No Secrets – Walang Sikreto (UPDATED)

If hearing the words “Your visa has been approved!” is your goal at the end of your visa interview, then the saying, “honesty is the best policy” should be your mantra — keep no secrets.  And that’s the aim of our “Walang Sikreto” campaign.

Contrary to popular belief, there really is no perfect formula when it comes to being issued a visa.  The outcome of each case varies due to  individual circumstances and requirements.  Unfortunately, visa applicants continue to be victimized by “visa fixers,” people who charge applicants unnecessary fees and give false promises that they can “help” with the visa process.  Don’t be a victim! WalangSikreto

If you have access to the Internet then you don’t need anyone’s help to complete a visa application.  Just be honest when filling out the DS-160 and truthfully answer the consul’s questions during your interview.  Never attempt to purchase or present fraudulent documents and don’t lie on your application form or in your interview.  If you’re unsure about the process, you can always refer to the U.S. Embassy’s official website:

Remember, any step or payment not consistent with the information on our official website is NOT a genuine procedure.  Truth is, the real “secret” when it comes to applying for a visa to the United States is not having any (secrets) at all.  It’s as simple as that.

Nonimmigrant Visas: Afternoon Interview Slots Open in October 2015

It is a widely known fact that scheduling an interview appointment for a visa requires planning. It is one of the most important steps in acquiring a visa, because choosing your interview appointment can make or break your travel plans. Well, good news is coming your way this October! Aside from looking forward to Oktoberfest and Halloween, you’ll now have an opportunity to book for your visa interview during a limited number of afternoon openings being offered in October.

However, please take note that more slots in October means fewer slots in November because of the upcoming APEC meetings in Manila. There are no assurances that we will be able to process applications in November, so if you fail to book in October, chances are you’ll be staying in the Philippines for Christmas!

So, if you are planning to leave in December or celebrate the holidays in the United States, NOW is the best time to schedule an interview appointment. You may do so by calling our call center at (02) 976-8500, (02) 976-8501, or (02) 976-8502. The call center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Manila time, except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. You may also book your appointment online by visiting

As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And when it comes to scheduling your visa interview appointments this time of the year, we’d like to think that you would prefer to plan wisely!

Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers

Temporary nonimmigrant workers are individuals who seek to enter the United States temporarily for a specific work purpose. The US Embassy in Manila processes many applications by persons seeking to work in the United States, Guam, and Saipan.   Once granted a visa, they are restricted from being involved in work activities other than those approved in their petition.

Temporary Worker Visas

Temporary worker visas are for individuals who want to enter the United States for employment lasting a fixed period of time; they are not considered permanent or indefinite workers.  These types of visas require the prospective employer to file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Once the petition is approved, an individual may apply for a work visa.

Individuals entering the United States to work, do so under different requirements, conditions, and authorized periods of stay, based upon their visa type. The most common work visas issued by the embassy in Manila are H1b (professional and skilled workers), H2b (non-agricultural workers), L (intra-company transfers), and CW1 (workers in Saipan), but there are many other classes of work visas. Please click here to view a list of nonimmigrant temporary worker visa classifications. To apply, please check the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Procedures page.

Important Note: 

  • The approval of a petition does not guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
  •  Spouse and Children
    • With the exception of Cultural Exchange Visitor Q-1 visa applicants, spouses and unmarried, minor children may also apply for the same visa category as the primary applicant. The primary applicant must show that they will be able to financially support their family while in the United States.
  • Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date.  Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. When traveling to the United States, you must present a valid passport along with your valid visa in an expired passport.
  • If granted a work visa, it is important that applicants adhere to the terms of their petition; any violation may result in removal or denial of re-entry into the United States.

For information about employment and study, please review the Temporary Workers information and Employment Authorization on the USCIS website.

For more information, please check our blog posts:

Human Trafficking: Rights, Protections & Resources

Non-Immigrant Visa FAQ

B1 Domestic Visa (Updated)



In October 2014, the VISAtisfied Voyager featured a post discussing the requirements for bringing personal or domestic employees to the United States for a temporary visit.  Since then, the Embassy has made some changes to expedite the process.

