The US Embassy Visits

Posted by Abdel Kadz on Sunday, November 20, 2011 with No comments
If you are a Filipino wanting to go to the US as a tourist, chances of you being approved for a visa is very minute. You must present facts to the consul that you will only be staying there temporarily, have documents to prove that you have the finances to support your R&R or biz travel to the US, a family (with pictures, birth certificates in hand) or a good job to return to (including payslips, income tax returns, et als), and what-have-yous to strengthen your resolve of not being handed the blue paper from the other end of the window (read: the denied form). Even if you have the pertinent papers with you, including a backup letter from your American employers, you would have thought getting the visa would be that easy... not.

In fact, I was denied twice. Funny thing is, the consul didn't even look at whatever documentation I had in my person to support my claim that I will just be going to the US to take the license exams for physical therapists, that my employer will be paying for my airfare and accommodation, that my employer will look to it that I do not overstay in the US. This difficulty in obtaining a visa, in part, arose from the hullabaloo that happened between physical therapists from the Philippines and the FSBPT over recalled questions purported and alleged to have been harbored by review centers in Manila. Long story short, they banned all Pinoy PTs from sitting for the exam. Those who were scheduled to sit for the NPTE were all denied from getting tourist, working, and even immigrant visas when they went for their Embassy interview.

After two failed attempts, I have lost all hope of getting a visa for the sole purpose  of taking the NPTE, not until I received an email from my employer one day stating that, collectively, staffing agencies wrote the Embassy and voiced their concern over the unfair visa denials of NPTE test takers. They requested that I go for the interview a third time, and at P6,000 again, and see if I will be successful. They say things happen at the right place and time. And what do you know, the third time's the charm.

If you plan of visiting the Embassy in the hope of going to the US, here are some tips:

1. Schedule the earliest time possible. This is just the time for you to enter the Embassy grounds and not your Embassy interview time, per se. With the number of Pinoys seeking the elusive visa, it could take hours before you get interviewed by the consul. An earlier time means you'll be done earlier too.

2. Leave your electronics at home, i.e. cellphones, flash drives, mp3 players and others. If you can't do away with technology for a few hours, have someone accompany you to the Embassy, even if they could not go inside the Embassy premises. The price of leaving your gadgets with the vendors outside is expensive, P150 the most.

3. Have your documents ready, even if they won't be reading anything that you present to them. They might ask for, let's say, your payslip. So it's best if you have it handy.

4. Do not tell them you will be working in the US. For physical therapists looking to take the NPTE and who will ultimately be working in the US, DO NOT say that you will work there. Best approach is to say that you will just take the exam and return to the country after. The minute you say the word "work" or "job," chances of you being approved is close to nil.

5. If at first you don't succeed, try again. Hey I went to the Embassy three times. If I got mine, with the best interests and in God's perfect timing, you will get yours.