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Sunday, September 18, 2016

How To Apply United States Visa For Tourist (B-2) and Business (B-3)

According to the US Embassy in Manila, most of non-immigrant visa applications they are receiving are for business travel or tourism.

B-1 visas are for business, it is applicable for the following:

1. An applicant will be traveling to the US representing a foreign employer for meetings or trainings.
2. Appearance in a court trial
3. Buying goods or materials
4. Consultation with business associates
5. Negotiating a contract
6. Participation in business or professional conferences/conventions
7. Settling an estate

It should be noted that B-1 visa holders are not allowed to receive payment from a US source. The only exception however, is incidental expenses.

B-2 visas are given for generall pleasure and tourist travel. Here are a few examples:

1. Participation in amateur/unpaid cultural or sports events.
2. Touring
3. Visiting families and friends
4. Visiting for rest or medical treatment
5. Visiting for fraternal or social conferences and conventions

In the majority of cases, consuls will allot a combination of B-1/ B-2 visa. This is to acknowledge that a variety of business travelers may also want to travel for tourist purposes.


Step 1: Payment of Application Fee

Prepare your US visa application payment slip before going to the bank. Click Deposit Slip - $160 MRV Fee. Print it out, take it to the bank and pay USD 160 or PHP 7680.

Please note that on the payment slip, there is an expiration date. As such, bank agents will not accept payments that are expired. Also, each slip has a unique receipt number. Without the receipt number, you cannot schedule an appointment. If you are paying for more than one application, the payment slip cannot be duplicated nor used for lump sum payment.

Three (3) ways to pay for the MRV fee:
 1. Pay in cash (it should be the established Philippine peso equivalent of the machine-readable visa fee) at any branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
2. If you are a current BPI customer, you can pay through the bank’s online bill payment option.
3. Online payment through Bancnet 

Please be reminded that visa application fees are non-refundable nor non-transferable. There are no exceptions. From the date after the actual payment, it is valid for one year. As such, the interview must be done within the one-year validity.


Step 2: Prepare the required documents.

All documentary requirements must be ready before making an appointment.

All applicants must completely fill-out the DS-160 Online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application.

Take note of the CEAC Barcode number of the DS-160 confirmation page. Using the barcode number, you can keep track of the status of your case.

2. Passport

It should be in good condition. That means photo lamination should not be damaged and all passport pages are intact.

3. Photo

You will only need one 2”x2” standard photo. It should be:
A. In color
B. Taken within the last 6 months
C. If local or religious custom does not allow, ears should be exposed.
D. Taken in a white background
E. Taken in full-face view, facing the camera
F. With both eyes open, with a neutral facial expression

Please make sure that you meet the requirements mentioned above. Otherwise, it will delay the processing of your visa.

Step 3: Schedule an interview.

To set an appointment, you may call (02) 976-8500 to 02 for calls within the Philippines. It is open from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday, Manila Time. The only exceptions are during US and Philippine holidays. You may also book online for your interview through

If you are traveling together with 5 or more people with the same purpose of travel, you can apply together as a group. You may ask for Group Appointment by following the steps here. Here are a few examples of groups:

A. Groups traveling for competitions
B. Service organizations
C. School groups
D. Sports team

Here are a few examples who do not qualify for group appointments:

A. Family members who are traveling together
B. Groups traveling on a group tour package

If you are planning to book for an interview online, you will be asked to create a profile. This will then be used to access your appointment record and edit any of your information before your interview date.

In order to avoid problems securing your interview appointment, please plan your visa application accordingly. Even if non-immigrant visa fees are good for one calendar year, options for scheduling an appointment are limited. You are only allowed to reschedule twice (excluding the initial appointment) without penalty. If the second rescheduling attempt is called off, you only allowed to reschedule after a waiting period of 90 calendar days.

For more general information about visa application procedures and technical assistance regarding scheduling an appointment, you may get in touch with the call center or go online here.

Step 4: Go to the interview.

You need to arrive at the Embassy gate 15 minutes prior to the time listed on your appointment letter. Make sure that the biographic details on your appointment confirmation letter (i.e., name, date of birth and passport number) match the information on your passport. If you booked using your old passport number, you are required to bring the old passport together with the basic documentary requirements.

You will not be allowed to carry on with your interview if the details on your passport, appointment confirmation letter and CEAC barcode do not match to the day of your appointment. Thus, you will be asked to reschedule to a new date. Should you need assistance in correcting any information on your appointment confirmation letter, contact the call center for assistance no later than 48 hours before your interview date.

You must bring all the basic application requirements:
A. Interview appointment letter
B. DS-160 confirmation page
C. Valid passport
D. One 2”x2” photo
E. If available, all prior passports and US visas
F. In addition to passport, it will be helpful to bring a goverment-recognized photo ID to show upon entry.

Please be reminded that all kinds of electronic devices are not allowed within the US Embassy premises.

At each stage, there are Embassy personnel available to provide help. Should you need an interpreter, inform the interviewing officer of the day of the interview and one will be provided for you.

Step 5: If visa will be issued.

At the conclusion of the interview, a consular officer will tell you if you are qualified for a visa. If it is approved, congratulations! The passport stamped with your US visa will be delivered by the courier service at the address you provided. Or, it will be sent to the courier branch chosen when the appointment was made. The courier will deliver to Phlippine addresses only.

If you are not available at the time of the delivery of your passport, you must leave an authorization letter to your representative and a government-recognized photo ID for the both of you. The authorization letter should be signed by your and your representative.

You can access the Consular Electronic Application Center’s (CEAC) website to keep track of the status of your application. From the drop down menu, choose Philippines, Manila as the interview location. Type your CEAC Barcode (this can be found through the CEAC confirmation page that was submitted on the day of your interview) to check the current status of your case.


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