To reiterate, a personal or domestic employee is a person who works within the employer’s household to perform a variety of household services for an individual or family.  This may range from caring for children or elderly individuals to performing tasks related to household maintenance or cleaning, also known as housekeeping. Other categories of work include, but are not limited to, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, valets, footmen, nannies, au pairs, mothers’ helpers, gardeners, and paid companions.

To apply for a B-1 Domestic Visa, your employer must be either:

  • A U.S. citizen who has a permanent home abroad or is stationed in a foreign country but who is visiting or is assigned to the United States temporarily; or
  • A foreign citizen who is in the United States on one of the following nonimmigrant visa categories:  B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, or Q.

At least 10 business days prior to your appointment, you must send the required information to . The required documents are listed below for your convenience, but can be found online at the U.S. Embassy website, HERE.

  • The subject line of your email must be:


  • Include in the body of the email:

o   Applicant’s complete name including middle name and date of birth

o   Each city and state of intended employment in the United States

o   Employer and spouse’s complete names (including middle names) and the names of any family members with whom the applicant might travel

o   Employer and spouse’s date of birth and the date of birth of any family members with whom the applicant might travel

o   Employer and spouse’s nationality and the nationality of any family member with whom the applicant might travel

Please note, you can also send the requested information before making an appointment.  Maaaring ipadala ng mas maaga ang impormasyon na hinihingi. Maaari ring ipadala ang impormasyon kahit wala pang napipiling araw ng interbyu. 

When making your interview appointment time, please schedule for 7:10 a.m.  The Embassy requires that all B1 Domestics be seen at this time.

On the day of the interview, please bring a standard contract signed by both the employer and the employee.  A sample standard contract may be found HERE. While in the United States, employers are required to pay their employees the prevailing wage of their intended destination.  This wage must be accurately reflected in the contract.  Information on the prevailing wage for each state can be found HERE.

While working in the U.S., it is important that employees’ rights are protected.  Employees can learn more about their rights in the United States and the protections available to them by reading the Legal Rights and Protections pamphlet. This pamphlet is available in English or Tagalog and can also be found HERE in audio format.   Employees will be asked by the Interviewing Officer if they have read and understand its contents. Maaaring basahin ang pamphlet sa Ingles o Tagalog. Ang Interviewing Officer ay magtatanong kung nabasa at naintindihan ng aplikante ang nilalalaman ng polyeto.

The Embassy may cancel interview appointments for applicants who fail to follow the procedure for B1 Domestic visa application.

If you have questions or comments about this topic, please feel free to post below.

Upcoming Virtual Talks on Visas

Join us for the following online events all about Visas on the following dates:

Facebook Chat: “Anything you ever wanted to know about U.S. visas”

Date: Monday, February 9, 2015 3:30pm – 4:00pm
Title: Facebook Chat: “Anything you ever wanted to know about U.S. visas”

Daniela Zadrozny currently works for the Visa Office as a post liaison officer. She joined the State Department in 2004 and has served in U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Mongolia, China and Germany. Daniela will be answering questions posted on the Facebook event page during the 30 minute Facebook chat.

To post a question, visit

LIVESTREAM: The Visa Hour: What You Need to Know About Visas to Study in the United States

Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 9:30am – 10:30am
Title: The Visa Hour: “What You Need to Know About Visas to Study in the United States”

Join U.S. Senior Advisor for Consular Affairs David T. Donahue and special guests for a live edition of “The Visa Hour,” featuring a moderated discussion and question-&-answer session about visas to the U.S. for study, cultural exchanges, and on-the-job training under the J-1 Intern & Trainee and Summer Work Travel Programs.

Tune in to the US Embassy’s Visa Hour on Tuesday, February 10, from 9:30-10:30am(Philippine Standard Time) and watch the livestream on the Embassy’s various social media platforms:

You may start posting your questions on Twitter using hashtag #TheVisaHour.


