Tips for Your Next Embassy Visit (NIV)

Everyone who is applying for a visa, regardless of age (excluding those applying for diplomatic visas), has to appear at the Embassy.  If you qualify for the VRP, you may not need an interview, but will still need to come for prescreening and fingerscanning. We ask that you arrive at the Embassy no earlier than one hour, but no less than 15 minutes before your appointment time. For customer service and security reasons, we may not be able to admit you early.

When you come to the Embassy, make sure you bring all the basic application requirements: your interview appointment letter, DS-160 confirmation page, valid passport, one 2” x 2” photo, and all prior passports and U.S. visas, if available.

Don’t worry about getting lost! We have Embassy personnel available to provide assistance at each stage. If you need an interpreter, we have staff who speak Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano, and other dialects from the Philippines, as well as many other languages. There is no need to bring a relative or a friend to act as an interpreter!

When you get to the Embassy, you will not be allowed to bring in any electronic devices (including your cell phone). Please leave these at home.

After the interview:

If the consular officer tells you that you qualify for a visa, congratulations! It will take us about a week to get your visa processed and on its way to you through our courier service, 2Go. If you need your visa faster, you can pick up your passport from 2Go’s location at Mall of Asia. Ask the interviewing officer for details on how to do this, or check with the call center. You do NOT need to pay any more fees. The cost of the courier delivery is included in the MRV fee you pay at the bank.

If the consular officer tells you that your visa has been refused under 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, don’t panic. You will be given instructions on what to do next. Sometimes we need more information from you, and sometimes we need to hold your application for administrative processing. You can check the status of your application online at http://manila.usembassy.gov/adminprocessing2.html

If the consular officer tells you that you do not qualify for a visa, you can reapply at any time. Before you do so, please read the blue letter you were given at the end of your interview, and check out our post on ties to the Philippines: Social, Family and Economic Ties (NIV).

76 thoughts on “Tips for Your Next Embassy Visit (NIV)

  1. Good morning!
    Around 12 yrs ago, I applied for a Tourist visa to attend a Food Trade Show , but i mistakenly submitted a wrong ITR .And my visa was denied for Falsification of Document. At present, Im holding a Business Manager/Investor visa in Japan for my side business ,I moved in Japan last 2002 as Company Transferee . And 6 years ago I tried to apply again for Tourist visa in Tokyo but I was denied again because of my previous case :(
    My question is, right now Im connected to American company as their Asian Partner Manager http://www.vtuner.com/team.asp for already 1 year and they asked me to attend a CES Trade show in Las Vegas this January 2012, Im staying here in Philippines now and the American company is willing to support all the necessary documents and financial support for me just to attend the fair.
    My concern is,Im planning to apply a visa here in Manila, will my previous record will affect my application for a tourist visa? do I need to clear my previous record so I can pass my application? I need your advice. Thank you.

    • You will be evaluated on your social, family, and economic ties outside of the United States. Your past “falsification of a document” will be part of what the consular officer considers. If you decide to apply for a visa again, be sure to be honest about the circumstances.

  2. can i also apply for a visa even though i was deported for over staying here in the Philippines year 1991 to 1999, the US let me stay for 9 yrs to take care of my case, but i was too busy working so they sent me a final deporting notice which i didn’t paid attention to it, and i was also married to a US citizen, and he is also one of my problem cause we don’t have any communication anymore, pls help what shall i do…i wanted to go back so i can take care of my mom who is getting older and my son who is always getting sick…please what shall i do…?

  3. good day, I’m just curious though if there’s any dedicated areas wherein visa applicants’ dependents who are up for their respective interviews who happen to have disabilities (such as autism) can wait or proceed to? who should we approach whenst we get there? although our interview sched hasn’t come up yet, i’d like to have a heads up on the matter. thanks much.

