The Visa Hour: Summer Travel Edition

Hello, and welcome to the
fourth episode of the Visa Hour. [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG] Kevin. [SPEAKING IN TAGALOG]. Consular Officers [SPEAKING
IN TAGALOG] non-immigrant visas. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great. Today we’re focusing on
non-immigrant visas, which are for people
who want to travel to the United States
temporarily. This includes people
who want to be tourists, students or work in the United
States for a short period. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: The United
States is a large country. I, myself, I live in
– northern California – and there are many
opportunities for people who wish to travel
on non-immigrant visas in California. You could study at some
of our wonderful schools in the area. You could go to Alcatraz,
Golden Gate Bridge, see the Redwood Trees –
there’s many different things you can
do in California. I love it. I’ve taken advantage
of it and hopefully, one day many of you out
there can come and visit California as well. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right
and I am from a different part of the United States. A lot of people go to
California as a great tourist destination, but I
am also from the middle of the United States, which
also has interesting things to see and do. I’m from the great
city of Kansas. There is a tradition
of cowboys and rodeos and farmers out in that area
of the world that is also interesting to see. So I hope you come
out there, too. And we’d like to encourage
anyone watching to send us your questions about
traveling to the United States and we will answer
them live here. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
To send a question, please post your question
on Twitter using the #thevisahour or
post it on the U.S. Embassy Facebook page. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
And speaking of Twitter and Facebook, make
sure you follow the U.S. Embassy Twitter account at and we also have
a Facebook page at
Manila.USEmbassy. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Before
we start with questions, we want to make sure you
know about the other resources for learning
about U.S. visas. Please check out the Visa
Wall on our Facebook page where you can find lots of
useful information about all kinds of visas. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right.
And we also have a blog. This is a pretty new
initiative that we’ve started here at the embassy
and it’s part of our strategy to get as much
information out about visas in blogs as possible. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: And it’s
also something people at the embassy, ourselves, we
read the blog as well, so it’s a great resource
for people out there. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right.
It’s called VISAtisfiedVoyager. We answer – on the blog;
we answer immigrant questions and non-immigrant questions. So if anyone wants to
check that out it is
Questions from Twitter and Facebook. OK, question number one. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Wonderful. And I apologize in advance
if I do not pronounce anyone’s name correctly. This looks like it’s
from Jonathan Venario. “I want to visit my son –
I want my son to visit my United States
citizen’s wife. What visa do I need?” CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Well, I
think before we address the question, Jonathan wants
their child to go visit his U.S. citizen wife. I think the first thing we
have to do is establish if the child’s a U.S. citizen. We can’t issue a visa to
a U.S. citizen child. So the first thing I would
recommend is check to see if your U.S. citizen wife transmits U.S. citizenship to your child. If they don’t, they
are eligible for a non-immigrant visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great. And, in general, the way to
apply for a non-immigrant visa – everyone who’s interested
in a non-immigrant visa needs to go through
the same process – you have to apply online
and the best resource to get to the online application
we’ve established that the child is not
a U.S. citizen, we understand how
to apply for the visa; the correct visa-type
for somebody wanting to temporarily visit somebody
in the United States is a B-1/B-2 visa for business
or tourist travel. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great. And the child – even
if it’s a child, they would have to come in
for an interview with a Consular Officer. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Yeah. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: And so
next we have a question from Andrea. “If we’re married for three
years and we do not include our two-year-old son in
our tourist application, can this be a
factor for denial?” We recommend everybody is
honest for their reason for travel in their visa
applications and if you’re not taking your two-year-old
child with you and there’s a reason why, just explain
it during the interview. I think all Consular
Officers who conduct the interviews appreciate
honest answers to all their questions and people being
very honest for their reason for travel. Being able to – being able
to build a relationship when you’re interviewing is key
to being able to make an accurate adjudication. So please be honest. Please just explain why you
want to travel to the United States. I mean, nobody is going to
– if there’s a good reason why you’re leaving
your child behind, it will not be the singular
factor why a refusal would be issued. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right. And, Andre, is you
accidentally left the child off the tourist – off of the
application when you were applying, you can just
explain at the window, it was an accident,
you meant to put it, but like Kevin was saying,
just be honest about it and it shouldn’t – in and of
itself it is not a reason to be denied a tourist visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: When
we’re talking about visas and we’re talking about
individuals aspects of an application, whether it’s a
child on the application or something else, I think it’s
important very early to clarify that there is no
