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Best tips and advice for a US Non-Immigrant Visa Application and Interview in Manila

Updated on January 9, 2015

Basics of US non immigrant visa application

If you are looking for US visa tips in terms of application and renewal, then you stumbled to the right place. This post will provide tips and information regarding the following important aspects:

  • US Visa application / renewal payment
  • US Visa application / renewal appointment
  • US Visa application / renewal requirements
  • US Visa application / renewal location
  • US Visa application / renewal interview tips
  • US Visa application / renewal general tips

We will discuss the bullets individually – but before moving on, please be advised of the following guidelines:

  • This post is applicable for Filipino citizens who is residing in Philippines
  • This post is focused on non-immigrant US visa application and renewal. If you are eyeing for a different kind of visa, the steps, requirements, fees (and other aspects) may somewhat vary.
  • Information contained herewith is focused mostly on tips based on personal experience during the application process and is updated as of posting time. However, for the latest and complete step-by-step procedure, it would be highly advisable to check the main or official websites of the governmental body (links will be provided at the end of this post)
  • Tips provided here does not guarantee a successful application but it can be considered as a guideline and important things to know and consider.

Non-Immigrant VISA PAYMENT Tips and Things to Remember

  • This is the first step because scheduling an appointment or interview cannot be done without the payment receipt number / details.
  • There is only one document needed for paying so don’t forget to bring it – this is the US visa application payment slip (which is available at CEAC or Consular Electronic Application Center
  • Don’t print multiple copies of the US visa application deposit slip as this has an expiration date. An important thing to remember is to only print when you are sure that you can pay before the expiration date.
  • However, just in case you are not able to pay and meet the expiration date, just visit the CEAC and re-print. This is the reason why it is NOT advisable to print multiple copies of the deposit slip.
  • ALL the fees are indicated on the CEAC website. Please remember that fees varies depending on the visa type and purpose of travel
  • Visa application fees can be paid by cash through BPI branches, through BPI’s online channels, and through Bancnet’s online payment system.
  • Here’s another tip for this section – don’t forget to check out how soon you can schedule an appointment after paying. There is usually a leeway time for this and as far as I can remember, it depends on what time of the current day you paid and what method was used for paying.
  • Lastly, FYI please that the fee is non-refundable.

Tips and Things to Remember for US Visa application / renewal DOCUMENTS

Basically, there are two important required documents – these are the Passport and completed DS160 form

Important Things to Know about Passport

  • The latest or most recent passport is required
  • But here’s a tip: it is also advisable to bring your old ones – especially if the old ones are stamped with places you have already or recently visited and if contains existing visa(s) (even expired ones)
  • Another tip is to take care of your passport. It should be intact or as much possible – recognizable since it also holds some information about your identity

Important Thing to know about DS160 form

  • This for application form is available at the CEAC and all information supplied should be true or correct
  • Also available on the site are instructions and step-by-step process to accomplish the DS160 form
  • If you encounter a native name portion, this is usually applicable for people that has names from their heritage like what Chinese people have
  • Read and understand the instructions carefully as well as all the written information.
  • Ready the printer and paper as you will be asked to print something at the end as once done, you will be asked to print some documents that are needed during the actual interview process.
  • Last tip: take special notice of the generated bar code as it serves many important purposes

Additional tips regarding US visa documents and requirements

  • Bring as much supporting documents as needed. Remember, one of the main purpose of the interview is to check your background and personality. So it only follows to bring as much supporting documents as possible. Good examples would be IDs, bank statements, certificate of employment, etc…
  • Bring a binder where you can organize your documents and a bag where you can easily access said items.
  • It is important to know that when the consul asked you to surrender your documents, it is most likely that those won’t be returned – except for the passport.
  • However, when the passport is surrendered or is left behind to the consul, this is most likely good news as it is a strong indication that you passed the interview. They need to get your passport because that is where the visa will be stamped / affixed.

US Visa application / renewal location

As far as I can remember, the exact address is Consular Section, 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines 1000

US Visa appointment and scheduling tips

  • It is important to know that the payment receipt details should be kept ready as this is required for the appointment process
  • US visa interview schedule could be done online or via a phone to the call center or their hotline (as of posting time, the phone number is (02)9768500 to 02
  • A good tip would be to check your monthly or upcoming schedule before making an appointment. Make sure that you would be able to attend the date you picked as the slots are filled up real fast.
  • I would suggest going for as much as early as possible so that you would be able to finish before 10 or 11am.
  • Additionally, I logged in early in the morning just to be sure that I would be able to get the slots that I wanted
  • Be at the US embassy office at least 30 minutes prior to the actual interview time. From first-hand experience, numerous people are already lined up as early as 5:30am.
  • There are many lines during the appointment process. Be sure to ask around and line up on the correct line – in short don’t be shy to ask.