    • You may inform the U.S. Embassy staff at the gate if you need assistance in the application of your dependents. These staff members are easy to spot because they are wearing blue U.S. Embassy Manila shirts. At any time during your visit to the Embassy, you can approach any of the staff members for assistance with applicants who are disabled or have health problems. Elderly, pregnant, or minor child applicants are also given further assistance for their convenience upon request. Our Embassy staff is always available to assist and will try to promptly facilitate the processing of their nonimmigrant visa applications.

  4. I’ve been issued B1/B2 visa twice already last Oct 2002 which expired in 2003 and my second visa issued Nov 2004 and expired Nov 2006 with 2 years M entry. I plan to apply again, will I still undergo the same procedure? Will I be interviewed again? Thank you.

    • Yes, according to the current VRP requirements, you are not eligible for VRP. You will need to go through the interview process. Thanks!

  5. I had an interview for a visitor visa last August 24, 2011 together with my grandparents. Unluckily, I was denied but my grandparents were issued a 10 years multiple entry visa. During our interview the consulate just asked my age two times and more questions to my my grandfather. After all the questions the consulate said “I’m sorry, today you can’t get a visa”, and he congratulates my grandparents and give me a blue form with a check stating “you did not establish that you intended to stay temporarily in the US and you did not establish your social, family and economic ties outside the US”. It is so surprising that for my age I can’t get a visitor visa and he even bother to ask my purpose or how long will I stay there. My only purpose in going to the United States is to accompany my grandparents because they can’t travel all by themselves specially my grandfather who can’t walk freely because of his medical condition. The purpose of our travel is to attend the wedding of my aunt (their daughter) which unluckily they can’t book a flight because there will be no one to assist and accompany them with their travel.
    Can you please give some things that I need to do or prepare for my next interview so that I can be issued a visa. My grandparents wants to attend their daughter’s wedding. Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Thank you for your question. The consular officer is making a decision about an applicant’s social, family, and economic ties to the Philippines and outside of the Philippines. The officer is looking at a totality of circumstances including career, education, etc. If you decide to apply for a visa again, there is not a “right” answer that will get you the visa, but rather it depends upon your personal circumstances.

      • thanks for the reply…My only point is, he never questioned me about staying, carrier, interests, and even my purpose.
        By the way, is there a particular span of days or months before I can apply for another visa interview?

  6. I was denied during my first interview. Is there any particular span of days/ time before I can apply for another visa interview?
    Can my grandfather assist me in my interview.?He was a holder of multiple entry B1/B2 visa. He wants to talk with the consul about assistance. My grandparents needs assistance for their travel to the US.

    • There is no waiting period to reapply, it just depends upon the availability of interviews. Regarding your grandfather’s assistance, each applicant is evaluated on their own personal social, family, and economic ties.

  7. I plan to apply for a B2 visa together with my wife and 2 minor children. Will we be interviewed together as a family, or separately? Thanks

    • Your family will be interviewed together. To qualify for visas, you and your wife must be able to demonstrate sufficiently strong familial, social, professional and economic ties to Philippines that would compel return after a temporary stay in the United States. The visa eligibility of your minor children will be based upon your ties and overall situation.

      • Thanks for your reply. As to demonstrating ties, should these “ties” cover us individually, or as a family? I believe I can demonstrate my ties as I have been working in the same company for 18 years, holding a relatively high position, that I would not want to abandon. However, my spouse is a housewife and the only physical ties I can think of that she can establish is our residential property (the title is in both our names as spouses). She doesn’t work as her primary role is to attend to our children. Would this be another basis for establishing ties?

  8. good day. i just received a call from one of your staff from the embassy that i need to be interviewed again. i was applying for a b1/b2 visa under the VRP, i went thru the process, and was fingerpinted and was advised to wait for my visa in 5 working days. after two working days, i received the call. isnt the interview supposed to be before fingerprinting. is this circumstance normal. i dont mind being interviewed but im just curious coz the caller didnt even identified herself

    • Hi Francis. Visa applicants who applied through VRP will know if they need to be interviewed after two business days of the VRP appointment. In your case, it appears that you need to come to the Embassy any Tuesday or Friday, at 1:30 p.m. for an interview with a consular officer.