checklist that the Consular Officers
are looking for. There aren’t boxes that
applicants check and suddenly, magically,
you’re issued a visa. What the Consular Officer
is doing is assessing your application as a whole and
no one single factor will be the reason for your denial. So the officer is trained
to look at the situation as a whole on a case
by basis, as well. So just because you know
somebody who was issued with similar circumstances, that
is not a guarantee that you will be also. And in the same regard,
somebody who had similar circumstances
who was denied, that is not a guarantee
you will be either. The Consular Officers look
at everything on a case by case basis and they look at every
application in their entirety. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right. That’s right. It looks like we have
another question coming in from Angel. Angel wants to know if she
can exchange an expired Green Card for
a tourist visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Well, there’s no direct
exchange process. There’s no like
for like exchange. You can’t walk in one day,
hand over your Green Card, your legal permanent
residency card and walk out with a tourist visa. However, if you no longer
wish to live in the United States and you wish to
travel to the United States as a tourist there is a
process you can go through. You can relinquish your
legal permanent residency card. For that, you would
have to contact the Department of Homeland Security,
and then once you’ve done that, you now become eligible
for a tourist visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: And then
you go through the same process that anyone else
applying for a tourist visa would go through. You have to make the
application online and you have to come in for
an interview with a Consular Officer. Actually, there is a new
program that Manila has implemented, called the
Visa Reissuance Program. And this might be a good
time to talk about that, too. Because the Consul General
here really wants to make sure that people are traveling
to the United States and getting as efficient
service as possible, there is a visa
reissuance program and it’s for people who have had
B-1/B-2 tourist visas in the past and there’s nine
criteria for qualifying for the Visa Reissuance Program. Those that qualify don’t
actually have to come back in for an interview in front
of a Consular Officer. I’m going to refer people
to the website as the authority
on the nine criteria, but the overview is that you
have to have a valid B-1/B-2 visa that was issued within
the last 10 years and has not – has a 10-year validity
and has not expired within the last year. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Absolutely, it’s a great new program
available here at the embassy. Though, please, please let
me state that every day we do turn people away for the VRP
– the Visa Reissuance Program – because they haven’t read
the criteria correctly. So please, if you believe
you’re eligible, go online, check out the criteria and
please take advantage of this new program. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great.
OK, it looks like
Nancy has a question. Nancy wants to know how
much is the application for a visa and the visa fee? And she wants to know where
do I pay for the application? Nancy, actually, the visa
fee has recently increased. There are different
fees for the different non-immigrant visa categories. The current fee for the
B1-B2 is $160 that is also payable in the
peso equivalent. You pay for it
through any BPI. And, again, to get the
list of BPI locations, you can go to our website CONSULAR OFFICER 1: You’ll
hear us talk a lot today about our website. It’s a great resource
for anybody out there. Something like this Visa
Hour is also a great resource. But what we’re talking about
today is complementing the information
on the website. So I recommend that you
all go to the website, check out the information,
check out the Facebook page and also take advantage of
resources and check out the Visa Hour and
future editions. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
OK, it looks like
Gemma has a question. “Can someone applying for a
CR-1 visa also apply for a B-1 visa and what are
the changes of approval? CONSULAR OFFICER 1: The answer
is you can apply for both. One of the criteria for a
B-1 visa is that you do not have a residence that you
intend to abandon – so that you do not have a residence
that you intend to abandon. It could be difficult for
somebody who expressly – has expressly shown the desire
to go live in the United States through applying for a CR-1
visa, but you’re not ineligible. And there are cases where
somebody could qualify for a CR-1 and a B-1 depending on
their individual circumstances. So it’s certainly
possible to apply. I can’t tell you what
the chances are because everything, again, is
on a case by case basis. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right. And just to clarify there if
anyone doesn’t know what a CR-1 visa is that is someone
who is married to an American citizen for less
than two years and that’s an immigrant visa. So it kind of begs the
question of if you have an immigrant visa
pending in any category, can you still apply
for a tourist visa? As Kevin was saying, yes,
you can still apply for a tourist visa, but again,
what the Consular Officer is looking at is the totality
of the circumstances and to be issued a B-1/B-2 visa,
the Consular Officer needs to be convinced that
the person intends to come back to, in our
case the Philippines, and stay here in
the Philippines. So – CONSULAR OFFICER 1: I think
there are many myths and misunderstandings about the
non-immigrant visa process. But one thing we should
probably clarify is legally the burden is upon the
applicant to prove they’re qualified. So the applicant has to be
able to overcome what we would call the presumption
of immigrant intent. The burden is upon the
applicant to show that they’ll return. So having a CR-1 application
is something the applicant would have to be able to
adequately explain before they could qualify
for the visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right.
