back to your province.

The distance between the NAIA airport to the US Embassy can actually be done in 30 minutes, but due to traffic, just make sure you give at least an hour travel allowance.

If you’re late, no worries, just go directly to the guard or the desk and tell them you’re before the time posted. For example if your time of interview is 10:30 but the ones that are called are already 11am, you can still get it. But of course, the earlier you are for your schedule the better impression. But there are times that they call the time ahead, like for us, it was just around 9 but they’re already letting us the 10am schedule get inside the US embassy.

What to Bring in the US Embassy Interview?

There are only 5 documents that they want you to bring but again there are instances that they ask for more documents to see and check if you’ll be qualified to be given a US tourist visa. Here are the 5 documents that they ask you to bring:

  • Valid passport
  • DS-160
  • Payment Receipt
  • Appointment Confirmation
  • Your Latest Photo

If you wish to be prepared, you may also bring any of the following documents:
  • Bank Certificate – especially if you are going to pay your trip to the US.
  • Business Certificate – if applicable. Any business certificate that proves you have a business.
  • Travel Itinerary – if you have.

Now if you’re wondering about my experience in the US visa interview, watch it here:


If you want an English subtitle please let me know.

If you have any questions about the US tourist visa, or my US visa interview please feel free to comment it down below.


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