  9. Hi! I did the online visa application but the confirmation said that the photo i submitted got archived and I must submit a new one during the interview. Do I have to start a new application and upload a photo or will this suffice? Thank you.

    • Hi Erika. It is best that you upload a photo to your DS-160 application. Information on how to upload the photo to the DS-160 is provided here. Thank you.

  10. Goodmorning..I am pilipina and my finacee is a Us Citizen.We already applied for k1 visa.And were just waiting now for visa to approved.My fiancee confused,what if we hire interpreter for my k1 interview?because am not fluent in english..So does Us Embassy allow me with pilipino interpreter.Or Us Embassy has interpreter for those applicants that not fluent in english?Thank you

    • The Embassy has local employees available to act as interpreters in Tagalog and other major dialects. You may request for an interpreter during the visa interview.

      • Thank you so much for the responsed.I want to ask again if what nonimmigrant forms do i need for my k1 visa interview?do i need ds156,ds 156k?and what other forms?hope for ur response.thank you

        • Thank you for your interest in VISAtisfied Voyager.

          We suggest you to check all interview preparation instructions for K1/K2 visa applicants located on the Embassy’s website at http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3238.html. The instructions contained on the website, provided in English and Tagalog, will provide you with the required documentation and procedures to follow prior to the interview date.

          The applicants should compile all the required documents and complete the medical examination before the interview date. Please note that the medical examination may take more than one day to complete.

  11. Good morning…I am a Filipina planning to get US Tourist Visa. I want to visit my friend in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. May i know what are the requirement to get US Tourist Visa. Thank you…

  12. Goodmorning Maam/Sir:
    Ask ko po sana kung magiging problema ba yung emplyment record ko sa aking k1 visa interview?kasi sa I-129f ang nailagay ko dun sa employment ay 2007-2010.pero nagtrabho po ako nung 2007 at natapos and contract nung 2008.Sa DS form po hinihingi po nila ang employment ko last ten years.Ano po kaya ang mabuti?pwede ko po ba ilagay yung kung ano ang isinulat ko sa 1-29f?Oh ichecheck po ba nila ang emplyment record ko online or yung sss ko?tahkx po.hope for ur response.

    • Visa applications are adjudicated based on the eligibility of the applicant for the visa category being sought. Although you are applying for a fiancee (K1) nonimmigrant visa, we advise you to be honest and truthful in answering each item on the required documentation, including those pertaining to your employment history.

  13. My Mom was denied twice for a visitor’s visa in the USA for the reason that she doesn’t have a strong ties to the Philippines because she no longer have children living in the Philippines.(all of her children are in the US and Australia). She wanted to apply again for a visitor’s visa. Are there some tips you can give so that she can prove that she has strong ties to the Philippines? She brought with her some documents to show her financial status and her properties which she was not asked. Please advise!

    • Maria, unfortunately we cannot give you any tips for your mother’s interview. The consular officer will use the interview and the application to determine if your mother’s ties to the Philippines are sufficiently strong for her to qualify for a tourist visa. In general, the officer will not need to review any supporting documentation to reach a decision.

  14. I have a question about the G-325A: Applicant’s employment last five years because we had a typo error of the date of my job and we didn’t noticed the typo error in the G-325A: Biographic Information. Now we are already got the NOA2- Approved from USCIS without RFE and we are waiting the appointment letter/packet from USEM, what do i do now?

    Thank you for the advice and help

    • Thank you for your interest in the VISAtisfied Voyager.

      Written inquiries, changes of address or with other personal circumstances of the applicant/petitioner should be sent and reported to NVC at 31 Rochester Ave., Suite 200, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2915 (Attn: WC). Forms, documents, and photographs should be sent to: 31 Rochester Ave. Suite 100, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2914 (Attn: CMR). Public inquiries can also be sent by email at NVCInquiry@state.gov. NVC’s telephone number is (603) 334-0700.

