Do’s and Don’ts in getting a US tourist visa

While waiting in line outside the US Embassy in Roxas Boulevard, Manila,  I have nothing to do but observe the people, applicants and their support groups, while they wait patiently but anxiously.

I know the emotions are high, a combination of excitement and nervousness.  Their fate and dreams lie atnthe hands of the US immigration consuls.  How the ofricers would perceive the applicants as worthy of a stamp, welcome to America.

I think it’s all about perception and luck.  Some people bring inches thick of documents to prove that they are financially capable of traveling.  Some have nothing to show.  Some dress up casually while others are in their Sunday dress.  Yung iba tigas na tigas parang magnininong sa kasal.

Here are some of my simple observations and  hopefully would be able to help those who are planning to get a visa:

  1. Do not befriend the security guards there.  Do not make sipsip. They are not the ones issuing the visas.  With due respect to the guards, they couldn’t help you.  So don’t bother them with questions they could not answer and informations about the consul they could not provide.
  2.  Do not show up looking like a pauper.  Wear simple but smart looking attire.  Long time ago it was a tradition to wear Americana for job and visa interviews.  Not anymore.  And it’s too hot outside the embassy.  Younare going to stand for hours along the side walk.   Smart casual is acceptable.  Simple, no loud prints for women, preferably plain colored polo shirt for men is advisable.   Although Americans are more tolerant of how people look and wear,  it’s safer if you don’t catch their attention the wrong way.
  3. Do not wear one kilo of jewelries to impress the consul.    It’s not proof that you will not illegally stay in the US.
  4. Arrive at least an hour before your scheduled interview.  Because of the unpredictable road and traffic conditions,  it’s better to allot ample time for travel.
  5. Do not act cute in front of the consul.  They are not stupid.
  6. Do not brag about how much money you have.  It could work against you for being pretentious.
  7. Do not brag about your business or businesses.  Mention only if they ask.  Most likely they won’t but if they do,  just answer truthfully and do not try to impress.
  8. The consuls ask questions that are seemingly innocent but they are deliberate.  They know what they are saying,  it’s their job to decipher and weed out the information presented to them.
  9. Do not bring one baul of land titles, condominium titles, isang dangkal na passbook.  I have never brought any of that before.
  10. If there is one pretention you have to make,  it is to appear relaxed even if you are nervous.

I’ve seen people crying, looking desolate, tulala, naglulupasay, lost, after they have been denied a US visa.  It’s heartbreaking and maybe these people feel like it’s the end of their world.  Nope,  The shock will be there for a few days but move forward.  There’s life after your visa application had been denied.   You can try again but be more prepared next time.  Think back what could have went wrong so next time you show up at the interview, you would be able to convince the consul that you will not stay in the US illegally.

Good luck.


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