“Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa” video

Weren’t able to go to America in 3D last March 1 and 2 at SM Mall of Asia?  If so, you missed the premiere of our exciting new video which explains how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa.

 However, there’s still good news! Even if you missed the premiere, you can still watch it! Just click the video below.

In the video, consular officers describe the four easy steps required to complete a nonimmigrant visa application and the step-by-step interview process. It also highlights the importance of the interview when determining an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.

For more videos, please check the U.S. Embassy Manila YouTube channel

For more information, please check our blog posts:

Tips for Your Next Embassy Visit (NIV)
NIV Interviews: Step-by-Step Process (NIV)
New Nonimmigrant Visa Fees and Bank Payment Process

Consular Corner at America in 3D 2014

A3D banner 

Yes! The long wait is over. Next stop… SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City!

This March 1 & 2, 2014 you are invited to join the U.S. Embassy and be a part of America in 3D: A Roadshow in Diplomacy, Development, and Defense at SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

Every year, The U.S. Embassy invites the public for free food samplings, cooking demonstrations, musical performances, dance clinics, car shows, information sessions about U.S. services such as visas, and so much more.

Attending mall-goers and shoppers will have the chance to personally meet representatives from the Visa Section and various other U.S. Embassy sections and agencies. In addition to its booth which will regularly feature representatives from the Visa Unit for walk-in chats, the Consular Section will have live presentations about visas (Consular Corner: The Visa Process Demystified/Visa Hour) and the official video premiere of “Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa”!

If you can’t make it to the mall, the Consular Corner: The Visa Process Demystified/Visa Hour episode will also be livestreamed! So don’t forget to tune in LIVE via the U.S. Embassy Manila YouTube channelVisa Hour on March 1 (Saturday) at 5:15PM – 6:15PM and March 2 (Sunday) at 12:00Noon-1:00PM (Philippine time). The Visa Hour is an online broadcast/event exclusively brought to you by U.S. Embassy Manila.

For the full schedule of America in 3D, visit http://www.americain3d.net/2014/02/full-schedule.html

For more information, visit the official blog for America in 3D –  www.AmericaIn3D.net

See you March 1 and 2, 2014 at A3D SM Mall of Asia!

Coming with Children Applicants

Planning to bring your kids to the US for a temporary visit to see their lolo and lola? Or perhaps to see Disneyland or one of America’s other great theme parks for kids?

If yes, here a few simple reminders to take note of when you come for the visa appointment with your kids:

1. The waiting time can sometimes be several hours, depending on the volume of applicants for that day. Given this lengthy period,  children may become impatient and bored. Therefore,  it is a good idea to bring items that may help pacify their restlessness:

          * small toys (no sharp points, no loud or alarming sounds, no electronics)

          * books

          * food

Parents can bring small toys and books to keep their children entertained.

Parents can bring small toys and books to keep their children entertained.

2. For applicants below 18 years old, at least one parent should be present. Read more about this on “Who Can Come With You on Your Visa Appointment”

3. If your child is not applying for a visa, please do not bring him/her with you, since the Embassy does not allow access to non-applicants.

4. We all love happy and active children, but it is the responsibility of parents, to always keep track of their kids in the waiting room and ensure they are not interfering with other applicants. We will do our best to speed the process along for those applicants with very young children. 

Let us know if you have concerns, feedbacks and/or suggestions with regards to this topic and feel free to post it in our comment box below.

Read also our previous posts: $how Money, Entering the United States

$how Money

I am an U.S. Citizen and my girlfriend is applying for a tourist visa. She asked me to deposit $5,000 to her bank account as requirement for her visa application. Is this amount sufficient for her to qualify for a tourist visa?

I am applying for a visitor visa. I have recently deposited P100,000 to my bank account to show I have adequate funds for my travel. Is this amount sufficient as show money to qualify for the visa?  If not, how much money should I have in my bank account to prove that I have strong financial ties?

These are common questions regarding the financial requirements for in applying for a U.S. visa. Please be aware that “show money” is not a requirement for nonimmigrant visa applicants. In fact, bank statements are only occasionally requested by the consular officer and often not requested at all.

“Show money” is usually described as funds deposited into an applicant’s bank account just prior to a visa interview. Such deposits are generally not helpful to applicants since it creates the appearance that an applicant’s financial situation is being represented as better than it actually is. This can often times even have a negative impact as it can make an applicant appear not entirely honest. Applicants should only present their current and actual financial situation when they apply for the visa. Honesty is always the best policy.