    • Thank you for posting a comment on VISAtisfied Voyager, U.S. Embassy Manila’s visa blog.

      Your petitioner is welcome to accompany you on your visa interview should he wishes to do so. However, if he is unable to be with you during the interview, your petitioner can be assured that his absence, in and of itself, will not affect your case. The majority of our visa applicants successfully undergo the interview without their petitioners present.

    • Dan, yes, you can apply for a nonimmigrant visa 2 months before your planned trip. We recommend applying for your visa as early as possible.

  15. I got my NBI last january 2012,and it is valid for 1 year.Can i still use my nbi in my k1 interview this coming october 5 2012?or i need to get new one?thank you

    • Fiancé(e) visa applicants are required to update documents such as Philippine (NBI) police clearances that have a validity of one year from the date of issuance.

  16. A blessed day! My mom was diagnosed with cancer, I am a mom of two toddlers and studying. I would like my sister of mine who is in the Philippines to help me take care of my mom once she gets out of the hospital for a short time because she is also enrolled in a school in Manila and she’s the one taking care of my husband’s and my mom’s assets in the Philippines. Do you think this will be possible? She’s 24 yrs old, not married but has a live-in partner and she’s also under F2B petition. Also, how soon can she get an interview? A social worker here can get a doctor’s letter about my mom’s condition. What else do we need for the interview. Thank you very kindly.

    • Ana, we are sorry to hear about your mother’s condition.

      Your sister will need to apply for a visa. We cannot give you any sort of guarantee about whether she will receive the visa. A consular officer will make a determination at the time of her interview. Please see our website for application instructions: http://manila.usembassy.gov/niv-application.html

    • Thank you for your interest in the VISAtisfied Voyager.
      You may call the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Unit at (632) 301-2000 ext. 5184/5185 regarding your concerns. You may also send an email to IVMAnilaReplies@state.gov with your name and case number clearly indicated.

  17. Goodafternoon Usem.I am a K1 aplicant and have interview on october5,2012.My fiancee just sent me his ITR2011.and W2 2011,with the bnk stetement ,emplyment letter and paystub..Do i still need my fiancee 2009 and 2010 ITR?or ITR2011 is enough?hope to hear from u soon..thank you.

    • Thank you for your interest in the VISAtisfied Voyager.

      Fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens (K1) are required to submit the I-134 Affidavit of Support together with a copy of the petitioner’s most recent Federal income tax return (Form 1040). You may opt to bring with you your petitioner’s 2009 and 2010 ITR during your visa interview. The consular officer determines if any additional or updated documents are necessary as the application is processed.

  18. hi im married with 3 kids the eldest of which is a 6year old son diagnosed with autism, we have travelled to hongkong, singapore with him now we want to visit disneyland in florida because my son loves disneyland a lot. my problem is this, we cant bring electronic gadgets inside like ipad, iphone, the problem is that if my son goes into tantrums it may be a cause for the denial of the whole family, plus its me and my hubby to look after 3kids 6y, 4y, 1.5y, plus help me thanks a lot

    • Deanne, for the safety and security of all applicants and employees, visa applicants are not permitted to bring any kind of electronic and battery-operated devices (cellular phone, digital camera, laptop, music player, portable game consoles such as PSP, etc.) into the U.S. Embassy. Applicants who bring such devices will be denied entry. Our Embassy personnel will be available to assist your family upon request. You should only inform the Embassy personnel at the gate should you need assistance.

  19. Hihello po any advise moabout my case.. Na interview po ako Nung dec.7,2012 sabi po ng CO approve visa Ko then sinabahan Nya po na wait to called my name for the instruction then after nun may binigay sakin na white paper,may check ung box na wait the call from us…tapos AP/AR… It is a good sign or bad sign at gaano po Ko katagal mag aantay… Please po reply for any advice..salamat po..

