The US Tourist Visa or the B-2 visa is a type of visitor visa you can apply for in order to enter and stay in the United States temporarily. You can use this visa for vacations, visiting family and friends, medical treatment, and other valid uses you can find below. We at ultimate Visa can help you with your US Tourist Visa inquiry with our free personal assessment.
When to apply for a US Tourist Visa
The type of visa you apply for depends on your purpose for travel to the United States. According to the US Bureau of Consular Affairs, the B-2 visa can only be used by tourists with the following purposes to travel to the US:
- Holiday vacation
- Visit with relatives or friends
- Medical treatment
- Participation in conventions or social events hosted by social, service, or fraternal organizations (not business-related)
- Participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests
- Enrollment in a short recreational course of study and not for credit toward a degree (E.g. a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
The US Tourist Visa (B-2 visa) is usually processed along with the U.S. Business Visa (B-1 visa). This is why it is usually referred to as the B-1/B-2 Visa. So if you are going on a business trip, you need to apply for the B-1 Visa and not the B-2 Visa.
The B-2 visa is also not for those who wish to study, work temporarily, or do missionary activities in the US. For clarifications, do not hesitate to fill out the contact form on this page for a free consultation.
Visa-exempt travel to the US
There are two cases wherein you will be exempt from the visa requirement when travelling to the United States. These include the following:
- You are a resident of the Philippines, but you are a passport holder of a country that is exempt from the US visa requirement.
- You are a dual citizen with Filipino citizenship and citizenship of a Visa Waiver country.
What are the requirements for the US Tourist Visa application
We at Ultimate Visa will help ensure all your visa requirements are completely prepared. For your US Tourist Visa application, you are going to need the following basic requirements.
- Online DS-160 Form
- Philippine passport that is valid for at least six months after your last intended day of visit in the U.S. Your passport must also have at least one blank page for the visa to be affixed.
- 2-inch by 2-inch photograph. I will be discussing the details of the photo later below.
- Visa application processing fee of $160 to be in paid in peso equivalent.
- Proof that your visit will be temporary. More details will also be discussed later in this article.
- Other documentation that may be required to prove the purpose of your trip. These include medical instructions for medical treatment, booked departure travel from the U.S., as well as evidence of arrangements that will cover the cost of the travel.
US Tourist Visa Photo requirements
When you apply for a B-2 Visa, you will be required to upload your recent photo to your DS-160 application form. You also need to submit a print one during your interview.
Here are the conditions you need to meet for your visa photo:
- The photo must be square and 1200×1200 pixels.
- The head should be sized between 1 and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or between 50% and 69% of the total height of the image from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head.
- The photo must be in color (standard RGB color space).
- It must have no shadows
- The photo must have a plain white background.
- You must be facing the camera with both eyes open and with a neutral expression.
- You must not cover your head. Your hairline must be visible, except for headdress worn for religious purposes. The headdress should not cover the face
- You must not wear any electronic device, except for hearing device or the like.
- You must not wear eyeglasses in the photo except for medical reasons, such as recent eye surgery. Medical statement from the doctor must be provided if so.
- The photo must be taken within the last 6 months.
- It must be in JPEG format.
- The photo’s size must be less than or equal to 240 kilobytes (kB).
- If the photo is bigger than that size, you can compress to a ratio of less than or equal to a 20:1.
How to prove that you are not an intending immigrant
Applying for the B-2 Visa does not come easy. Every candidate is presumed to be an intending immigrant. As one of the requirements, you must prove this presumption wrong during your visa application.
In order to prove that you will not be staying in the U.S. indefinitely with your B-2 visa, you have to be clear that the reason for your visit is for vacation or medical treatment only for a limited time. You need to show that you have certain economic and social ties or a home address outside the U.S. that will ensure that you will go back to the Philippines. Finally, you need to show that you have enough funds to cover your expenses during your stay in the U.S
How to apply for a US Tourist visa
Step 1. Pay the visa application fee of $160
You may pay your visa application fee at any BPI Branch or online through BPI or Bancnet. You will be paying the current peso equivalent of $160. Always remember to keep your payment receipt, which will be needed once you make an appointment for your interview, as well as during the interview itself.
- BPI – Before heading to any BPI branch, print out the deposit slip that you can find in the U.S. Embassy website under the Cash at Bank section and bring it with you upon payment. Be mindful of the expiration date of the deposit slip. If the deposit slip has expired, please print a new one.
- Online – You may also pay online with your BPI or Bancnet account.
