With all the countries I’ve been to and with all the visa applications I’ve gone through, this I must admit is the first time I ever got nervous. Sure, there was an interview for my Europe visa but I wasn’t really nervous then. It’s not necessarily because of the country itself but simply because this trip to the US is one of the most important trips I would ever make – it’s for my sister’s wedding celebration! How could I miss this once in a life time event? I couldn’t! So imagine my nerves during the days nearing my interview. Not to mention, I don’t find myself a ‘safe bet’ because I am single and don’t exactly have a lot of ‘assets.’
I got ready for The Day – prayed, prayed and prayed some more (and asked all my prayer warriors to pray with and for me!) and prepared all my needed documents, paid the fee and scheduled my interview. I chose the 7:15am Monday schedule. Fair warning: be there 15minutes before your scheduled time and not a moment earlier because they don’t have a waiting area. Some vendors actually set up some plastic chairs near the entrance but they have a fee of P30! Haha! Just go to the entrance and you’ll see signs regarding the current appointments being processed.
Tip: don’t bring any electronics including USBs because you’ll be forced to leave it with one of the vendors, who claim to be “authorized vendors” and “I have been working here for 20 years now so you should trust us vendors” so if you don’t want to leave your valuable phone with them, leave it at home.
Another tip: Some “authorized” vendors sell ballpens, saying that sign pens won’t be accepted inside. Don’t fall for that. You don’t need a pen inside. There are some food stalls inside, just in case you get hungry or thirsty. I actually brought my own sandwich and it was allowed, though I wasn’t able to eat it because once inside, you just keep on moving through the stations. Sis advised me to wear something corporate so I wore slacks, a blouse and blazer though it’s not a requirement. Best to look ‘presentable.’
Process is simple enough. Just follow the staff’s instructions plus each “stage” has a number. Please read the signs scattered all over the place in order to move in a timely manner. The woman I was following took such a long time during biometrics simply because she didn’t read the instructions on how to do it correctly (and she wasn’t listening to the staff as well).
The consul asked me the usual questions:
· Why am I applying for a visa?
· Who am I visiting?
· Where am I working?
· What’s my job position?
· How long have I been working there?
· What other countries have I been to?
· How long will I stay in the US?
· Do I have immediate family there?
No additional documents – like bank certificates, itinerary etc – were asked of me. Afterwards, he said “OK, you’re all set. You’ll get your passport next week.” And that was that. The whole process including waiting time outside took only an hour.
I was caught off guard when Thursday came and my passport was delivered! That was just 3 days after the interview. Didn’t prepare an authorization letter with valid ID so my passport was received at home the next day.
Thank You Lord for this! Prayed super hard for favor and this was actually one of the items in my prayer requests during Victory’s Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting so praise God talaga! Can’t wait to visit the US and my sister and family for the next 10 years!