My Us Visa Story

I told you in my previous blog that I had a hard time getting a US Visa right? And that I got denied 3 times. I got really disappointed and all, specially when my father inlaw who was based in the US died without having met me in person. 😦

I am a Filipino. And as such, the burden is on me to prove that I am coming back to the Philippines.

So how would I prove that?

I brought with me the following:

* Titles for all our properties

* OR / CR of our vehicles

* Bank Statements

* And a lot of other things that would prove my ties in the Philippines.

But those were useless because the consul never looked at them. Seriously, as in never.

On my 4th try, I asked the help of my friend , Atty. Nicolas Caraquel. He’s an immigration lawyer based in the US.

He asked me to send him my previous application forms ( I saved a copy for my file) and emailed it to him. From there, he found several mistakes I made.

Ok, figures… No wonder I kept  getting denied. Duh!

So here are my tips. Hopefully, this will help my filipino readers who plan on getting a US Visa.

1) National Identification Number:

I used to keep this blank. Because in our country we have SSS, Tax Identification Number, Philhealth and Pag-ibig numbers. Those are all national numbers. Wherever we go in the Philippines, these numbers are valid.

Atty. Caraquel told me to put my Tax Identification Number.

I should have thought of that! You know why? Our TIN Number shows our Annual Income. In my case, my record would show that I pay a percentage tax on a monthly basis. And that is 3% of my monthly income. Other than that, there’s quarterly tax and semi-annual tax.

Ok , my Tin Number also shows how many properties I own. How? It shows the Documentary Stamps Tax and Capital Gains Tax I’ve paid all these years. It’s all there!

No wonder they don’t look at the Titles. 😦

The record shows it all.

2)  Job Description:

I explained how long my business has been existing in Davao. (If you’re working,  then state how long you’ve been connected with the company you work for).  I explained that due to the nature of our business, I have to come back because I sign the contracts and all the other paperworks. (If you’re an employee then site the reason why you are important in your job.)

3) Monthly Income:

Divide your Annual Income into 12 months (based on the ITR). If you have other income that’s not declared and you didn’t pay taxes on it, then that doesn’t count.

I was asked how much do I earn. So I gave him the full amount. I got my Income Tax Return from my folder but the consul told me to just TELL  him. Meaning, he does not need to look at the actual document. So make sure that you memorize your annual income. And do not lie. Remember they know. 🙂

4) Travel Abroad –

I was asked if I’ve been abroad. It helps you know for them to know that you went out of the country and came back. I’m glad that in my case, I love to travel. So I told the consul where I’ve been.

5) If Married to an American:

My immigration lawyer explained to me that since I’m married to an American, I have the right to change my status once I get to the US. I told him that it’s not gonna happen because I love my life in Davao. 🙂 Of course, the consul does not know that right? And they will not take your word for it. So what did we do? My lawyer prepared some documents for me to sign.

You will need to discuss this with your immigration lawyer. Because each person has different situation.

It’s sucks to be a Filipino when you’re getting a western visa. But if you want to travel, you will have to adjust to that fact. 😦

I’m glad that I never stopped trying because  I am enjoying my vacation in the US as of the moment. 🙂

My immigration lawyer is good because he got me a 1o year visa. 🙂

Another thing:

Upon arrival in the US, you will be interviewed at the immigration counter . In my case, I was asked where I was going. And how long will I be staying. Also, I was asked what my job was. Remember, all of those things are already in the application form. So do not forget the details, the dates and the complete address of where will you be staying.

And please, if your purpose is tourism, then come back after your tour. Do not over extend. Because that’s what’s putting the rest of the Filipinos in a bad light. 😦

The immigration officer at the arrival area gave me a stamp for 6 months. Meaning, I can stay in the US for 6 months if I want to. But no, our schedule is only for the month of October. So we will honor that. 🙂

I am hoping that through this, I am able to help you.

Again, please allow me to thank Atty. Nicolas Caraquel.

https://www.facebook.com/nick.caraquel?fref=ts

If not for his assistance, I would never have found out where I made mistakes in my application form. And then, I would never have gotten a US Visa. 🙂

 

Lea C. Walker

www.davaoproperties.com

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About leawalkerblog

Businesswoman. Realtor. Photographer. Traveler. Blogger.
This entry was posted in My Travels, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to My Us Visa Story

  1. melvin says:

    congrats! at least this time 10 year visa nakuha nimo.grabe diay no,even marrying an american doesnt guarantee you a visa sa US.unsa pa gaha ang walay ties sa Us pero gusto lang mag travel.sana next time snow na makita mo.