OK, Carmela has written in. Carmela wants to know is
the national identification number being asked in the
DS-160 form the same as the tax identification number. Carmela is filling out her
DS-160 at the same time she’s [INAUDIBLE]
– no I’m just kidding – [LAUGHTER] What do you think, Kevin? CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
I don’t know. [LAUGHTER] CONSULAR OFFICER 2: I think
the DS-160 is asking for if there’s any sort of
national ID number. In the United States we have
social security numbers. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
We do. Yeah. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: So if
there’s one number that you use for tax identification
purposes that follows you through life, it’s the
same number and it’s only assigned to you – CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Yes. Yeah.
You can include it. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: We have
a question here from Eva. “Can my father visiting
us in Singapore, carrying a tourist
visa, file his U.S. visa here
instead of Manila?” It’s a great questions because there are many Filipinos living and working
throughout the world. There are a number of
countries that have large Filipino populations and
people want to know, while they’re outside of the
Philippines can they file their tourist visa
application at a different location? The answer is, yes.
I mean, yes, you can. There’s nothing
stopping you. Of course, the Consular
Officer wants to be able to establish your links to
a country outside of the United States. So it’s possible the
Consular Officer may feel more comfortable if you’re
applying in your place of residence, but there is no
bar to you applying in a different country of even
qualifying while applying in a different country. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right
and the reverse of that is true as well. If there are people who are
not Philippine citizens living here in the
Philippines who want to apply for a tourist visa
to the United States, they can apply here
in Manila as well. OK, Matt has a question. He says that he has been
denied a visa three times. He believes he has enough
ties and he wants to know if there’s any other way to be
considered for a tourist visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Well, I
think this goes back to what we’re saying about the
– that the burden of proof is on the applicant. And all I can
say to Matt is, if you believe you’re
qualified, Matt, you’re welcome to reapply
for the visa and try and put your best foot
forward in the interview, if you haven’t already. It’s something that’s – if
you can present your case in the best possible way,
that would be what I would recommend. I mean, it’s – the burden
is on you to show you’re qualified. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
And sometimes people ask is there a way to appeal
the decision of a Consular Officer
at the interview. And, basically,
the answer is no. The decision of the Consular
Officer looking at the application and talking to
the person at the interview – the Consular Officer makes
a decision if that person is qualified or not. And there is no formal
appeal process. As Kevin is saying,
basically, if you feel that your situation has
significantly changed and that you want to reapply
again, you can reapply, but there’s no
way to appeal it. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
And I’ve heard somebody ask me if after a certain
number of refusals, are they on a
permanent black list. And the answer
is certainly not. You can apply for a visa as
many times as you wish and there are people who have
had numerous refusals who, as Somer said, their
circumstances change, who are now qualified
for the visa. So just because you’re refused
a certain number of times, you’re not black listed,
but we do recommend that you do wait until
your circumstances change. So we have one more question
just coming in now. And the question is, “Do I
need to speak English at my NIV interview – NIV meaning
non-immigrant visa. And the answer,
again, is you do not. We have a large number of
interpreters available for a variety of languages. I think we cover virtually
every Philippine language, but we also have a wide
variety of different languages. Somer, you speak – CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
cover languages including Arabic, Spanish – I think
we were counting – we cover more than 20 languages
available to interpret at the non-immigrant
visa window. So if you feel like you’re
under pressure or you feel nervous about speaking
English, you’re welcome, as you approach the window,
to request an interpreter for your interview. OK, and so the next
question coming in is, “My husband is an American
living outside the United States, but not
in the Philippines. Will apply for my CR-1
visa while living there?” CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Well,
I guess the question is, “Can I apply for my CR-1
visa while living there?” Is that right? CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
I guess. Yes. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Yes. Yes.