Step 2. Complete the online DS-160 Form
After making your payment, you may now fill out the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application form or the DS-160. In this form, you will be asked to provide your basic personal information, family information, as well as education and work history. You will also be asked to provide information pertaining your U.S. travel, such as travel plans, expected date of arrival, and U.S. travel history.
Please fill out the form completely and honestly. You will also be asked to upload your digital photo here according to their specifications.
Remember to save your document once in a while to avoid losing your progress during a period of inactivity. The form is quite long and you are allowed to save it and continue some other time. Once done, you may print or email the completed DS-160 form for your record-keeping. Submit and print the confirmation page, including the bar code, which you will need during your interview with the U.S. Consul.
Step 3. Schedule your appointment for interview
Wait for at least hours after you have completed and submitted your DS-160 form before you can schedule your appointment. You may schedule your appointment either online or through the call center.
To successfully schedule an appointment, you need to input the following information:
- Passport number
- BPI/Bancnet receipt number
- 10-digit barcode from your DS-160 confirmation page
Step 4. Prepare your documents for the visa interview
Once you have set your appointment, prepare the following required documents and bring them with you during the interview at the U.S. Embassy:
- Printed copy of your appointment lette
- Passport that is valid for at least six months after your last intended day of visit in the U.S
- Previous US visas (if you have any)
- Original BPI/Bancnet visa fee receip
- Printed DS-160 confirmation page
- 2-inch by 2-inch visa photograph
Other supporting documents you may need to bring include the followin
- Travelling for tourism
- Travel itinerary
- Proof of funds (bank statement, passbook copy, or other proof of cash)
- Tax documents
- Business card (if you have any)
- Travelling to visit relatives and friends or attending events
- Letter of invitation from relatives or friends
- Proof of event, invitation, brochure, etc
- Travelling for medical treatment
- Diagnosis from a doctor regarding your medical condition, as well as statement explaining why you need to visit the US for medical treatment
- Letter from the hospital or doctor in the US stating the following:
- Willingness to treat your condition
- Approximate cost of treatment (hospitalization, doctor’s fees, etc.)
- Estimated length of stay in the United States
- Proof that you or your sponsor can sufficiently pay your travel and medical expenditures.
You may also bring documents that may help establish your ties to the Philippines in case the consul asks. These include land titles, proof of business, and more.
Step 5. Go the U.S. embassy for your interview
Go to the embassy on the scheduled date and time of interview. The embassy is at 1201 Roxas Blvd., Ermita, Manila. It is located near Manila Ocean park, just beside the Museo Pambata
Be sure to arrive at the embassy at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time to allow for the pre-interview procedure. Before your actual interview, a Filipino embassy officer will check your documents if they are complete and will have your fingerprint scanned.
During the actual interview, an American consul will check your documents and ask you a few questions. Right then and there, you will know if your US Tourist Visa application is approved or denied. Once approved, the US Tourist Visa attached to your passport will be delivered to your specified address after 3-5 working days.
Here are some FAQs that may guide you for your US tourist Visa application.
- How long does it take to get a US Tourist Visa?
- What are the questions asked in US visa interview?
The US Tourist visa takes about 3-5 days to process. However, in some cases, it can take a week. You are advised to process your visa at least three months prior to your intended date of travel to give more time for the preparation of documents and scheduling of interview.
During the visa interview, the consul may ask you the following questions:
- relating to your visit - purpose of your visit, length of stay, address in the US, etc.
- when visiting relatives or friends - their address, their personal information (e.g. birthdate, name of spouse, number of children, etc), and their legal status, among others.
- Other questions - travel itinerary, current job or business, annual income, and your ties here in the Philippines that will ensure that you will return to your country of origin (properties, business, children, etc).
In some cases, you may be granted 10-year validity for your B-1 visa. Sometimes, however, applicants are given a visa validity of 6 months. This is especially true for those who are traveling to the US for the first time.
If you wish to extend your stay in the US, you need to apply for Extension of Stay with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your authorized stay expires. If you remain in the US after the certified time period, you will be violating their immigration laws and your visa will automatically be cancelled or voided. You may also be ineligible to get another visa in the future.
Getting a US Tourist Visa requires a lot of documentation, time, and money. Consulting with us can make it easier for you, as we are there to guide you every step of the way.
You need to prepare a travel itinerary, since you will be asked about it in the DS-160 application form. You may also be asked about it during your interview with the consul.
Medical test is not required in the application of the US tourist visa (B1-visa).
For other inquiries, please do not hesitate to keep in touch with us by filling out the form for a free consultation. We would be most glad to help you.