To B2 Or Not To B2
I’ve been out of the country and away from my family for almost a year. I have missed them so much even though we have constant communication like video call every non-working days. But long distance video call ain’t enough when homesickness sinks in and that being rational and making decisions are too difficult to do. I just broke out and can’t hide my longing feeling to see my family again especially my mother who has single-handedly nurtured and took care of me and my older brother. Thus, I have decided to bring her in the United States. I told her about my plan and she is in agreement with me. She loved the idea of visiting the US since she is also like me, a traveler. For her to get accepted in the US, she needs to apply for a non-immigrant visa. Non-immigrant visa for tourism purpose is categorised as B2. So, I have written a blogpost on what we had gone through to get that elusive visa and I entitled it, To B2 or not to B2.
First step, I told my mum to get all the necessary documents. We even tried to seek assistance with a travel agency for requirements but we never thought of teaming up with them because we know that we can do it by ourselves. These were the requirements she needed to get;
–US Visa Photo
It is usually a 2×2 photo but you still need to inform the photo centre that it is intended for US visa application since most photographers know what they need to do.
It is a plus if your passport has a stamp from other countries. It will help put an impression to the consul that you love to travel when getting a US visa.
–NSO Birth Certificate
Make sure to bring this document. The consul might ask for this but in my mum’s B2 application, the interviewer never ask for it.
–NSO Marriage Certificate
For married applicants.
–NSO Death Certificate for Widow/Widower
My mother is a widow for long time already, so, we have decided to add this document.
Since she is applying for B2 which is for tourism purpose, we opened a bank account under her name. Honestly, the money inside the bank that I have put up for her was just PhP50,000. That was the only amount I have saved up for her while I am still working and paying my debts such as car loans and other monthly dues. I’m not sure if the consul really look on this since the consul didn’t ask for it too.
–Certified True Copies of Assets
Good thing when I was still in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I helped my mum paid off her home loan. So, she owned the house and lot now and got the title for both.
–Original Employment Certificate
Having a job to return to is another sign of close ties to go back home. The interviewer always ask for the reason of going back home. An applicant must establish that, so, he/she can have an approve verdict.
–Income Tax Return
Just to see if you’ve been paying taxes and a law-abiding citizen.
Then, I got my own requirements, too and these were;
–Original Letter of Invitation
Since I am inviting my mother to come over the US, so, I wrote a letter of invitation and this is what I wrote:
(US phone number)
(my mother’s name)
Subject: Invitation to visit me in the U.S
I would like to extend this invitation for you to come and visit me in United States for a month or two. It sure would be nice to see you celebrate your birthday here. During your stay, I will show you the town where I live and some other places in Southeastern Ohio.
I will cover all of your financial responsibilities including travel to and from the United States, travel to and from destinations we will visit, meals, and housing. You will be staying with me at my home located at the above-mentioned address when we’re not on the road. I want to spend more time with you and compensate the year missing that we haven’t had our mother-son bonding.
You are going to love it! And I can’t wait to see you.
I asked for an employment certificate with letterhead and make sure the Human Resource Generalist put the phone number for contact information.
Included 3-month payslips
–Photocopy of Passport and Green Card
To show that I am a legal resident in the United States.
–NSO Birth Certificate
A document that will show that the applicant is related to the inviter.
–Original Bank Certification
This is one of the requirements for me but I didn’t provide this document since I’m new to my work and I am still starting to get financially stable and creating a good credit score.
After my mum gathered all her requirements, we were ready to apply online. We visited this site, Consular Electronic Application Centre and filled out every questions that were asked truthfully. All applicants must complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application. Make sure to print a copy of the form with the answers you provided since most of the consul’s questions comes from that form and the most important thing is to print out the confirmation message of your DS-160 application since the embassy will ask for that during your interview.
When we have her DS-160 confirmation, we were on the step of paying the application fee. For non-immigrant visa applicants, we are required to present a U.S visa application payment slip to pay for the application fee of machine-readable visa (MRV). To get the slip, visit this site by clicking here for Philippine applicants. Just make sure to select the deposit slip that matches your visa application fee from the list. To get the list, visit here. For my mum since she is applying for a tourist visa, we need to pay US$160 for B-type visa. So, we got the $160 MRV Fee Deposit Slip. We have two options of paying the deposit slip, either thru cash at the bank or making online payment. For online payment, an applicant can do it either BPI or Bancnet. But in my mum’s case, we visited the nearest BPI branch. My mum presented the deposit slip that we printed out and got a copy of it in return. Another important reminder, keep the receipt because you will need the receipt number printed on your receipt.
We have checked three bullet points for my mum’s visa application;
-MRV fee deposit slip receipt
Next step was to schedule for an interview. There are two options to get an appointment for interview;
first, to call (02) 976-8500 to 02 for calls within the Philippines and other countries aside from mainland United States or (703) 520-2235 for calls from mainland United States. The call center is open from 0800H to 2000H, Monday through Friday, GMT+8 Manila time, except on U.S and Philippine holidays.
or, book online through apply for a U.S. Visa site.
My mum got hers thru booking online. When setting it up, it only asked for the DS-160 application number and the receipt number. Once we secured those information, it showed us the calendar with dates open for interview and she got her scheduled interview last January 11, 2016 at 0730H.
Then on January 11th, she went to her scheduled interview in formal attire to U.S Embassy located in Roxas Boulevard. My mum told me the whole interview process and she said, it went smoothly. When she got to the most nerve-wracking part which is the one-on-one with the consul, she just answered his questions confidently. Questions asked were:
-what is your name?
-date of birth
-what is the purpose of your travel in the United States?
-how many months will you be staying in the U.S?
Few minutes, the consul congratulated my mum for getting the U.S visa. My mum just told the consul, thank you in numerous times and went directly to the courier to have her visa mailed in our home address within a week. I got her call few hours after that and I was crying with joy. I am so proud of her. Now that my mother has her B2 visa, it is time for me to plan her travel in coming over to the U.S. and I can’t wait to see and say to her, Welcome to Stars and Stripes!
As what we have gone through the entire process, it was a teeth-gritting and leg-numbing experience but it didn’t hinder us from climbing into that barrier that separates me and my mother from getting reunited in a foreign land. And this is just a beginning. To those who are planning to get a B2 visa, you can do it. Just believe in yourself. 😉