The short answer is yes. The State Department has
an extensive network of embassies and consulates all
over the world and it’s a global world out there, so
we know that people of one nationality are not
necessarily just living in that one country anymore. So yes, we accept
applications from around the world. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
As Somer was saying, we’re fully aware, both as
individuals and as the State Department, that we’re
living in a very dynamic 21st century environment. People move around. Even ourselves, we’re living
here in the Philippines. People move around from
country to country following family or jobs or
opportunities or whatever reason, so we aware that
people move around from country to country and the
option is there to apply in a different country or in
a different environment. So – CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK. Another question: “I’m from
Digos City and I would like to apply for a tourist visa. Where can I get
an application?” Well, the authority on
getting an application – there’s actually step by
step instructions on how to fill out the application
is So I would direct anyone
there to get the link to the application. And the application is
actually a pretty easy process. There’s a place where they
allow you to do a test photo because we do require photos
for the visa as well. There’s an app on there
where they allow you to scan the photo in and test it
beforehand so you don’t submit a photo
that is faulty. So – CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Yeah, we
are aware that the process can be daunting for people. There’s online application
forms you have to go through and all the way leading up
to the final interview at the window with
the Consular Officer. I’d like to reassure
everybody watching, we are aware that it can be
intimidating or daunting for people and we do try
and make it as simple as possible. As Somer said, the process
online is step by step by step. And we do have
resources available. If you do have questions,
you can contact us again through Facebook,
through Twitter, or through a number of
the email addresses we’ll be giving out later. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK, it
looks like we have another question coming in. “Hi, can a U.S. citizen spouse apply for a tourist visa and not a spouse visa?” A U.S. citizen spouse? Anyway, if the person is
a U.S. citizen, they don’t need
a tourist visa. And that goes to Kevin’s
point earlier that if a child has derived U.S. citizenship from a parent they cannot get
a tourist visa. They have to get
a U.S. passport. If someone has a U.S.
passport, they don’t need the tourist visa. They can just go to the
U.S. whenever they like. If the question is can a
spouse of a U.S. citizen apply for a tourist
visa, the answer is yes. Someone can apply
for a tourist visa. The implied
question there is, is someone going to be
qualified for a tourist visa? And, again, as
Kevin is saying, it depends on the
person’s circumstance. A Consular Officer has the
interview and uses the information available to try
to make a determination if the person – on the person’s
ties outside of the United States are strong
enough to bring them back after a short visit
to the United States. So sometimes spouses
– if the U.S. citizen is actually living
in the United States, sometimes spouses will find
it especially difficult to prove that they are coming
back to the Philippines, but – CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
As we were saying earlier, we are very well aware that
people travel and live in different countries. People are a lot more mobile
internationally and globally than what they used to
do – they used to be. So we are aware there’s a
large number of Americans living here in the
Philippines who will reside here permanently. They have no desire to go
back to the United States and a tourist visa may be
the best way for their spouse to go over there. We’re also aware though that
we have to consider the fact that a tourist visa for
the spouse of an American citizen may also be seen as
a quickie immigrant visa and a way to get in and
stay in the United States. So this is why the
interview is so important. We have interview-based
adjudications. So the interview is
important and we are aware that every single person
who walks to our window is a different case
– an individual case – we don’t profile people. We don’t say, “This type of
person can’t get a visa.” Everybody’s adjudicated
on their own merits. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great. It looks like Matt – oh,
had a follow-up question. “You said it’s better to
answer the question asked. Can I present other
factors in the interview, even if not asked? CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Well,
something – often it’s been said that people are
sometimes too passive in their interviews. The burden is on you to
prove your ineligibility. If you believe that you have
something – you’re willing – you can present it. Don’t be upset if the
officer doesn’t accept it, but if you believe it
will help your case, you can present
anything you wish. So I would hate for you to
walk away from the interview and say, “You know what,
the officer didn’t ask me for that one piece of
information that would have qualified me. My advice to you would be,
if you believe you have a piece of information at the
interview that qualifies you, make that information
available to the officer at the time. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
In Matt’s situation – Matt is the one who
was denied three times – CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Yes. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
