I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to catch my early morning flight to Manila. We arrived at the US embassy thirty minutes past eleven in the morning for our 130pm appointment. (Note: Cellphones and other electronic equipments are not allowed inside and there's no concierge to leave it with.)
Step 1: At the gate, present appointment confirmation with DS-160 submitted online, passport and blue copy of visa fee payment. Time of appointment doesn't necessarily follow anymore; one will be given a priority number on a first come first serve basis.
Step 2: Proceed to the Pavillion (non-airconditioned waiting area); food and drinks are available for sale here. Fill up the pink form given at the entrance and make sure you know the following details (my father completely forgot these details, luckily they did not make a big deal out of it):
- Applicant's full name (surname, given name, middle name/maiden name)
- Father's full name and birthday
- Mother's maiden name and birthday
- Spouse full name and birthday
Step 5: Groups of 4 and up were called separately and documents are checked ahead. However, it wasn't such a good idea, in our case, it took longer. 1 group is assigned a priority number after every 20 individuals.
Step 6: Once you get your new priority number, you will proceed to the room where the consuls are. Wait for your number appears on the board; looking at those red colored numbers makes me dizzy.
Step 7: Your number will be called for ten printing. Ten printing means, your fingerprints will be scanned.
Step 8: After ten printing, you have to wait again til your number is flashed on the screen, for the interview with the consul.
Step 9: If disapproved, you'll be given a notice for the reason of denial. The passport will no longer be stamped as denied. On the other hand, if approved, you'll be asked to proceed to Air 21's booth and pay for courier. On several occasion, the courier will update you via text message the following:
- tracking number of the passport (at midnight on the day you paid the courier)
- when the passport is dispatched out of the consulate
- status in transit
- estimated delivery time (I got mine after three working days)
Although no documents were asked during our interview (some applicants were asked), bring a birth certificate and/or marriage certificate, and prepare documents that will establish your ties in the Philippines and proof of capacity to finance your travel, like:
- original income tax return
- original land title
- passbook with significant transactions for several months (a bank certificate may not be sufficient)
- significant credit card billings
- original business registration/stock certificate or employment certificate
- license issued by professional regulation commission, where applicable
- What do you do (for a living)? - when having your own business, the consul did not like hearing answers like "I'm the manager of A Corporation"; For them, it's pretentious to claim as if you work in a corporation recognized worldwide. He wants an answer as simple as "I have my own business" or "I work for my father".
- What is your position (at work) and compensation?
- How old are you?
- What is your profession? - undeniably there is discrimination against certain profession.
- What is you longest stay in America?
With no further question, the rest of us remained silent, fearful that our application will be jeopardized, we were granted a visa.
Technically, my brother had the correct visa, choice of words is very crucial, he could have used the word "training" instead of "work".
Consular officers tend to focus on factors whether the applicants possess compelling ties to applicant’s home country:
- If the applicants have traveled to the U.S. previously, how long did they stay? If they stayed longer than 6 months, did they have INS approval to do so? (Note: Please have the applicants bring their INS extension approval notices to their interview).
- If the applicants have traveled to the U.S. previously, how long have they been back in home country?
- How many children and grandchildren do the applicants have back in home country?
- Have the relatives in the U.S. ever returned to home country to visit their families as is normal for foreign students, workers, and residents in the U.S.?
- Are the applicant active professionally in their home country; if so, what is their income and the nature of their work?
In certain, limited circumstances the US Consulate may issue an employment-authorized B1 visa where the work to be undertaken would usually require an H1B visa. This provision is particularly applicable to situations where you may need a non-US company to send a member of staff to the US for a limited period in order to undertake specific projects for you, or where you wish to bring in an employee of an overseas subsidiary, affiliate or parent for a limited period. The requirements for acquiring a B1 in lieu of H1B are:-
- The work to be undertaken in the US must be H1B level – i.e. the worker must be engaged in a 'speciality occupation';
- The worker must permanently employed (i.e. not a contractor) and paid by the employer outside the US;
- The worker may receive no compensation other than expenses from a US source;
- The worker must have a degree relevant to the services to be provided– there is no provision for work experience to be considered equivalent to adegree, as there is under the H1B.
- Conduct Negotiations
- Solicit sales or investment
- Discuss planned investment or purchases.
- Make investments or purchases
- Attend Meetings, and participate in them fully.
- Interview and hire staff.
- Conduct research.
- Running a business.
- "Gainful employment".
- Payment by an organization within the US.
- Participating as a professional in entertainment or sporting events.