…on first shot
USA…my dream destination…or maybe not only mine 🙂 But most of us somehow, likes to see what America looks like. How does it feel to be in the land of Milk and Honey? How does snow “taste” like? Does it taste and look like an ice from the freezer? How about winter? Is it really that cold? From someone who just travelled in Asian countries, it excites me to think that I would be flying for hours and hours before I reached my destination. I pictured myself doing selfies in “The Bean” in Chicago, the World Trade Center in New York and if luck is on my side…selfie at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. (that’s mind-setting, hehe)
BUT first, THE INTERVIEW. The interview, where most people would feel like having butterflies in their stomach, sweaty palms and an “almost heart attack state”.
At first, I had second thoughts to get a US Visa. The FEAR OF GETTING “DENIED” is the top most reason for not getting one. The cost makes it second. Aside from the US Visa Fee you need to set a budget for your flight to and from Manila, hotel accommodation and of course your food allowance. Not to mention the accent of the Consular Officer who will interview me. He might be too slang…and I would not clearly understand what s/he is asking me. How about the requirements? I knew someone who brought with her a lot of documents like land titles, stock certificates, bank statements and other proof of income from business and employment. It surely is a waste of time, money and effort if one gets DENIED. Right?
But for whatever reason, I logged in to the US Embassy website, applied for a visa online, paid the visa fee and scheduled an interview. Of course, since I had the liberty to choose for the schedule, I selected a schedule which is few months from the application date. That would give me time to gather the requirements, “of course the prerequisite”—my confidence and enough time to pray that I would ace the interview (so to speak).
THE PREPARATION (?)
Months went by and it’s time to fly to Manila for “THE INTERVIEW”. By the way, no one knew about ‘THE INTERVIEW”, except my husband, my friend in the US who was my contact person in the application form, and a friend (who was also with me for an interview). It was a choice not to tell anyone (not even my immediate family), for obvious reasons. Haha 📷 That was a busy month. Schedule was hectic with so many company meetings from work, family reunion, and a batch get-together. “THE INTERVIEW” slipped my mind..
My flight was a day before the interview…I made sure that in case of flight cancellation, I still have options to rebook to a later time. I boarded the plane, with ONLY A PIECE OF PAPER as supporting document, lot of SELF-CONFIDENCE, “BAHALA NA” attitude and this BIBLE verse that I kept in mind: “Mark 5:36 …“Do not fear, only believe.”
Finally, the day of the interview has come! Since my schedule was very early in the morning, I woke up at 4am, prayed 📷, took a bath, folded that piece of paper, my COE (Certificate of Employment) in 4 folds, slipped it inside my passport and tucked it in my pocket.. Since our hotel was near the Embassy, we just walked going there at 6am…and oh I also had the documents that I printed out from the online application. I suggest to leave your mobile phones or any gadgets, these are not allowed inside the Embassy. Otherwise, you will pay people outside (selling ball pens etc) to hold it for you while you are inside. They charged P500 or more.
Someone told me that the moment you entered the embassy you should keep your calm, smile often and look confident. There are CCTVs everywhere and the officers or someone from the embassy might just be observing you. But OMG! How can I look confident when even the last person in line can hear my heartbeat 📷📷📷. And the people who were before and after me? They brought A LOT of supporting documents. Anyways, I went through the PRE-SCREENING area, where the embassy personnel requested for my passport and 2 x 2 picture. I was then directed to another station for FINGERPRINT SCANNING. Then I waited for “the INTERVIEW”…trying my very best to stay calm. What’s on my mind? “THY WILL BE DONE LORD”. At last, my number was randomly picked and showed in the overhead flat screen monitor. I walked to the booth where my number was called and hand over my passport to the consular officer.
The Consular Officer asked me these questions:
What’s the purpose of your travel?
How long will you be staying in the US?
Have you been to other Asian Country?
What’s your job in the Philippines and how long?
I answered these questions as exactly as how I answered them in the online application and the Consular Officer said, YOUR VISA IS APPROVED! That was music to my ears…I smiled back at him, said “Thank You” and turned my back. A week later I received my passport with my US VISA for 10 years, Multiple Entry.
The INTERVIEW, lasted for 2 minutes or even less. But that was the longest 2 minutes of my life.
TIPS BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE
STUDY your online application form. Most of the questions are just from the information you answered in the form. If in case, someone helped you to fill out the form, BE SURE THAT YOU KNOW EVERYTHING in the form. Just like the application of my husband (he had his interview a year after mine and also got approved), I was the one who answered his application form but I printed it and he studied on his flight to Manila for the interview.
Be HONEST! I don’t want to scare you but these Consular Officers would really know if you are lying.
As much as possible, TRY NOT TO LISTEN to the other’s interview, it will just make you more anxious.
Answer the questions as EXACTLY as what you have answered them in the form. They would know if you are the one filling out the form or not.
ANSWER only what is being ASKED. More talk…more mistakes. DO NOT expound not unless asked.
In filling out the form, there’s a portion where you are asked about your Primary Occupation. If you hold a position, tick Specify Other and indicate your Position.
ABOVE ALL ELSE…PRAY
Indeed, SNOW is tasteless, I like SPRING over WINTER and SELFIES were GREAT!
What’s More?? I left the US Embassy with my COE unfolded. (not a single supporting document was asked)