That might be one of the questions that’s
asked because, again, we say people can interview
and if you’re denied you can interview again. But there’s usually the
caveat of if things have significantly
changed for you, so the officer might
ask you what’s changed. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: When
we’re talking about evidence as well, or things to
back up your application, one thing we’re all asked
very frequently is they did not look at my
supporting documents. I would have been issued
if they’d looked at my supporting documents. As I said previously,
we have interview-based adjudications. The supporting documents
are there only if needed. We do not do paper-based
adjudications. You should have it available
if the officer asks for it; you should have it available
if you really want to show it to the officer, but
there’s no guarantee that your supporting documents
will be looked at because they may not be material
to the adjudication. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great. It looks like Ivy
has written in. She says, “My husband is
in the military and he’s stationed outside the U.S. but will soon move
back to the U.S. Is there a way to make
the CR-1 visa faster?” CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Well – today, Ivy, we’re talking about
non-immigrant visas, but you can direct your
question – we do have an immigrant visa email that
you can direct your question to and hopefully they
can help you with that. The email is
[email protected] So again, anybody who has
immigrant visa questions, please direct your questions
to [email protected] CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK, this
is a follow-up question to some of that – the
supporting documents that you were talking
about, Kevin. “Is there a minimum balance
requirement that I must have or that I should show in
my bank account that will assure my visa
will be granted?” CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Well,
nothing will assure your visa is granted. Nothing will assure
your visa’s denied. As we said, everything is
on a case by case basis and there isn’t a magic figure
that Consular Officers are looking for. There isn’t a magic figure
that if it appears in your bank account will make you
eligible or qualified for the visa. So our advice to all the
applicants is be honest, be open, and try and have
a good rapport with the officer – how about
that – back and forth. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right,
and before – in certain circumstances I’ve been
asked about show money. Is it important to
have show money – CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Yeah, absolutely – CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
And again, there’s not a minimum balance and honesty
is the best way to go. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
And you can watch this video later on YouTube – CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK. And if you want to have
knowledge on what the U.S. Embassy is doing
here in Manila, make sure that you
like us on Facebook –
Manila.USEmbassy CONSULAR OFFICER 1: We like
Facebook friends, so yeah, please, all of you like
us on Facebook, yes, and follow us on Twitter at CONSULAR OFFICER 2: And
again, I love the blog – [LAUGHTER] CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
You do love the blog. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: I think
everyone should look at the blog. It’s called the
VISAtisfiedVoyager and it’s at
Philippines. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
And there really are some nuggets of information
in the blog. It’s a wonderful resource. So again, I recommend
reading the blog also. So – CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Another
question has come in. “How long does it take for
a visa to be released after submission of
additional documents? I sent the documents
on May 16.” You’ll hear this being
said a lot during today. Everything is on a
case by case basis. There’s no guarantee that
the additional documents you provided are exactly what
the Consular Officer’s looking for. Everything is on a
case by case basis. And apart from that, Somer,
I don’t have anything to add. Is there anything you could
add to that question? CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right,
I echo what you’re saying there. It depends on the case. It depends on what the
documents were that were asked for. But if it’s a non-immigrant
visa and they’re asking for more documents, if the
documents meet the requirements sometimes it
takes a couple of days for the documents to
actually get back to the Consular Officer even
if they’re submitted. And so once the officer
has a chance to review the documents, if the officer
believes that the documents meet the requirements and
the visa is approved, we generally give a timeline
of about 7 to 10 days before the visa is in the
hands of the applicant. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
We recognize that every applicant is an individual. And with every applicant
being an individual and treated as such, it
makes every case unique. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
That’s right. [LAUGHTER] Somebody wants to know why
this gentleman has an accent and where is he from? CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Well,
I grew up in the United Kingdom. I was born in the
United Kingdom. I moved over to
the United States. Like many people here
in the Philippines, I became an immigrant
to the United States. I come from northern
California where there’s a large immigrant
Filipino population. I know many – before I even
came to the Philippines, I knew many, many,
many Filipinos. In the upcoming weeks, I’m