Travel, Love, and Visas

Date: Saturday, February 14, 2015, 2:00am – 2:30am
Title: Hangouts at State present “Travel, Love, and Visas”

What happens if you fall in love abroad and you want to bring your foreign spouse or fiancé(e) to the USA?

Join the Bureau of Consular Affairs for a Google+ Hangout on moving your loved one overseas. We’ll talk with a newlywed about her experience with the process, a fiancé visa expert from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and a UK-based immigration attorney who helps couples navigate the fiancé(s) visa process.

Submit your questions at and follow the conversation online by using #TravelGovLove .


 “Can we take our personal or domestic employee on the family’s trip to the United States?”

 A personal or domestic employee is a person who works within the employer’s household. They perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to cleaning and household maintenance, known as housekeeping. This includes, but is not limited to, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, valets, footmen, nannies, au pairs, mothers’ helpers, gardeners, and paid companions.

 A personal or domestic employee who is accompanying or following his/her employer to the United States may be eligible for a B-1 domestic visa.

 You may apply for a B-1 visitor visa to work in the United States as a personal or domestic employee for your employer in limited situations. You may work in the United States on a visitor visa if your employer is:

  • A U.S. citizen who has a permanent home or is stationed in a foreign country, but is visiting or is assigned to the United States temporarily; or
  • A foreign citizen who is in the United States on one of the following nonimmigrant visa categories:  B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, or Q.

 Please check the requirements outlined here, and note the new requirement. 

 To apply, please check the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Procedures page. In addition to application procedure Step 2, you must also submit the required documents listed on our website on your appointment date.

 If you are accompanying or following to join an employer who is a foreign diplomat or government official, you may be eligible for an A-3 or G-5 visa, depending upon your employer’s visa status.

 Learn more about your rights in the United States and protection available to you by reading the Legal Rights and Protections pamphlet. This includes information on the illegality of slavery, peonage, trafficking in persons, sexual assault, extortion, blackmail, and worker exploitation in the United States.

Important Note:

Please read the pamphlet in English or in Tagalog prior to your visa interview. You will be asked if you have received, read, and understood its contents.

For more information about A-3B-1, and G-5 visas, you may visit the Department of State’s website.

For more information, please check our blog posts:

B1 domestic employee? Bring your employer!
Human Trafficking: Rights, Protections & Resources
Non-Immigrant Visa FAQ

Studying in the United States through the Philippine-American Education Foundation

An undergraduate student, graduate student, and mid-career professional share their experiences

by Sonya Schoenberger

Studying in the US can seem daunting, but the experience is often life-changing. This post will profile three Filipinos—one undergraduate student, one graduate student, and one mid-career professional—who pursued degree and non-degree studies at US Universities. Each hoped to expand his or her worldview by taking time off from studies and jobs in the Philippines to explore the resources and cultural diversity of American institutions. Jhesset Enano, an undergraduate journalism student at the University of the Philippines Diliman, pursued one year of non-degree studies at the University of Mississippi through the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program. Missy Maramara received a Masters Degree in Drama from the University of Arkansas over a three-year period. Atty. Arnel Bañas pursued one year of non-degree study and professional development opportunities at the University of Washington as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow. All were supported by the Philippine American Education Foundation (PAEF), the Fulbright Commission in the Philippines. While these three fellows had distinct academic experiences, they all found that their studies in the United States not only enlarged their worldviews, but also influenced the way they perceive and approach their lives back here in the Philippines.

Jhesset Thrina Enano, who will begin her senior year as a journalism student at the University of the Philippines Diliman this August, recently returned from a year of non-degree studies at the University of Mississippi. Jhesset’s overseas experience was supported by a grant from the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, which is administered by the Philippine-American Educational Foundation and funded by the US Department of State.

Jhesset, who loves travel, adventure, and academics, decided to study in the US because she wanted to experience an international education firsthand. At the University of Mississippi, Jhesset took classes in news and feature writing, multimedia production, photojournalism, and design. Jhesset also studied the history of journalism in the United States and found time to take Spanish language, American government, and documentary photography courses. Outside of class, Jhesset volunteered with the local public library, a respite day service, and a campus sustainability program. She also became involved with the University of Mississippi’s large international student community and shared Philippine culture, food, and language at international events.

