Your guide on how to apply for US Visa for Filipinos, the requirements you need to prepare, Visa Fees, and the 4 steps application process. The steps you will read here are only based on our experience.
We are Filipino family with 2 adults and a 12-year-old child. All of us are Philippine passport holders and have long term visit pass for Singapore. We also lodge our application here in Singapore. We are fortunate that our US tourist visa application was granted with 10-year validity. Our passport was delivered to our house by the accredited courier 2 working days after the interview at the US embassy.
The aim of this post is to help other Filipinos especially first-timers like you to have an idea of how to process your US tourist visa without much worries. What you are going to read here was based only on our experience. The situation maybe different in your case, but I am pretty sure this post will cover the basics of the application.
The process is overwhelming when you think of it as a whole. The reason is you are not familiar on how to process your US tourist visa application. I would suggest that you look at it one step at a time. For example, focus first on step number 1 which is how to pay the application fee. Do not move to the next step until you complete step 1.
Recommended browser for the application is Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher. Based on our experience, Filipinos only need to do 4 Easy Steps to complete their US tourist Visa application.
How to Apply for US Visa for Philippine Passport Holders in 4 Quick Steps
Step 1: How to Pay the US VISA Application Fee
This can be done through SAM kiosk and in any Singpost outlets. It can be paid by Cash or Nets. After you paid the fee you need to keep the receipt as it will be attached to your DS-160 confirmation page.
In our case, we chose to pay by cash our application fee via Singpost outlet. If you will be paying for a group, you need to request the cashier to generate a separate receipt for each applicant. The reason is that each applicant needs to have their own receipt attached to the respective DS-160 confirmation page.
Application fee for Business / Tourist (VISA Type B) is USD160 which is equivalent to SGD216 or 8500 Philippine pesos or depending on the exchange rate at the time you processed your payment. Keep in mind that your payment is non-refundable and non-transferable.
The good side though, the receipt is valid for one year from your date of payment. You need to schedule your interview within the validity date of your receipt. Otherwise, you need to make new payment before you can schedule your interview.
Print the US VISA deposit slip which can be found here http://www.ustraveldocs.com/
Bring it to any Singpost Office for payment. Make sure to have it paid before the expiration date. Otherwise, you need to print a fresh copy of the deposit slip.
After payment at Singpost, you need to wait until 10AM of the next day before you can schedule an appointment for an interview. If you make a schedule immediately after your payment this message will show up in the US VISA website:
“No valid record can be found for the entered receipt number. Please validate that your receipt number is correct and that you have paid the correct amount for the visa which you are applying for.”
This happened to me that is why I know about it. The reason this happens is that there is a processing/activation timeline for your receipt. So, you need to wait until your receipt gets activated.
Step 2: Fill up the DS-160 form Online
If you will be applying for US non-immigrant or tourist visa you need to fill out this form. If you are applying as a group or family, each member must fill out a separate DS-160 form.
Before filling out the actual form online. You need to prepare the following documents where you will get your personal information:
- Philippine Passport for your personal details
- Travel itinerary as there will be questions about your planned arrival and departure date to United States of America
- Dates of your last five visits or trips to the US if there is any. This document is not applicable for first time US tourist visa applicants.
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae as there are questions about your educational attainment and employment details
- Other information such as the list of countries you visited in the last five years because there is also question about it in the form
- Your scanned photo that passed the US VISA requirements because you need to upload your own photo in your DS-160 application. You can go to a photo lab near your location to have your photo taken based on the visa photo requirement.
If you have all the listed documents prepared then start filling out the DS-160 form.
Sample of confirmation page:
Assuming you have completed filling out the form, this will be the image of your confirmation page. Now, attached to it your visa application payment receipt so the latter will not be misplaced. If you are in a group or family, each of member must have their own confirmation page which have to bring during the day of the interview.
Step 3: Process Visa Appointment Schedule for Interview
This step will teach you how to schedule your interview appointment. But before that, you need to prepare the following documents:
- Your Philippine passport and passports of your group / family members
- Confirmation page of your Online Non-immigrant Visa Application (DS-160) and of your group / family members
- Your US Visa application payment receipts for the reference number. See the image below:
Login to your account by supplying your email and password to https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/
Once logged-in go to the New Application / Schedule Appointment link. Supply the needed information such as your DS-160 confirmation number and payment receipt number of each applicant in the group / family.
You also need to indicate if you choose to self pick up your passport at the US Embassy, or have it delivered in your supplied home address.
In our case, we choose to have our passports delivered in our home address. There is no extra charge for passport delivery.