  • Any type of electronic devices are prohibited inside the US embassy office. This may include mobile phones, USB, memory cards, mp3 players, etc…
  • Again, any form of ELECTRONIC devices are prohibited inside the US embassy office.
  • If by chance, you have brought an electronic device, you may opt to deposit it on the so-called "depositors" – people that roam outside the US embassy, asking applicants if they have any electronic devices with them. Be warned though, this depositors are apparently not connected with the embassy and there is no telling if your electronic gadget is really safe with them. If you still decide to deposit any item to them, be sure to remember the face, ask for some kind of claim stub, and prepare the fee that they will require.
  • Bring a ballpen
  • Bring a binder where you can organize your things and papers.
  • There’s a small snackbar inside the embassy so don’t worry about being hungry during the interview. However, it would still be advisable to eat before the interview as it may take up at least one or two hours
  • Double check all required documents needed before going to the US visa interview.


  • Be honest to each question asked to you
  • Be confident
  • Don’t be intimidated.
  • The consul is not your friend but is also NOT your enemy. They are just there to do their job and to get your honest answers – so again, answer truthfully.

Planning to travel after a successful VISA application?

If you are planning to travel overseas after getting an approved VISA, be sure to remember the tips and things to do during a long flight (also known as a transatlantic flight)

US Visa general tips

  • Group appointments are available but applying as a family (you and your family members) or as a tour package is excluded from this.
  • Be sure to regularly check the official / government sites related to this aspect – such sites are mostly updated and contains the complete step-by-step procedure
  • Photo requirements can also be found on the official sites. Be sure to consider all required parameters of the photo

That’s it. Remember that these are just tips and advices, successful application is not guaranteed. Think more of the list as a guideline. At the end of the day, it’s up to you, your confidence, and your response to the interviewer that will make the difference between a successful or "try again" application.

Be sure to check regularly for updates or additional tips and advices. Remember the US visa tips mentioned here and good luck on the US non-immigrant application.

ACC - anyone can comment

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    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 2 years ago

      Hi Mary Ann,

      That is indeed quite a situation. Apologies, am wouldn't be able to help on that aspect. Anyway, hope you sort everything out and may you have a great wedding :)

    • profile image

      Mary Ann 2 years ago

      Hi. Nice blog you have here. I do have visa inquiry and I don't know if you can answer this. I have a boyfriend who is a US citizen. He was incarcerrated for almost 9yrs and was recently released. We are planning to get married and I am about to file K1 visa. But when I read the requirement, it says that we must meet 2yrs. prior of filling the petition. My question is can this be waived? If yes, would you know what I should do next? Thanks in advance..

    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 3 years ago

      Hi Carol,

      Good question. Getting a visa months before might be a good idea since flight rates are much cheaper when booked earlier.

      This may also seem like a good answer when asked -- but of course, is not a guarantee of approval.

      Thanks for dropping by :)

    • profile image

      Carol 3 years ago

      Hi! Great blog! :) Just a question.. Do you think it would be advisable to get a visa months before the intended travel dates? I wanna try getting a visa as early as now.. however.. I might travel by mid-next year pa. Do you think that's okay? Or, too early?

    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 3 years ago

      Hi Bryan,

      Good question. Unfortunately, its been a long time since I got my Visa. My best guess would have to be around 4 to 6 weeks.

      Hope this helps.


    • profile image

      bryan 3 years ago

      After the interview, how many days did it take to get your visa?

    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 3 years ago

      Hi! Ryan,

      As far as I can tell, only applicants are allowed. But if your mom is a senior citizen, they might make a consideration (but again I am not sure about this)

      Anyway, here are some tips:

      - tell your mom to listen closely, and think clearly before answering.

      - be honest

      - specify the purpose of the trip

      - don't be intimidated (they are not enemies but don't also consider them as friends)

      Hope this helps :)

    • profile image

      Ryan 3 years ago

      Can i ask sir? my mother will sched her interview nxt week, but she's not trully good in english speaking. may i ask if there's an interpreter to assist her ?

    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 4 years ago

      Hi Abigail Wells,

      wow, that's nice. Just be honest and don't appear jittery like you are hiding something. Those guys knows are trained to observe and know if a person is worth giving a VISA or not. Just stick with your reason for getting one (I'm sure you have a good one) and good luck in the interview :) Thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      Abigail wells 4 years ago

      Hi I'm a filipino citizen but I have american blood my last name is wells is that gonna be a problem applying for tourist visa I already have my schedule for interview thanks

    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 5 years ago

      Good luck Kendi. Just relax and answer truthfully and be there on time :)

    • profile image

      kendi 5 years ago

      Very useful tips, I hope I will pass the interview this friday...wish me luck guys:)

    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 5 years ago

      Hi Read-N-Learn,

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. Agree with your comment. Though have to admit that the processing is fast (was able to finish up between 1045 to 11) even with the huge (really HUGE) number of applicants :)

    • Read-N-Learn profile image

      Criado Law Group 5 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Very useful information. Great Hub! Voted up for this one. Visa application is somewhat a tiresome process in the Philippines, and many passport holders who have tried for visa approval knows the run around and the stressful process. Though, you can always look for qualified immigration attorney to make things easier.

    • profile image

      hi 5 years ago

      hi hi

    • writerjj profile image

      writerjj 6 years ago

      Yeah, I got confused with that one also :)

    • profile image

      happy reader 6 years ago

      thanks for the clearing up the info about native name. I saw that field on the application form and like WTH is this hehehe. thanks much!


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