  20. Hi! My mom wants to visit us here in the US so she can see her grandchildren. She wants to apply for a US visa but she doesn’t know how to speak English. You mentioned about interpreters available. How does that work and what is the process of availing to it during the interview?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Yen, your mother should inform the interviewing officer at the start of the interview that she needs an interpreter. The Embassy can provide language assistance when an applicant requests for it. Rest assured that our Embassy personnel will be available to provide assistance at each stage. Thank you.

      • Hi, After i had my interview last March 25, 2013, I just realized I forgot to submit my NIV Shipping Information form to the pre screener, I dont know how will my passport be delivered to my address since they dont have my delivery address and even my contacts..I dont think I can still go to the Us embassy to submit my NIV shipping information form bacause i already had my appointment.. I also checked my visa status online, and it showed my visa had been issued. My only voncern now is how will I know or when my passport will be delivered? pls, do help me with my inquiry.. thanks in advance…..chona

        • Chona, you can call the NIV helpline. (02) 301-2104 to inquire about the delivery of your visa. The helpline is open from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, Manila time. Thank you.

  21. I applied for tourist visa aug 2009 but denied for d reason of insuffcient economic ties. They put a note, bring the proof of permanent residence in canada. (221g) . Now we have proof of PR which I got last dec 2012. I applied a new application With payment. My question is do I need to get an appointment or just bring the suspension letter given to me last aug 2009? Thank you and hope for your early reply.

  22. hello!
    i had my interview for an immigrant visa this week but they said i need to submit one more document thru 2GO. if i will be able to mail the document next week, when do you think will i receive my visa? or what is the time frame for that?

    • Hi Che. Reading your concern, we can say that your case is under administrative pending. We cannot give you a time frame but you may check your status online. Just click this and input the necessary information VISA STATUS CHECK.

    • Thank you for your interest in the VISAtisfied Voyager.

      The time required to process a visa application varies from case to case depending on the complexity of the case itself and the number and complexity of other cases awaiting review. We are simply unable to predict if or when an applicant would qualify for visa issuance.

  23. Hi there. I’ll be graduating next year and i’m planning to get married to my fiance of 2 years after my graduation. I would like to bring him to the U.S so we could start our family there. I have been in the Philippines for the past 6 years because of school. I was just wondering if I apply for the spouse visa would it cost us the chance of getting approved due to the fact that I will not be able to show any financial stability or could we be backed up by my parents or any other sponsors? Thank you for the time.

    • Thank you for posting a comment on VISAtisfied Voyager, U.S. Embassy Manila’s visa blog.

      Before your fiance or spouse can apply for a visa, a petition must first be filed on his behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office which has jurisdiction over the petitioner’s residence.

      If you plan to marry in the U.S., a fiancee (I-129F) visa petition must be filed on his behalf. On the other hand, if you are getting married in the Philippines, a spouse (I-130) visa petition must be filed after you are married.

      Additional information regarding visa petitions may be obtained from the following websites:
      (1) http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
      (2) http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1315.html
      (3) http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3204.html

      The USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) may also be contacted at 1-800-375-5283 (toll-free for callers in the U.S.) regarding this matter.

      If you will petition for him as a spouse, you, as the petitioner, is legally required to file an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864). If your income is not sufficient to meet financial support guidelines, you may provide the same set of documents from a secondary sponsor who is also a U.S. citizen or legal permanent U.S. resident and domiciled in the United States. Although other people may assume joint legal responsibility with the petitioner as co-sponsors of the intending immigrant, an Affidavit of Support from the petitioner must still be submitted on behalf of the applicant.

      To ensure that intending immigrants are not likely to become public charges, petitioners should be able to demonstrate their ability to maintain an income at or above the prescribed Federal poverty guidelines for their prospective household sizes.

      For detailed information about the Affidavit of Support requirement and financial sponsorship guidelines, you may visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis. You may also wish to contact USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) toll-free at 1-800-375-5283 regarding this matter.