doing a [INAUDIBLE] program which is a Tagalog language
series the embassy is putting forward, and it’s
me talking in Tagalog about my immigrant experiences
in the United States. So in addition to checking
this out on Facebook, in addition to checking this
out on YouTube, be sure to [NO AUDIO/VIDEO] CONSULAR OFFICER 2: —
vary depending on a lot of factors, but the best case –
the best place to ask about a pending CR-1 application
is through the USCIS – the United States Citizenship
and Immigration Services in the area where
you are applying. So in this instance she said
that her husband’s in New Jersey, it’s probably best
to ask USCIS in New Jersey or nearby there where he’s
filing the application. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Here in
the Philippines we have a very educated and
knowledgeable applicant pool and so I’m sure many people
know the differences between IVs and NIVs, but just in
case people aren’t 100% sure, a non-immigrant visa
is for a temporary stay in the United States, whether
that being a short-term work contract, tourism, or
education in the United States. The CR-1 visa we’re talking
about in the previous questions is a visa for
somebody to go live permanently in the United
States with their spouse. So – CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK,
somebody is asking, again, what type of supporting
document should I bring to my interview? OK. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: I would
recommend that you bring whatever documents you think
strengthen your case to establish your
qualifications for the visa. Again, do not be upset
or disappointed if those documents are not looked at. I recommend you be as
prepared as possible; you bring everything
that you possibly can to strengthen your case. Some of it won’t be used,
but just so you never have that “what if” moment if the
officer asked for a document that you don’t have, try and
be as prepared as possible. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: And this
might be a good time to talk about – sometimes we’ve
heard rumors that applicants think that there are some
myths going on out there about what it takes to
approved and I’ve heard the myth of if I apply at a
certain time of the day I’m more likely to be approved. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Certain
time of the year or we have a quote of visas we
have to – yeah, yeah. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: So there
is the myth that there’s “X” number of visas that
the officers are willing to give out in a day and
– but that is not true. Every person that
comes up to the window, as Kevin is
making that point, is seen as an individual and
has the same shot at getting a visa as the next person
or the person before them. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
As we said earlier, we have interview-based
adjudications, which means, the interaction that you
have with the officer is very important. It is very possible and
frequent for people to be issued visas with no
supporting documentation. Supporting documentation
is not a requirement. It is something
that may help you, depending on the
circumstances, but it is not a requirement
for the issuance of a visa. It depends on the
circumstances, the individuals and
the particular case. Is it OK to travel as a
tourist to the United States, then move on to Canada and
then leave from there? CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
The short is answer is yes. As long as you have a valid
tourist visa to enter the United States, you can enter
the United States – another question that we get asked
frequently is around the dates of the tourist visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Yes. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: People
sometimes wonder if there’s not a certain length of
validity on the visa, when can they enter. But basically the short answer
on that is as long as the visa is valid you can enter the
United States to the day that that visa
is valid until. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Yes. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: And then
if someone chooses to go from the United
States to Canada, as long as they have
the Canadian visa, then that’s fine. They don’t have to come back
to the United States to come back to the Philippines. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Let’s take one more
question from Matt. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
[LAUGHTER] Hello, Matt. “In my last denial the
Consul said I was too young.” Matt finds this unfair and
offensive for the denial. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Well, not being there, not seeing the interview,
I can’t speak about the particulars of
the exact case, or what was said or
what wasn’t said. I recommend that if you
think you can put forward a better case for adjudication
or issuance that you can apply again. Again though, there are no
guarantees – depending upon your circumstances and
your qualifications. I know I’ve never denied
anyone particularly for being too young. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right. Age – there’s a not a
minimum age someone has to be in order to
qualify for a visa. Again, more than
just the age, it depends upon the
circumstances around someone’s situation. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: You are
an individual who will be adjudicated as such. You’re not a list of
boxes to be checked. There’s no minimum
finances you have to show. There’s no
minimum age limit. And as such, you’re
adjudicated on the totality of your case. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Jonathan wants to know, “Can I go to the U.S.