To qualify for the visa, the consular officer needs to see that the applicant has strong ties to his or her home country. Ties are the various aspects of one’s life that bind an applicant to their place of residence, including (but not limited to) family relationships, employment, and properties. Information on how applicants can demonstrate their ties is provided at the Nonimmigrant Visa website.

Let us know if you have concerns and questions with regard to this topic. Feel free to post your comment below.

Entering the United States


 Congratulations, you have a visa!


Now, here’s how to use it! 

 Visitors to America officially come to the US through ports of Entry.  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection(CBP) officers work at ports of entry.  Their job is to clear travelers, collect duties, accept merchandise, and enforce U.S. laws and regulations.

 Having a U.S. visa allows you to apply for entry to the United States.  Please note that a visa does not guarantee your entry to the U.S.  When you arrive at the port of entry, you will first speak to the Customs and Border Protection officer.  The officer will determine if you can enter and the length of your stay.

 You cannot use the visa expiration date as the length of time you can stay in the U.S.

Under a new process that was fully implemented in May 2013, the Customs and Border Patrol officer will provide an admission stamp on the passport that records either an admitted-until date or D/S (duration of status).  This notation is the official record of your authorized length of stay. 


For more information about entering the United States, you may check our previous blog posts:

Destination – Tucson, Arizona

Hi, my name is…


I’m from…

Tucson, AZ

My hometown is known for…

The Bone Yard and Saguaro cactus. The Bone Yard is where thousands of aircraft are stored for reuse, recycling or destruction. Tucson was purposely selected as its dry climate as it helps protect the aircraft from rust and other destructive forces. Many historic aircraft have been sent here and then refurbished and placed in museums around the world.

Tucson and its surrounding areas are the only places in the U.S. to see wild Saguaro Cactus.  As such, the cactus is protected by a state law, which forbids people from cutting down a Saguaro cactus.  The Saguaro cactus can grow up to 70 feet tall and have long life spans and it can take up to 75 years for a cactus to grow and arm.  The cactus also produces delicious fruit and beautiful flowers, which is also the state flower.

My favorite thing about my hometown is…

The nice winter weather and wide open spaces.

If you came to visit me, I’d take you…

To see historic downtown Tucson and its great restaurants.  While not as old as Manila, Tucson was founded in 1775 when the Spanish founded and built a presidio in what is now downtown Tucson.  Some of the original walls still exist, as do many of the foundations of the buildings.  Today, downtown Tucson is home to many great coffee shops, restaurants and bars all within walking distance.  Evening is the best time to go out as once the sunsets the city gets very cool and comfortable.

I would take you to El Charro, which claims to have invented the Chimichanga! The Chimichanga is a deep fried burrito and incredibly delicious with cheese and sour cream on top.

Things you have to try before you leave…

Visit Old Tucson Studios and the Desert Museum!  Old Tucson Studios is an old film studio open to the public.  Many famous westerns were filmed there and now you can see a live recreated Wild West gunfight with great stunts.  The Desert Museum is next door and features only plants and animals who live in the surrounding desert.  Come and see a Javalina, Coyote and a Roadrunner!

Consular Services Rescheduling (Aug 19-22 appointments)

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant and Fiance(e) Visa applicants whose appointment on Monday, August 19, 2013 was canceled may come to the Embassy on Friday, August 23, 2013 for the visa interview.

Applicants with appointments on Tuesday, August 20 or Thursday, August 22 can reschedule their visa interview between Monday, August 26 and Wednesday, August 28 by calling 02-982-5555 or 02-902-8930.

If you are unable to reschedule your appointment and/or arrive at the U.S. Embassy on any of the above dates, please contact our visa information service at 02-982-5555 or 02-902-8930 to schedule an appointment for a date that matches your availability.

Non Immigrant Visas

The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit will open for regular business on Friday, August 23, 2013.  All applications will be processed as scheduled.

Applicants who were affected by the inclement weather condition on August 20 and August 22 will be rescheduled next week.  Please wait for a call from the Visa Information Center for your new appointment.  If you have not received a call by Tuesday, August 27, please contact (02) 982-5555 and (02) 902-8930 to determine your new appointment schedule.

Please visit http://manila.usembassy.gov/nonimmigrant-visa.html for more information.