This will be the image after you successfully scheduled your interview appointment (sample image only):
Forward the appointment confirmation to your email account and have it printed. Make sure that you printed a copy that has the barcode.
Rescheduling your appointment is also easy. All you need to do is log in again to your account and go to the “Reschedule Appointment” tab. Follow the steps and that’s it.
Step 4: Requirements to Bring at Interview Day in the US Embassy
Before going to the US Embassy, you need to bring the following requirements:
- Philippine passport
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Interview appointment letter
- Old Philippine passport
- Payment receipt
- One recent photo with white background that passed the US visa photo requirements
- If applying for a dependent visa, you also need to bring the Principal Applicant’s copy of approved visa, supporting documents and proof of relationship to the Principal Applicant
- Valid documents include Marriage certificate, or Birth certificate
Bring other Supporting Documents
Aside from the mentioned main documents, you can also bring any supporting documents which you think will help during the interview.
In our case we brought copy of our bank statement, employment certificate, employment contract, a letter from school of my child confirming that she / he is a student of the said school. Travel itinerary in case the consul ask about it. We also bring copy of our Australian tourist visa grant.
US Visa Interview Dress Code
There is no dress code but at least be presentable. Wear a neatly ironed clothes / dress. The reason is during the interview, you will face a consul that will decide whether to grant you a US tourist visa or not.
Tips and Reminders during the Interview Day
Arrive at the Embassy 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. You need to queue outside of the embassy together with other applicants before you get to enter the building. Do not bring Laptop, IPAD, or any large electronic device because you cannot bring it inside the US Embassy. You also need to deposit your cellphone, and camera at the guardhouse because the embassy does not allow applicants to take photos while inside their vicinity.
US Visa Application Photo Requirements
The photo that you will upload on your D-160 application form online must meet certain requirement indicated by the US consulate. Uploading a photo that do not meet the requirements can cause delay on your visa application.
The reason is you will need to bring and submit new photo to continue with your visa processing which could take time. It would be better to have your photo taken by a professional from photography studio so the size and other requirements are met. This will inquire an extra cost on your side, but it will surely save you time and effort.
- US visa photo size is 2 x 2 inches (5.08 cm x 5.08 cm)
- You should face directly towards the camera
- Head should be centered in the frame
- Make sure that your eyes are open in the photo
- Look natural and relax
- Background is either white or off-white
- No shadows
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Did you only Receive One Appointment Confirmation for Everyone in the US Visa Group Application?
Yes, I only received one appointment confirmation. For example, you are composed of 3 persons in the US Visa group application. Apparently, you will only receive one appointment confirmation letter for the group. The ‘Applicant Details’ will only show the name of main applicant. However, under the ‘Number of Applicants’ will reflect 3 persons.
The ‘MRV Fee Payments’ reflects the complete names of each applicant with their respective MRV receipts and DS-160 confirmation number (barcodes).
That’s All! I hope this post helps you process your US Tourist Visa with your Philippine Passport easily and smoothly. I hope that your visa will also be granted with 10-year validity just like what happened to us.
Countries you can visit with your US Visa for Filipinos
US passport is at number 8 spot in the global ranking according to Henley Passport Index as of this year 2020. The passport is considered to be powerful as US citizens can access 180 plus countries without the need to apply for a visa. This includes Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, countries in Europe like Switzerland, Austria, France, and Denmark.
The US passport is powerful and so the does their US visa grant document. The reason is there are countries that will waive their visa requirement for those who have a valid US visa.
If you are a Philippine passport holder and have a valid US visa, you can access these countries and stay there for a certain number of days without the need for visa.
Filipinos who have a valid US visa can visit Georgian border for 90 days (3 months) in any 180-day period. They only need to present a valid visa or residence permit along with their valid Philippine passport. More info here: https://www.evisa.gov.ge/GeoVisa/en/VisaApp
Filipinos can stay for up to 180 days in Mexico for tourism, business, or transit purposes without the need to apply for Mexico visa provided they have a valid USA visa. Details here: https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/singapur/index.php/consular-services/186-not-visa
Normally, holders of ordinary-type Philippine passports are required to apply for a visa to enter the borders of Turkey. However, if you have a valid US Visa, you can get your 30-day single-entry e-visa at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/ provided you meet certain prerequisite.
Make sure that you have met the prerequisites before you proceed with your application. Otherwise, your e-visa will be invalid. source: www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa
Citizens of the Philippines can qualify for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) if they can provide a valid US visa. They can stay in Qatar for not more than 30 days. Details here: https://qatar.vfsevisa.com/Qatar-Online/QROnline/VisaCategoryAndPricingDetails/DisplayVisaCategoryAndPricingDetails/#no-back
Note: Images are from their respective owners