and file a divorce to my U.S. citizen wife? She’s married to
another man in the U.S. What visa do I need?” She’s married to another
man in the United States. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Well, regarding divorces, divorces are handled
on a state by state, county by county basis. Different states and
different counties have different residency
requirements and it isn’t something that the State
Department deals with at all. But you are asking what type
of visa would you require. Now, if you have to
establish residency, I don’t believe a B-1/B-2
would be the appropriate visa class. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right. If your intention is to go
to the United States for a short visit, then a person
can apply for a B-1/B-2. But you’re saying,
right Kevin, in order to file a divorce
in the United States in the U.S. court,
you have to show that you are living
in the United States, then it’s going to
be difficult to get the B-1/B-2. So my advice would be look
into the state requirements and if there’s a U.S. citizen wife in the United States, she might be able to file
a divorce in the United States. But anyway – that’s your
own personal circumstances. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: And it
also sounds to me like your wife has two marriages, so – CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right,
there are some other issues – CONSULAR OFFICER 1: – maybe
that’s something you could report to the relevant
authorities if you wish to. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
There’s somebody else emailing or tweeting in. “My husband is a U.S.
citizen and working in Asia on a yearly contract. Will he be allowed to go
with me to the interview?” This is – if you’re coming
in for a tourist visa, generally speaking, no. The point that we’re making
again is that the Consular Officer wants to
interview the applicant and what’s important is the
interview with that applicant. And so no, an American
citizen spouse is usually not allowed into
the interview. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
The question is, are you qualified
for the visa. And you need to establish
that on your own merits. So it’s something I know
speaking to a number of Americans they
get frustrated; they can’t accompany their
girlfriend or their wife to the visa interview, but it’s
important to establish the applicant and have the
applicant in the interview establish if they’re
qualified for the visa or not. I understand how people
can be frustrated, but from an interviewing
point of view, it’s important. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Right. And that might be a
good time to say, too, that minors who are 17
years old and younger, they need to apply with a
parent or legal guardian for their interviews, but that’s
basically the only the people that can bring in
other people with them. OK, it looks like
Eileen is writing in. “Hi, I just want to ask if
my husband doesn’t meet the requirements for finances,
what will happen? Is there a possibility
I get refused?” CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Well, hi, Eileen. As we said there are no –
for non-immigrant visas there are no financial
requirements. If you want to submit
financial documents because you think it will strengthen
your case and increase your chances of issuance, you’re
welcome to bring those documents in. But there are no minimum
financial requirements to qualify for
non-immigrant visa. It is slightly different
for immigrant visas. And, Eileen, if you’re
talking about immigrant visas, I recommend
again that you direct your questions to
[email protected] Thank you, Eileen.
