Non-Immigrant U.S. Visas

1.      What is a non-immigrant visa?

A non-immigrant visa is used by tourists, business people, students, or specialty workers who wish to stay for a particular period of time in the United States to accomplish specific purposes. According to U.S. visa laws and regulations, most non-immigrant visa applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have strong ties to their country of residence and must show that they intend to depart the United States after their temporary stay.

 

2.      What are “ties to the Philippines”?

Ties are those things, tangible and intangible, which would bind the applicant to the Philippines such as family relationships, employment, properties, income that would indicate that they intend to return to the Philippines after their visit to the U.S.

 

3.      What if the applicant cannot sufficiently establish his ties to the Philippines?

Failure to convince the interviewer of the applicant’s ties to the Philippines would result in the denial of the visa application of the applicant.

 

4.      What are the kinds of non-immigrant U.S. visas one can apply?

There are many kinds of U.S. visas that one can apply for, for various purposes of temporary travel. They are:

 

Purpose of Travel

Visa Category

Required: Before applying for visa

Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)

B-1

(NA)

Au pair (exchange visitor)

J

SEVIS

Australian professional specialty

E-3

DOL

Border Crossing Card: Mexico

BCC

(NA)

Business visitor

B-1

(NA)

CNMI-only transitional worker

CW-1

(USCIS)

Crewmember

D

(NA)

Diplomat or foreign government official

A

(NA)

Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer

B-1

(NA)

Employee of a designated international organization or NATO

G1-G5, NATO

(NA)

Exchange visitor

J

SEVIS

Foreign military personnel stationed in the United States

A-2

NATO1-6

(NA)

Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics

O

USCIS

Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

Professional: Chile, Singapore

H-1B1 – Chile

H-1B1 – Singapore

DOL

International cultural exchange visitor

Q

USCIS

Intra-company transferee

L

USCIS

Medical treatment, visitor for

B-2

(NA)

Media, journalist

I

(NA)

NAFTA professional worker: Mexico, Canada

TN/TD

(NA)

Performing athlete, artist, entertainer

P

USCIS

Physician

J, H-1B

SEVIS

Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)

J

SEVIS

Religious worker

R

USCIS

Specialty occupations in fields requiring highly specialized knowledge

H-1B

DOL then USCIS

Student: academic, vocational

F, M

SEVIS

Temporary agricultural worker

H-2A

DOL then USCIS

Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature

H-2B

DOL then USCIS

Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor

B-2

(NA)

Training in a program not primarily for employment

H-3

USCIS

Treaty trader/treaty investor

E

(NA)

Transiting the United States

C

(NA)`

Victim of Criminal Activity

U

USCIS

Victim of Human Trafficking

T

USCIS

Non-immigrant (V) Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)

V

(NA)

Renewals in the U.S. – A, G, and NATO Visas

 

(NA)

 

Before applying got a visa at the U.S. Embassy or consulate, the following may be required:

  1. DOL – The U.S. employer must obtain foreign labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, prior to filing a petition with USCIS.
  2. USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval of petition or application (The required petition or application depends on the visa category you plan to apply for.)
  3. SEVIS – Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
  4. (NA) = Not Applicable – Additional approval by another U.S. government agency is not required prior to applying for a visa.

 

5.      How can one apply for a US non-immigrant Visa?

A US non-immigrant visa applicant may apply in the following steps:

  1. Pay the Application Fee;
  2. Prepared the required documents;
  3. Schedule an interview;
  4. Attend the interview

                            

6.      How can one pay the Application Fee?

Non-immigrant visa applicants are required to present a U.S. visa application payment slip to pay the machine-readable visa (MRV) application fee. Before going to the bank, applicant must print the applicable U.S. visa application payment slip and take it to the bank to pay the fee.

There is an expiration date on the payment slip. Bank agents will not accept payments based on expired slips. Each slip has a unique receipt number.  Applicants will not be able to schedule an appointment without the receipt number.  If paying for more than one applicant, the payment slip cannot be reproduced nor used for lump sum payment.

 

7.      What are the application fees per visa category?

Nonimmigrant visa applicants must pay the machine-readable visa  (MRV) application fee shown on the schedules below.  The fee is based on the purpose of the trip or visa category.

 

Visa Type

Purpose of Travel

MRV Fee

 

Non-Petition Based Non-immigrant Visas (except E)

B-1

For general business purposes

USD160.00

B-1

For personal/domestic employees of B, E, F, H, I, J, L, O, P and Q visa holders and U.S. citizens temporarily assigned to the United States

USD160.00

B-2

For general pleasure, visit to friends and relatives, medical treatment and amateur/unpaid participants in cultural or sports events

USD160.00

C-1

People transiting through the U.S.

USD160.00

C-1/D

Crew members

USD160.00

F

Students in Academic or Language Programs and Dependents

USD160.00

I

Journalists and Members of the Media

USD160.00

J

Exchange Visitors and Dependents

USD160.00

M

Students in Vocational or other Non-Academic Programs and Dependents

USD160.00

TD

NAFTA Derivative

USD160.00

 

Petition – Based Non-Immigrant Visas

CW-1

Transitional Workers in the CNMI

USD190

CW-2

Dependents of Transitional Workers in the CNMI

USD190

H-1B

Temporary Workers in Specialty Occupation

USD190

H-2A

Temporary or Seasonal Agricultural Workers

USD190

H-2B

Temporary or Seasonal Non-Agricultural Workers

USD190

H-3

Trainees other than medical or academic

USD190

H-4

Dependents of Temporary Workers

USD190

L

Intra-Company Transferees and Dependents

USD190

O

 Temporary Workers with Extraordinary Ability

USD190

P

Athletes and Entertainers

USD190

Q

Cultural Exchange Visitors

USD190

R

Religious Workers and Dependents

USD190

 

Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor Nonimmigrant Visas

E-1

Treaty Traders

USD205

E-2

Treaty Investors

USD205

E-2C

Treaty Investors to the CNMI

USD205

 

8.      What are the ways to pay the MRV fee?

There are three ways to pay the MRV fee. They are:

  1. Pay in cash (prevailing pesos equivalent of the MRV fee) at any branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI);
  2. Pay through online bill payment option provided by BPI for their customers;
  3. Online payment through Bancnet.