    Like

    • Hi Melvin,

      Thank you. 🙂 It pays off to be patient. Never give up, ika nga. hehe

      And yes, being married to an American is not a guarantee in getting a US Visa. Since we come from a 3rd world country, the burden is upon us to prove that we really plan on coming back after our vacation. It was easier for me if I applied for an immigrant visa. But since, we have no plans of living there, I opted for a non-immigrant visa. I was glad that my friend helped me fix my application form. If not, I would still be wondering why I always get denied. Hay sus!

      Just follow my tips and hopefully, it will help those who want to apply for a US visa. 🙂

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      Lea

      Like

  2. Dee says:

    hi,

    is it really worth it to seek help from an immigration lawyer? It’s my first time to apple for US Visa.

    thanks

    Diane

    Like

    • Good morning Dee,

      I tried several times on my own and did not make it. With the immigration lawyer’s assistance, I was able to get a 10 year visa. So yeah, I believe it was worth it.

      If you want, you can try it on your own. Read my comments above. And let’s pray that you will make it.

      Just remember, the national identification number, is your Tax Identification Number. The report from said tin number serves as your proof of income.

      Hope this helps. Thank you.

      Lea C. Walker

      Like

  3. You’re welcome Dee. Good luck and let me know what happens! 🙂

    Like

  4. carlson says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing, just a question how much would have cost getting immigration lawyer?

    Like

  5. ron says:

    This is very helpful, though our non immigrant visa was not granted last monday. I’ll follow your tips on our next interview, hopefully next year.

    Thank you very much!

    Like

    • Hi Ron,

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      It’s a matter of proving to the consul that the applicant is coming back to the Philippines. It helps if one has traveled abroad and came back.

      I hope that you get the visa next time. 🙂 Please come back and let me know what happens.

      Thank you.

      Lea

      Like

  6. Sue says:

    Hi Ms. Lea, how r u?
    Thanks for your story. Its very nice! I was denied because I also leave blank info
    on the National Identification Number… my documents were not checked by the consul.

    Like

    • Hi Sue,

      The national identification number is our TIN Number. That’s how they know how much is our income. No wonder they do not look at our documents anymore. 🙂

      Go, apply again. This time, do not leave anything blank.

      Try and try until you succeed. I am glad I did not give up or I will not be enjoying the travels I had in America. It is so worth the hardship! 🙂

      Thanks for visiting my blog.

      Lea

      Like

  7. Sofia Mae says:

    Hi there! Your story is so inspiring…I want to seek advice from you, I have an American bf and he will visit me here next month. As a preparation for my visa application, coz we know that meeting in real is one of the major requirements. We talked about the visa already, We both agreed, after his visit he will file a petition for me right away. Now my question is…what is the best visa I need to apply fiancee visa or spouse? We have plans to get married already, what I searched online the duration process of fiancee and spouse are almost the same and we will save money and time if we apply for spouse visa. Is that true? And one thing I want to get married here in the Philippines, sinced my family are here. I hope you will enlighten me about this matter. Those who had experienced or in this situation,please feel free to message me. Thanks in advance!

    Like

    • Hello Sofia,

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      My story referred to a Tourist Visa only because I am not interested to live in the U.S. We just want to visit there once a year for a vacation.

      From what I understand, fiancée visa is faster than the spousal visa. So it really depends on when you want to go there.

      You mentioned that you prefer to get married in the Philippines. If that is the case, you would end up applying for a spousal visa. That takes longer time to process though. If your end goal is to live permanently in America, then that’s a better option.

      If you like, I can refer you to my immigration lawyer. He can be of better assistance to you regarding this matter. He’s the one who told me that being married to an American citizen does not guarantee a US Visa. There are so many factors to consider. So if you want a better chance of getting one, I suggest that you or your fiancé contact him directly. He is based in the US so he’s just a phone call away.

      Thank you.