I hope that helps. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Great. And if you are enjoying this
or there’s tidbits that you wanna go back and review,
you can watch this video later on YouTube at – all one word. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: And you
can like us on Facebook. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: And we
encourage everyone to follow us on Twitter at And one of my favorite
resources the VISAtisfiedVoyager. There are lots and lots of
scenarios listed on the blog at CONSULAR OFFICER 1: And I’ve
heard people think there’s a lot of secrecy and a lot
of things that happens behind the scenes in
visa interviews. This visa hour and
these other resources – we like to try and be
as open as possible. We want to provide you with
as much information as possible, so you’re as educated and as
well informed as possible. So again, continue to
check these resources out. Check out Twitter, Facebook,
and watch the Visa Hour every opportunity. We have a question
from Mike. “If a traveler meets somebody
as nice as either of you during a vacation in the
U.S., can the traveler marry him or her
in Las Vegas?” [LAUGHTER] Well, first of all, let’s
just say we’re both married. Right? CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Sorry, Mike. [LAUGHTER] Just kidding. CONSULAR OFFICER
1: Sorry, Mike. You can get married in the
United States if you’re there – if you’re there in
the United States you can get married. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
And, by the way, if you haven’t been to Vegas,
it’s a great place to go. I love Vegas. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
We have a lot of great tourist attractions
in the United States. And, in fact, the
president, President Obama, has just put out a new
announcement that he wants to encourage as many
tourists and visitors to the United States
as possible. And there’s actually a new
website that highlights all the states of the United
States and some of the interesting tourist
attractions that are available. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: – both Somer and I – we were
checking out the site ourselves. We were reading about
our own home states. And it was fascinating. So before you get to explore
America for real with your tourist visa, we recommend
that you discover America through CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Wonderful. Ivy. Hello, Ivy, again. “If I get a tourist visa
before I get a new passport with my changed
or married name, should I have the
visa changed?” Good question, Ivy. Basically, if you have a
tourist visa that is valid and you have a passport
in a different name, what you can do is in your
– you can bring in your NSO documents that shows that
you’re married and that shows the name change. And/or, if you want to get
a new visa that’s issued in your new name,
so that it matches, you have to apply
for a new visa. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
And, again, if you have any questions
– anything we don’t answer today regarding
non-immigrant visas, you can email us at
[email protected] So I believe after
we’re finished today, this is going on
YouTube, right? So if anybody misses it, if
you wanna tell your friends to watch this, all this
valuable information we’re sharing with you today, you
can watch this video later or tell your friends
about it on YouTube at CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Something that I’ve heard is sometimes is a little
daunting for people, is how short the
interviews can be. And sometimes the officer
might be perceived as being a little abrupt
in the interview. So I know that’s something
that people sometimes worry about, but there are a lot
of applicants every day, so the interviews sometimes
are not lengthy but the Consular Officer is
reviewing the information in the computer, on the
online application, and as well as talking
to the applicant that they’re interviewing. But sometimes the
interviews are not lengthy. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: My step
by step guide to having the best interview possible
for an applicant would be first of all, be honest. Second of all, if you’re
not comfortable in English, do request an interpreter. Be prepared. Have everything you think
may help in your application and also, be aware of
the law which is the burden of proof is on you as
well, the applicant, OK? So this is what I would say
is the step by step plan to give you the best
opportunity to put your best foot forward. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Jessy has a question here. “I am a Filipino and
planning to study abroad in San Francisco area. Can I change my B-1/B-2
visa to a student visa?” CONSULAR OFFICER 1: If you
mean can you walk into the embassy with a B-1/B-2 visa
and have it a direct swap for an F-1, which
is a student visa. That isn’t possible. What you would have to
do is come in and apply for an F-1 visa. The reason we have to do
that is because the process for applying for an F-1
visa is different from the process for applying
for a B-1/B-2 visa. The required documents
are different. So you can’t do that. I do encourage you to go
study in San Francisco. There are some fantastic schools
out in northern California. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Yeah, all the best. CONSULAR OFFICER 2: OK. Looks like Katrina is writing in. Katrina wants to know,
“How do I get started applying for a visa?” All right. The best place to start –
I’m gonna refer you again to And as Kevin says, it’s
probably a good idea to get some of your – even before
you start the application process – get some of
your documents in order; make sure that you have a
passport and you have some plans that you know where
you’re going and your intentions and then go to
the and they will take you to the
online application process to fill out the DS-160. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: Well, I
believe that’s time, Somer. We wanna thank everybody
for their questions today. Hopefully, we’ve been able
to answer as many as the questions as possible. But if there are still
questions people have that we haven’t addressed,
please send your emails for non-immigrant visa question
to [email protected] CONSULAR OFFICER 2: Wonderful. So we do encourage everyone
to enjoy the United States. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
Travel to the United States. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Discover America. CONSULAR OFFICER 1:
We’re back and forth
from the United States, so you never know maybe
I’ll see you at a 49ers football game. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Or at Disney World with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. CONSULAR OFFICER 1: And you
can always check out the pandas at San Diego Zoo. So from me, Kevin,
and from Somer, this is the end
of the visa hour. And we’d like to remind
you to check out future visa hours in the future. So until next time. CONSULAR OFFICER 2:
Thank you.

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