 

9.      Is there an expiry period to set the date of interview after payment of the visa application fee?

Yes. The payment is valid only for one (1) year after the date of the actual payment. Thus, the applicant has to set their interview date within that time frame. Any further, the applicant has to pay the visa application fee again in order to be processed for interview.

 

10.  Would cancelation of the visa application entitle the applicant to a refund of his MRV application fee?

No. Visa application fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. There are no exceptions to this rule.

 

11.  What are the basic requirements for the application of a non-immigrant visa?

The basic requirements needed to be prepared for the application of a non-immigrant visa are:

  1. DS-160 Online Non-Immigrant Visa Electronic Application
  2. Passport – signed passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of intended departure from the United States.
  3. One standard 2”x2” photo.
  4. Copy of Extension of Stay/Change of Status, if applicable.
  5. Proof of relationship – if applying with/for dependents.
  6. Additional requirements based on the visa class being applied for may be asked.

The applicant must also present all previously issued passports of notarized affidavits of loss of such passports, if applicable.

An applicant must also prepare other documents that would establish his “ties to the Philippines” such as, but not limited to:

  1. Bank account statements;
  2. Land titles;
  3. Certification from employer;
  4. Income tax returns.

 

12.  How can one schedule an interview at the Philippine Embassy?

The visa applicant can book an appointment for their interview by calling (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. Appointments can also be booked online through http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph.

 

13.  Can an applicant reschedule his interview?

Yes. Applicants are only allowed to reschedule twice (not including the initial appointment) without penalty. If the second rescheduling attempt is canceled, an applicant will only be allowed to reschedule a new date after a waiting period of 90 calendar days.

 

14.  What if the applicant misses the scheduled interview, can he reset for a new date?

No. The applicant must repeat the whole process and apply all over again.


15.  What if the applicant choses to book an interview with his family?

In cases where the family applicants wish to be interviewed on the same day, they may book an appointment for the same day, although each member will be on different time slots.

 

16.  Are all applicants required to go through the interview process?

Yes. All applicants must appear at the Embassy for interview, except government officials travelling on official business and applying for A1, A2, G1, G2, or G4 visas.

 

17.  What if an applicant is in poor health and cannot be physically present for his interview, can he be allowed to have a representative represent him during the interview?

No. All applicants are required to appear at the Embassy for their interview, except those applying for diplomatic visa.

 

18.  What if the visa applicant is a minor child, is he allowed to go to the interview by himself?

No. A minor must be accompanied by at least one (1) parent during the interview. In the event that the minor’s parents are both dead or outside the country, he must be accompanied by a guardian. According to Philippine laws, a minor is anyone who is 17 years of age or younger and unmarried.

 

19.  Can an applicant be accompanied by their U.S. citizen significant other or relative during their interview?

No. All U.S. citizens and U.S. Legal Permanent Residents are prohibited from accompanying the Visa applicants in the interview area.

 

20.  An applicant does not have all the requirements on the date of his scheduled interview. Would he be allowed to submit them later?

No. The applicant must be in possession of all the basic documentary requirements before an appointment can be made. However, extra requirements may be asked by the interviewer later on which can be submitted after the interview.

 

21.  How could an applicant find out if his application was successful?

The interviewer would inform the applicant at the conclusion of the interview if they qualify for a U.S. visa. If the visa is approved, the passport with the U.S. visa would be delivered by the courier service to the address provided when the appointment was made. The courier would deliver to Philippine addresses only.

 

22.  What if the applicant was already a previous holder of a U.S. visa and merely wishes to renew it?

Some visa applicants may be eligible for an appointment through the U.S. Embassy in Manila’s Visa Reissuance Program (VRP). If qualified for a VRP appointment, applicants need only to pay the fee, fill out the form, schedule an appointment and appear at the Embassy at the appointed time, and then have the application screened and give 10-print finger scans.

 

23.  How can one qualify for the VRP?

To qualify for the VRP, the applicant must be able to answer “yes” to ALL of the following:

 

  1. I am a Philippines passport holder;
  2. I have previously been issued, in Manila, a full-validity B1/B2 visa. (The visa must be issued in a Philippine passport.)
  3. My visa is still valid or it has expired within the last twelve months. (If your answer is yes, your VRP appointment must fall within this twelve month period of expiry).
  4. I have in my possession all of my passports covering the entire period of time since I received that full-validity visa. (You would be required to bring all the passports in your interview).
  5. I have not been refused a U.S. visa in the last twelve months.
  6. My visa is not annotated “Clearance Received”.
  7. I have not ever stayed in the U.S. longer than 6 months on a B1/B2 visa (even if the Department of Homeland Security approved the extension of stay).
  8. I have not ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even if subject of a pardon.
  9. I can provide the visa control number from my visa.

 

24.  What if the applicant is not present at the time of delivery of the passport?

The applicant must leave an authorization letter to a representative and a government-recognized photo ID for both representative and applicant. Both the applicant and the representative must sign the authorization letter.