  24. hello…
    i attended my visa interview today(1-7-2013). I was issued 221 g form but my passport was not taken by the VO.What does this mean.??Am i rejected..???

    • Hi Shri. If you received a 221(g) letter, it means the consular officer did not have all of the information required to determine if you are eligible to receive a visa. Please read the 221(g) letter carefully to know if your visa application requires further administrative processing, or if you were asked to submit additional supporting document/s or requested additional information. Processing time can vary based on individual circumstances. The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit will contact you as soon as the administrative processing is completed.
      You can also check your case status online. To know more please read our blog post Received a 221(g) Letter? Go Online to Check your Case Status.

  25. Hello.
    I am in the process of renewing my US visa and I’m scheduled for an interview this month. When I was filling out my DS160 form, it said that the photo I uploaded wasn’t valid. It still let me finish the application so I planned to just return and re-upload the photo later on. However, I got the confirmation in the end and there was no way to upload a photo anymore. There was just a message telling me that I should just bring a valid 2×2 photo when I show up for my interview. Is that ok or did I encounter a glitch in the online application that may give me problems during my interview?

    • Joel, information on how to successfully upload a photo to the DS-160 is provided at the DS-160 Frequently Asked Questions website. Please note that applicants are required to upload their photo to their DS-160 application.You should also bring one 2”x2” standard photo to your interview. Should you be unable to upload a photo to your DS-160, the Embassy staff will upload your photo to your DS-160 when you come to the Embassy for your interview.

  26. My fiancee got her interview last july 18 for K1 visa, everything went well they told her her visa is approved. They didn’t give her anything else. But until now her visa has not release. I check the CEAC websites.
    Your case is under administrative processing. Please see the letter you received at your interview for more information. If you are required to submit additional documents, please submit them to the U.S. Embassy via any branch of 2GO courier service (Attn: Immigrant Visa Unit) together with a copy of the letter.
    Please help!!

    • Thank you for your interest in the VISAtisfied Voyager. For specific information regarding your fiancee’s visa case, please send an email to IVManilaReplies@state.gov with the applicant’s complete name, date and place of birth, and the 10-digit visa case number clearly indicated.

  27. hi there!
    my mother who is a US immigrant had her vacation last november 2013 here i the philippines. last december she had to go for a mamography as she felt a mass in her breast. she had her appoinment with a doctor and after her biopsy she was diagnosed of breast cancer. shes on chemotherapy now. she is due to return alone to the US this may 2014. my question is it possible for me to accompany her on her trip to US? what type of visa if possible? thanks for the reply…

    • Hi Jonathan. You can apply for a nonimmigrant visitor visa if you only intend to accompany your mother to her trip to the U.S. To apply for the visitor visa, please comply with the requirements provided at the Nonimmigrant Visas website. Your eligibility for the visa will be determined at the time of your interview with a consular officer. To qualify for the visa, you should be able to demonstrate sufficiently strong familial, social, professional and economic ties to a country outside the United States that would compel departure after your temporary stay in the United States.Thank you.

  28. Can the same consular officer interview you twice, or can I draw her attention to the fact that she has already interviewed me the last time I came?
    Is that lawful??

    • Hi MJ, if an applicant was denied and would reapply, a different consular officer would interview the applicant. However, please be aware that all consular officers must make their decisions based on the same U.S. immigration law. Rest assured that all visa applications are given full consideration at the time of the interview. Thank you.

  29. The USCIS approved my I 129 fiancé visa. USCIS forwarded my papers to national visa center and I received a letter from them. The last letter that I received was from US embassy Philippines stating that I have to make an appointment for the interview and pay the visa fee. Attached to the same letter was USCIS form it was hand written that the TECS – petitioner admitted that she was paid by beneficiary. I asked my fiancé she received any calls, letter or anything from USCIS and she said no. Can you explain this. How come I was approved from my I129 fiancé .what is that mean? What is the best thing to do ? I need help!

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