According to Jhesset, studying at a US University is fairly similar to studying at an institution in the Philippines. One difference she did note, though, is the number of resources that US universities provide to support the academic and professional goals of students.

“From digital laboratories to extensive libraries, the US universities really foster an environment of learning for their students. It is only up to us to take advantage of these resources.”—Jhesset Enano

Jhesset found the diversity of her peers at the University of Mississippi one of the most rewarding aspects of her experience in the United States. She now has friends not only in the United States, but also in Egypt, Montenegro, El Salvador, Japan, Germany, Venezuela, Ghana, Algeria, Vietnam, and Pakistan. The experiences and perspectives Jhesset gained from this diversity, she says, have helped her to become a true global citizen.

During her nine months in the US, Jhesset traveled to nearly 20 states, experiencing many different American geographies and cultures. One of her favorite travel experiences was a spontaneous trip she took to New Orleans, Louisiana with a friend. After driving for six hours, they watched the sun rise over the Mississippi river and indulged in French beignets and creole jambalaya while listening to New Orleans jazz. Jhesset also gushes about Washington DC’s museums and the amazing architecture of Chicago, Illinois.

One challenge that Jhesset did experience during her year abroad was a bit of homesickness. Thanks to Skype, though, she was able to connect with loved ones back home. In terms of how her US study will influence her life and career back in the Philippines, Jhesset believes her nine months in Mississippi were truly formative. “My US experience has given me a stronger voice to stand for what I truly believe in,” she wrote. “It motivated me to be a better leader and to be of better service to the Filipino people . . . I am excited to pursue my final year in journalism and soon enter the journalism field with more perspective, more knowledge and stronger belief that I can contribute change in society, one story at a time.”

“It may be quite short as it was only for nine months, but the exchange program did not feel like just a slice of my life, but rather, a lifetime of experiences. Coming back, I can say that I have definitely become more confident. I feel that I have grown and matured more as a person, and in facing my life back here in the Philippines, I am more than excited to know what I can contribute to the table and to share the knowledge and experiences that I had with my friends and colleagues.”—Jhesset Thrina Enano

Jhesset has simple advice for Filipino students thinking about study in the US: “have an open mind and heart, and be courageous!” And, importantly: “Have fun!”

Missy Maramara earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drama at the University of Arkansas (UofA) in 2014. During her three years in the United States, Missy became involved in the University of Arkansas campus community. She co-founded Kapisanan ng Mag-aaral na Pilipino, a registered student organization for Filipinos, Fil-Americans, and UofA students interested in Filipino culture, and served as founding Vice President of the UofA Fulbright Scholars. Missy also traveled around the United States and made frequent trips to New York. In the fall of 2013, she performed “Love, Liz,” a one-person show she wrote herself, in New York City’s United Solo Festival. Missy created “Love, Liz” as a satire of the quest for the American Hollywood dream from the perspective of a Filipino in a small American town—a script inspired by her own experiences in Arkansas.

While there are many cultural differences between Arkansas and Manila, Missy says she found her new community extremely warm and welcoming. She joined UofA’s Friendship Family program and celebrated holidays with a local American host family.  One of the biggest differences between university study in the US and the Philippines, Missy says, is the relationship between students and teachers, which is much more informal in the United States. Missy also noted that the American universities give students a tremendous amount of resources and support services, including a Safe Ride program that brings students to their doors at night.

 “Professors also have a different approach to teaching. I’m used to fearing Filipino Professors in the same Filipino way we revere our elders; they really work us to the bone and outwardly demand excellence. My professors in the UofA treated me like an equal. I felt that the work load was much lighter than I was used to and that I had enough time and space to accomplish the work load, which had the same effect in the sense that I HAD to give nothing less than excellence.”—Missy Maramara

Missy found the experience of teaching in an American classroom as a graduate student particularly rewarding, and enjoyed observing, and bridging, cultural differences between her students and herself. She also took pride in her dual-identity as both a Filipino and a student of the University of Arkansas—a rich duality she showcased in her performance on a New York stage. And as for how her experience in the US will shape her career back in the Philippines?