American Citizen Services

Applicants who had appointments on Monday, August 19, Tuesday, August 20, or Thursday, August 22, can reschedule an appointment between  Monday, August 26, and Friday, August 30, by calling the following numbers between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.:  02-301-2555 (passports), 02-301-2532 (consular reports of birth) or 02-301-2246 (notarial service).  If you would like to rebook an appointment after August 30, please use our on-line system (www.usembassy.manila.gov).


Who Can Come With You on Your Visa Appointment?

All U.S. nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants are required to personally appear at the Embassy on their appointment date. If you are wondering who could come with a visa applicant to the Embassy, please read through the following reminders:

1. If you are not a visa applicant or if you are a U.S. citizen, you will not be allowed within the visa interview area unless:

  • You are a parent accompanying a minor visa applicant (17 years old and below) or an adult with special needs or disability.
  • You are the spouse or the adult son/daughter of an elderly applicant who is 80 years old and above.
  • You are the employer of a domestic employee applicant and you have with you your passport with U.S. visa, or your U.S. passport (for U.S. citizens). For more details, you may also read the Embassy website about the requirements in a B1 Domestic Employee visa application.
  • For specific circumstances, such as accompanying an ill applicant, a child under custody and the like, we may allow non-applicants but this is subject to the approval of the NIV management.

2. If you are a parent of a minor American citizen, it is not necessary to bring the child with you on the day of the interview.

3. There is no need to bring an interpreter.  The Embassy staff is available to interpret for you in different local dialects and languages.

We all like travelling with company, but for your visa interview, there is really no need to bring other family members and friends with you.

Let us know if you have concerns, feedback and questions with regard to this topic. Feel free to post on our comment box below.

I Received the Blue Letter. When Can I Reapply?

If you received the blue letter from the consular officer after your interview, this means your application was refused under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). You were unable to sufficiently demonstrate to the consular officer that you qualify for the nonimmigrant visa category you applied for, or you did not overcome the presumption of immigrant intent by sufficiently demonstrating that you have strong ties to your home country that will compel you to depart the United States at the end of your temporary visit. Ties are various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence, like your profession, financial situation, employment, social and family relationships, and properties.

Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers. They have the final say on visa cases. If the consular officer determines that you are not qualified for a nonimmigrant visa under Section 214 (b) of the INA, the decision cannot be appealed. However, if you believe that you do qualify for the nonimmigrant visa, you may apply again at any time.

When you reapply, you should be prepared to provide information that was not presented during your original application or be able to present evidence of significant changes in your circumstances since your last application. If your situation has not changed since your previous application, most likely the decision will be the same.

To reapply, you must complete a new DS-160 application, pay a new application fee, and schedule an appointment for a new interview. You will be interviewed by a different consular officer. Remember that even if you will be speaking to a different consul, all officers must make their decisions based on the same U.S. immigration law.

Did you receive a blue letter and have questions before you reapply? Ask us below!

Destination – Indianapolis, Indiana

Hi, my name is…


I’m from…

Indianapolis, IN

My hometown is known for…

the Indianapolis 500, which is a 500-mile open wheel car race that takes place each year in May. The drivers regularly compete at speeds of over 250 mph.  The track is 2.5 miles in circumference. The racetrack is so big it has a golf course in the middle, as well as a museum. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway seats more than 250,000 spectators for the race.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More than 250,000 fans go to the Indianapolis capital on Memorial Day weekend at the end of May to watch the famous Indy 500 race competition. (Photo credit: discoveramerica.com)

My favorite thing about my hometown is…

seeing live sporting events with my friends. Sports are a very important part of Indianapolis. We have the Indianapolis Colts NFL team, which won the Super Bowl in 2006. In addition, we have the NBA team Indiana Pacers (named after the pace car from the Indy 500), the Indiana Ice hockey team and others.  Tickets to games are not very expensive, and it is always fun to go to a game and then go with friends to have a late dinner or a few drinks.

If you came to visit me, I’d take you…

walking on the Monon Trail. Indianapolis has a walking trail that goes across the entire city.  Not only is it a peaceful trail used for exercise, but there are art installations, cafes, city parks and historical locations to see along the way. You can rent a bicycle for a long ride, or rent a paddle boat to go on the canal.

We would also go to my favorite restaurant, Bazbeaux’s pizza, which is located along the trail, for a large Bayou Chicken pizza and a Blue Moon Beer (my two favorite treats).

Things you have to try before you leave…

Duck pin bowling (which is like regular bowling but miniature in size), a pork tenderloin sandwich, a ride on a tractor at a local farm and an ear of Indiana sweet corn straight off the grill!