      Lea

      Like

  8. Mae says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I very much appreciate you sharing your experience. I am currently in the process of making my second attempt at my renewal for a US VISA. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my work, I unknowingly forgot that my VISA has expired already and I wasn’t able to renew in time. I’ve always wondered “WHY” I was denied when I applied for a renewal, where in fact, I have already been in the US several times already. But of course, now it’s different since way back when, I was still in school, while when I applied last 2012, I was already working. Nadismaya na ako and besides, I had to focus on work already so I didn’t try applying at once again. It’s only now that I realized that I really should try again but this time, I want to make it right. I think that bit about the TIN number is genius! I never thought about it as well and YES, there really are so much information with just those numbers. I have also made it a point to be detailed about the brief job description on the application. Just so they know that I definitely have reason to come back. Thank you so much for these tips and fingers-crossed, I’ll hopefully be able to renew my VISA successfully

    Like

    • Hi Mae,

      I hope that my tips will indeed help you in your new application.

      Please come back and let me know what happens! 🙂

      Thank you.

      Lea

      PS. And yes, we should not give up. I have been on several road trips in America and it is so worth all the stress in getting a visa. 🙂 Good luck!

      Like

  9. juliet says:

    Hi. im planning to apply a tourist visa this february.. someone i met in an online dating site would sponsor my trip. i havent met him yet. is this ok or it might be a ground not to approve my visa? shall i declare that i was invited by him and that he will sponsor me? or it would be better not to tell them that i havent met him yet? please help me. thanks.

    Like

    • Hello Juliet,

      Honestly, I do not know if having a sponsor would help you get a US Visa.

      The main concern there is that you will be able to prove to the Consul that you are coming back to the Philippines. Therefore, it is important that you establish your ties in our country. How? Make sure that your income tax show how much you earn on a yearly basis, that you have properties , that you have a stable job here or anything that would prove your return.

      I hope this helps. Thank you.

      Lea

      Like

  10. Mike says:

    Hi there.. im so glad to find your blog especially that Im presently filling out my DS-160 form as I intend to set an appointment sa Feb or March paguwi ko ng Pinas.
    Im Mike and a seaman. I plan to visit US purely as tourist. Im travelling solo and no relatives nor friends there. May query lang sana ako regarding some infos required on the application form: Hope to get response from you at your earliest convenience: 🙂

    1. Regarding National Identification Number. Temporary I left this blank also. But upon reading your blog naconfuse ako whether to declare my TIN Number. I have TIN number as well as SSS but tax exempted ako being a seaman. If im going to declare my TIN number, ndi po ba to magconflict dun sa salary na dineclare ko sa form since you mentioned that TIN number is one way to verify the income? I only got a TIN number because I purchased some lot properties though I stil have yet to confirm from my family if they are using my TIN number when paying my real estate tax.

    2. Passport book control number? – I left this blank. Did u do the same on your application?

    3. Has your US visa been cancelled? – Im confused whether to answer yes or no. Ive been issued a US Visa thrice na (but only the C1/D type visa that is for crew). I have never used it coz never pa ako napunta sa US. My first US visa was stamped CANCELLED Without Prejudice when they issued me my second visa upon renewal. But i noticed that the second one was not stamped with same when they issued me my third one? Do you recommend ba na I answered yes? Will this affect my chances of getting approved.

    4. Travel records – Being a seaman, should I include those countries that I visited only for the purpose of joining vessels? Do you think this count as country that I have visited? even though not as tourist?

    5. Lastly, sa US contact na section, Under Organization, I stated the hotel where i intend to stay. I did the reservation of the hotel thru booking.com. Will the confirmation of reservation be enough if the consul ask for my contact in US?

    Sorry to bother you with all these queries. Ive been googling and searching bloggers that can help me and it seems you are the perfect fit coz may kakilala ka na US immigration lawyer. Thanking you in advance sa tulong mo. God bless po. 🙂

    Like

    • Good morning Mike,

      Thanks for reading my blog.

      I guess, the best person to help you with your application is Atty. Caraquel. Our situation is different, so I am not sure if my article would help you in your application.

      For instance, overseas workers are exempted on paying taxes. So your TIN will not show your income. But you are right, it should reflect your real estate purchases. And that matters.

      We have to put the Passport Number on the application form. I am not sure though what is – Passport Book Control Number.

