Traveling to the US is on most people’s bucket list, and for good reason.
The United States is home to a slew of amazing travel destinations, from ultra hip cities like New York and Chicago to laid-back beach vibes in LA and Honolulu.
Safe to say, it’s a country that’s got a little something for everyone and you can be sure you’ll be coming home with a story or two.
If you’re a first time traveler, going on your first big trip can be nerve-wracking, especially to such a big and often intimidating country like the US.
That’s why preparation is key, especially with your US visa application.
To help you do just that, we’ve compiled a handy little guide for you to go through before setting off on your first solo trip to the States. From applying for your US visa to booking your flight to usa, we’ve got you covered.
The US requires Filipino citizens to apply for a visa before traveling to the country. So we’ve compiled a simple checklist for you to peruse to help you plan your trip.
- When to apply?
- At least three months before your intended travel date.
- What to apply for?
- The B-2 Visa is for recreational travel, which includes visits with friends or relatives, medical treatment, and activities of fraternal, social, or service nature. In order to be approved for a B-2 Visa, you must prove the following:
- That the purpose of your trip is a temporary visit, whether it’s for business, pleasure or medical treatment, is clear
- That you plan to stay in the US for a limited period of time only
- That you can cover your expenses while you’re in the US
- That you reside outside of the US and have other binding social and economic ties that you have to return to
- What you’ll need?
- A filled out Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Get it from the DS-160 webpage. In the form, you’ll be asked basic information such as your address, passport details, and more detailed personal information such as your itinerary, travel companions, previous trips to the US, as well as several pages of security-related questions
- A valid passport for travel to the US with at least six months validity
- One recent 2×2” photo
- The payment receipt for the $160 visa application processing fee, paid in the local currency. You can pay this online via the BPI or Bancnet website or at any BPI bank branch
- The interview appointment letter confirming you booked an appointment. You need to create a profile on the webpage before scheduling your appointment
How to Apply
- Pay the visa application fee
- Complete the DS-160 form
- Schedule your appointment: You’ll need your passport number, the MRV fee receipt number, and the 10-digit barcode from your DS-160 confirmation page to do so
- Visit the embassy on the date and time of your visa interview: Bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, the DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, as well as current and all old passports
- Provide complete supporting documents, such as:
- Proof of income, tax payments, property or business ownership, list of assets
- Travel itinerary
- Letter from your employer detailing your position and salary. If you’re a freelancer, you can ask any of your clients for this
- Criminal/court records, if any
As of June 2019, the US now requires applicants to provide their social media accounts as well as past email addresses and telephone numbers.
In the updated DS-160 Form, you can fill out this information in the fields provided.
What Not to Bring
When you go to the embassy, make sure you only bring the required documents. The US Embassy has strict rules about what not to bring:
- Mobile phone or any electronic device – Even though it might be tempting to bring your phone, after all, waiting times are usually long and smartphones can help ease the boredom. But resist that temptation, lest you be denied entry into the building.
- A large bag – Bring only a bag you can carry with one hand. Due to tight security, big bags could mean you’re bringing prohibited items.
- Food – Save the snacks for after your appointment.
- Sealed envelopes or packages – Another security hazard that could potentially spell trouble.
- Cigarettes or lighters, sharp objects, weapons, and, of course explosives of any kind – For obvious reasons.
If you get denied, remember it isn’t the end of the world. Luckily, for US visas, you can reapply anytime. But due to the high processing fee, it’s best to wait and reassess your situation before you do.
Common reasons for denial is a lack of ties to the Philippines, whether it be financial or social. Make sure you can prove otherwise before reapplying.
Book Your Flight
To book your flights, check out these airlines, which offer affordable rates to the United States:
Manila to Los Angeles:
Manila to New York:
- China Eastern – From P34,299
- Air China – From P37,211
- Cathay Pacific – From P42,704
- ANA – From P44,127
- Korean Air – From P42,565
Fill up those forms, pack your bags, and book your flights right away with Traveloka!