One of the toughest visas to get is the US Visa. Aside from an intensive background check, the most *tedious* part for most people is the Interview with the Consul where they will ask you a series of questions regarding your application. It could even be more difficult when you’re visiting a special someone in the US. They have to understand your relationship in this case so expect a lot of questions about your relationship.
I know you’ve heard a lot about US Visa denial stories from your neighbors, a friend of a friend, or even a family member and just hearing it makes you feel more anxious--especially when it’s your first time. Here’s my tip: Shut your ears from these kinds of stories. Just because it happened to them will it mean that it will also be your fate! DO NOT BE PESSIMISTIC.
More often than not, the Consul asks the same series of questions so the good news is: You can at least prepare for the interview. For this post, I’ll give you the common questions they ask when you’re visiting a friend or a special someone in the US and how you could answer them best :)
FIRST: THE KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE TECHNIQUE IS NOT WHAT I ADVISED YOU TO DO IS HAVE a 15- second Elevator Pitch!
1. WHO ARE YOU GOING TO TRAVEL WITH?
Tell them the truth-- whether you’re traveling alone, with friends, with your family or to visit your boyfriend / fiance/ partner/ girlfriend/ husband.
Never believe when they say that you should not mention your “significant other / special someone” when applying for the visa because the consul will automatically reject you.. NOT TRUE! They already know about you and your relationship when you submit the application form online - they already did the background check and you only have to tell and answer the truth.
It’s not true that it will be harder for you to get a visa because they will think you could get married and stay longer.. it’s 2019 already!! It’s not the same as the old generation of myths!
2. WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE IN GOING TO THE US?
Tell them that you’re going on a vacation and you’ll meet your friend or special someone there too. Remember, honesty is always the best policy especially when it comes to Visa Applications!
HOW TO ANSWER THIS?
Instead of saying: I want to go on a vacation and be with my boyfriend. (The consul already know you’re going there for vacation which is the reason you’re applying for Tourist visa, they also know about your boyfriend since he’s the one sponsoring your trip!)
Here’s how you can answer (for example): My boyfriend for 4 years already visited me in the Philippines twice and this time he wants me to visit him and meet his whole family for 2 weeks.
(Yep, that’s so much better since you already established more information and the next questions will evolve on that! Don’t waste the consuls 3 minutes digging more information from you that you could have answered on the first question! So, the other question can focus on giving more of your information that couldn’t be found on the application form)
3. HAVE YOU EVER MET IN PERSON?
Again, tell them the truth! It’s true that it could be difficult when you tell them you haven’t met yet but here’s the deal: If you lie and you tell them you already did, they could ask you to specify when and where. They might even ask you for photos. Yikes!
If you’ve already met, then no big deal. Tell them you already did and it could also help if you can provide the background like how many times you’ve seen each other, how long, where, and when. It would also be a big plus if he have visited you in the Philippines already and have met your family.
If you haven’t met, make sure you have a good reason why not and NOT because he’s BUSY.
4. HOW DID YOU MEET?
Whether you’ve met in the local pub, in a hostel while you’re both having a vacation in Bali, or in an online dating app like Tinder or OkCupid-- tell them. I know this is something very personal but that’s just how the way it is. The Consul have to understand your relationship for him to be able to know if it is legitimate and if he/she can give you a visa.
Remember, meeting in a Dating App doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is fake so don’t hesitate to tell them that you’ve met there. A lot of successful relationships are now brought into life by these apps and the Consul knows that for a fact :)
5. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR RELATIONSHIP GOING DESPITE THE DISTANCE?
Tell them that you make sure to call/video call each other everyday via Whatsapp, Viber, or Messenger. You could also say that you’re meeting each other personally every 3 or 4 months halfway across the globe only if that’s the case.
6. DO YOU HAVE PLANS OF MOVING IN TOGETHER?
For visa purposes, then the answer should be no. Once you tell them you want to move in together, they will automatically assume that you have plans of overstaying to be with your partner especially when you’re from a 3rd world country. But if you really have plans of settling down, then you can tell them that but be quick to add that it’s not gonna happen anytime soon because you’re busy with your studies, business, or work or maybe you’re planning to do it somewhere other than the USA.
7. DO YOU HAVE PLANS OF GETTING MARRIED?
Tell them the truth. Saying yes would imply that you’re in a serious relationship but saying no doesn’t mean you’re not serious about it. It’s all about the way you deliver your answer. You can perhaps say “Yes, we’re already talking about it but it takes a lot of time to prepare so it wouldn’t be soon” or “None as of now. We don’t want to rush things. We just want to take our time and see how it goes for both of us”.
Make sure you NEVER say that you’re Engaged nor he/she is your FIANCE if you’re NOT YET engaged. BIG NO NO!
8. HAVE YOU ALREADY MET EACH OTHER’S FAMILY?
Again, you know what to say (the truth!). I always say that it will be nice if he can visit you first in the Philippines to meet you and your family (especially for those couples who’ve met online). It will really help in your visa application and your relationship as well. Can you imagine flying all the way to the US to meet each other only to find out that you don’t click at all?!