“I have a slightly different approach to my career now, whether it be teaching or acting. I’m still me and my personality is the same, but my “dual” perspective and wider, field-specific vocabulary give me a clearer way forward that I confidently pursue. My fear of failure has been replaced by an eagerness to explore different possibilities having the proper tools to forge my way forward.”

Missy encourages other Filipino students considering US study to fully explore the possibility, as overseas study experience plays an important role in developing the skills of global citizenship. Missy also has practical advice for any students preparing to apply to US programs:  “Make sure to fully explore the program, the professors, the university and the state, because those will determine how you will grow—find the right fit!”

In 2007, Atty. Arnel Jose S. Bañas decided that he wanted to go back to school. As Deputy Secretary for the Administration and Financial Services at the Philippine Senate, Atty. Bañas recognized that taking time off from his senior position would be a surprising career move, but he was eager to pursue educational and professional development opportunities overseas that would enlarge his perspective on his work in the Philippines. Atty Bañas already held a BS in Tourism and a Bachelors and Master of Law at the time, so he decided to apply for a year of non-credit, non-degree study funded by the Hubert Humphrey fellowship. Today, he says that the fellowship was both a very positive and happy period of his life and a formative experience that has changed the way he approaches his work and relations with others back in the Philippines.

Placed in Seattle at the University of Washington (UW), Atty. Arnel studied Human Resources, Management, and Organizational Development. During his fellowship, he took two classes of his choice per term at the University of Washington, gave presentations on his professional background at various local institutions, traveled to Nevada and Washington D.C. for seminars, and engaged in professional development activities with the City of Seattle government and REI, a popular outdoor clothing and equipment company headquartered in Seattle. Through his pairing with a private and a government office, Atty. Arnel was exposed to American-style human resource management techniques, which place a strong emphasis on client and customer care.  Back in the Philippines, he adapted these techniques to Filipino culture, encouraging his staff at the Senate to be both courteous and expressive, important values in American offices.

Humphrey Fellows are allowed to choose classes on any subject, of any level, without coursework completion requirements. Atty. Arnel took several non-credit classes with UW students during his fellowship, including a course on the History of the Philippines and a Tagalog Language class, both of which were taught by Filipino professors and attended by American and Filipino-American students. These UW courses were the most diverse, multicultural classroom environments Atty. Arnel had ever experienced, even compared to his other international experiences in Australia and the United Kingdom.

While at UW, Atty. Arnel also formed deep bonds with other Humphrey Fellows, who came from all over the world. He has continued to engage with this network in the years after his fellowship, visiting his former roommate in Estonia and other fellows in India and Indonesia as well. In the wake of typhoon Yolanda, Atty. Arnel received messages of goodwill from all around the world, from his UW classmates and Humphrey network.

Atty. Arnel continues to reflect fondly on his Humphrey year, and explains that, by working with people from diverse backgrounds, and by witnessing a wide variety of problem-solving approaches, he walked away from his year in the US with a deeper understanding of both himself and others. Atty. Arnel’s advice to prospective Fulbright students, at any stage in their studies and careers, is to “run after opportunity.” Studying in the States, he explains, is a “great opportunity to learn who you are, and to improve on yourself.”

For more information on study opportunities in the US funded by the Philippine-American Education Foundation, visit

Completed DS-260 Required Prior to Visa Interview


Starting October 02, 2014, all immigrant visa applicants are required to complete a DS-260 online immigrant visa application at prior to attending their visa interview appointment.

Applicants who appear for an interview without completed application forms will be advised to reschedule the interview by visiting the online appointment website at or by calling the Embassy’s Visa Information and Appointment Service at (632) 982-5555 / (632) 902-8930.

If you are asked to reschedule your interview because your DS-260 is incomplete, please note that the next available appointment may be three to six weeks after your original appointment.  To avoid lengthy delays, please complete the DS-260 well in advance of your interview date.