      Your VISA was literally cancelled because they replaced it with a new one. If you answer yes, is there a succeeding question asking why? Normally, there is. So you can explain there why.

      Yes, it is very important that you tell them where you’ve been. That way, they know that you traveled and went back to the Philippines. That’s a proof that you have no plans of living in the U.S. 🙂

      Yes, the address I used was the hotel one. We do roadtrips when we’re in the U.S. and/or Canada. So it has to be the hotel address since you won’t be staying with relatives.

      Atty. Caraquel will best help you on most of your questions. Talk to him in facebook.

      I hope this helps a little. Thank you.

      Lea

      Like

  11. Ter says:

    Hi Lea,
    Hi there! First of all thank you for sharing you experience on US visa application and glad to know you got approved. Im Ter and an OFW (Seaman). Im currently filling out my DS-160 form as I plan to apply for US tourist visa this Feb or March after I disembarked from my vessel. I have queries sana on some infos required by the form. Hope you can help me on all these:

    1. National Identification Number – Ive also temporarily left it blank since im tax exempted. Though I have TIN number as required when I purchased some lot properties in province. Do u think I have to declare this TIN number? Isn’t this going to contradict the salary that I declared in the form since it won’t reflect on my TIN number?

    2. Passport Book Number – I left this blank. Did u do the same before?

    3. Under US Contact section – For organization name: Can i write the name and address of the hotel where i intend to stay? Since i have no relatives nor friends living in US. I will purely visit US as tourist and do backpacking there alone.

    4. Has your US visa been cancelled? Should I answer YES o NO?. Just fyi, Im currently holding a US C1/D visa (Crew visa/transit visa type) valid till 2017. this is my third issuance of US visa. However, my first one has a stamped on it marking “CANCELLED WITHOUT PREJUDICE). It was stamped when they issued me the second one during renewal. BUTall my US C1/D visa are unused because IVe never been to US. However, the second visa has no stamped with same marking when they issued me my third visa.

    5. Travel history (Countries visited) – do you think I should also declare those countries Ive visited for the purpose of joining vessel only and not for tourism purpose? Do you think this counts to the definition of countries visited?

    I apologize for bothering you with these queires. Hoping for your favorable response at your earliest convenience. God bless. 🙂

    Like

    • Hello Ter,

      You and Mike have the same questions. Kindly read my replies above. Hopefully, it will help both of you.

      I still suggest that you talk to Atty. Nicolas Caraquel. You can find him in Facebook.

      Thank you.

      Lea

      Like

  12. Stephany Jean Labajo says:

    Hi lea! I just found your post. I’m currently applying for an immigrant visa. I just want to ask around how much it would cost to ask for assistance of an immigration lawyer?

    Like

    • Hello Stephany,

      Kindly look for Nick Caraquel on Facebook. His charges vary depending on the case, that’s why.

      I paid 500 dollars for simple tourist visa.

      Thank you for reading my blog! 🙂

      Lea

      Like

  13. anthony lowes cabanos says:

    Hi ms. Lea,

    I was interviewed last june 27 this year and i got denied. the consul gave me the 214b denial paper which indicate that i have immigrant intent. Upon reading your blog i figured out that my previous ds160 form has lots of blank answer (like national identification number, travel plans, educational attainment etc.) which i think one of the reason why i was denied. I have all my documents with me during the interview and the consult didnt ask for any documents.
    he just ask me “why are you traveling to usa”
    i said. “for tourism and visit my visit my relatives”
    after that he decided to deny me without asking further question. so a big question mark on my head..
    thank you for your blog it seems i got the answer.

    question is it advisable to re apply after a month?because i was planning to apply this month.

    hoping for your soonest feedback..

    thanks,
    Anthony

    Like

    • Hello Anthony,

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      As a Filipino, the burden is really on our part to prove to them that you are coming back to the Philippines. So make sure that your form is completely filled up so they can check who you really are. Don’t forget your TIN number.

      I hope that my tips in the blog will help you get your visa.

      I think it’s okay to apply again. Just fix the problems with your online form and try it again.

      Good luck Anthony. Please come back and let me know what happens!

      Thank you.

      Lea

      Like

  14. Magee says:

    hello lea! I am tax exempted because i am still a student. Could a driver’s license no. be put in my national identification no.? thank you. 🙂

    Like

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