9. HOW LONG HAS HE/SHE BEEN LIVING IN THE USA AND WHAT IS HIS/HER CURRENT STATUS?
Don’t answer I’m not sure or I don’t know. YOU HAVE TO KNOW AND YOU ARE EXPECTED TO KNOW. I strongly encourage that you spend time chatting and interviewing your special someone about his/her status in the US. This will really help you become more confident in front of the consul and this will definitely help you on your interview. This will definitely be asked so don’t even try disregarding this.
10. WHERE IS HE/SHE WORKING AND WHAT WILL YOU DO DURING THE OFFICE HOURS?
Again, you are expected to know this. Get all the information you can from that person because there’s a 90% chance this question will come out. If they ask you about his/her working hours and what will you do if he/she is at work, then tell them that you’re planning to go around and join some tours to maximize your stay. Or perhaps you can tell them that your partner will take his/her leave and show you around while you’re there if that’s really the case.
If he is already retired, if he is a freelancer, or he doesn’t have any job for now, then tell them that fact.
11. WHY ISN’T HE/SHE EMPLOYED?
This could be a follow up question in case your partner isn’t working. Maybe he’s still studying, he just graduated, he has his own business, or he’s still processing his employment application? Just tell them. Remember, if they can’t trust you with the truth about these simple questions then they couldn’t trust the legitimacy of your relationship too.
12. WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR YOUR EXPENSES WHILE YOU’RE THERE?
If your partner is the one who’s gonna pay for it, then it’s best to tell them. It would also help if you have a copy of his/her Bank Statement or Employment Certificate.
If your partner doesn’t have a source of income, then he/she can’t be the one financing your trip so it has to be you. Tell them that you have work, a business, or you’re renting out a property if any applies to you. You can also tell them that you have saved enough for this trip. They don’t usually ask for paper proof but bring your bank statement/bank certificate just in case.
If you don’t have enough to finance your trip, then you should at least have a sponsor. It could be your parents, a family, friend, or a company. Once you have this, get the information from your sponsors like what they do for a living as well as their supporting documents like Bank Statements or ITR.
Read More: Tips on Show Money
13. WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
Tell them what you do-- be it a work, a business, or an online job. If you’re studying then say it. Being a student doesn’t put you in a disadvantageous position like what some people say. For students, don’t worry because it is assumed that your parents will be the one paying for you.
More often than not, the Consuls do not ask for any documentation. But just be ready with the ff. Documents in case they ask for it:
Certificate of Employment
Proof of Income for the last 3 months
Business permits, if applicable
For Digital Nomads, you can bring a copy of your Paypal Transactions
For students, a copy of your Enrollment Certificate or School ID
14. HOW MUCH DO YOU EARN FOR A LIVING?
Just tell them the correct figures. After all, these can all be seen from the documents you have presented during your online application. And if they feel that it is not enough for your trip, might as well prepare for more questions.
I earn 18,676.50 Philippines pesos after Tax. → WINNER!
15. DO YOU HAVE PLANS OF WORKING IN THE USA?
THE ANSWER IS NO and do not even attempt to work or apply for work in the US while you are there on a TOURIST VISA. They are very much against Illegal Immigrants and once you’re caught, you could be deported and your US Visa cancelled. You might never get the chance to step on the US soil again.
16. HOW CAN YOU ASSURE US THAT YOU WILL COME BACK HOME?
Tell them that you are well-established in your country (you have a job, you have a business to run, you’re studying, etc) and that you do not have any plans of overstaying in the US or even looking for a potential employer. Also, you can add that you still want to see a lot of countries and you don’t want to ruin your travel record.
1) How do I apply for a US Visa for Philippines Passport Holder?
Check the step-by-step guide here: How To Apply For A US Tourist Visa
2) Should I really answer based on this article?
Not really. This is merely a guide but this is tested and proven. If you have to depart from this guide as the circumstances doesn’t apply to you, then feel free to do so.
3) Will they ask for documents?
They rarely ask for it but prepare it just in case :)
4) Do you have any other tips on how to avoid being rejected?
Here are some tips on how you can avoid tourist visa denial-- this applies to all Consulates.
5) What can I do in case my visa gets denied?
You can always re-apply. Here’s an article on How You Can Handle Tourist Visa Rejection-- this applies to most Embassies as well.
6) In what language should I answer their questions?
Answer them in straight English unless they used another language to talk to you (in which case you answer with that language).
That’s all for this post! As a final tip, don’t make it look like that you’ve memorized your answers. The tip I teach my coaching client is to remember 3 or 4 keywords on how to answer each question so you don’t get
Be confident and truthful so you won’t have any troubles answering them. If you need further help with your US Visa application, feel free to contact me here. Good luck with your visa application! Wishing you all the best! :)
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