(Sorry I had to remove my tourist visa pic because someone already used it to steal/use my identity for criminal activities. Geeezzz.)My VISA Story: Part 2
Lj T. Salceda
Read Part 1 here.
The day of the interview, again I tried to arrive early. My appointment was at 8:30am, but I was at the embassy grounds at 6:30am and the line was already unbelievably long. I only got two hours of sleep the night before, but I didn't feel drowsy at all. I was still overwhelmed with anticipation and nerves.
Gadgets like cellphones, psp, music player and even calculators are not allowed inside the embassy; so are liquids such as bottled water or coffee, unless you have a child with you they allow baby formula/milk. At the gate, they will initially check your documents and look for the receipt from BDO. The Embassy staff will then ask for your passport and will put a sticker/code on the cover if you have all the required documents.
You will then be guided to the “scanning” area and proceed to the FIRST STEP – THOROUGH CHECKING OF FORMS & PASSPORT. I made a mistake of putting NO in the box where they ask if you’ve ever been issued a passport by any country. I assumed that the Philippines is excluded, so I answered NO. The embassy staff told me to put Philippines in the box.
Also, be reminded that you shouldn’t leave boxes/questions unanswered. If something doesn’t apply to you (like National Identification Number/Spouse’s Name) put N/A or None.
Once your forms and passport have been checked and approved, the embassy staff will forward them to the interviewing officer, in exchange they will give you a four digit number. Then the waiting will start. Talk to your seatmates/batchmates to calm your nerves or bring a book to entertain yourself.
They will announce your number/batch for the finger printing section, listen carefully so you won’t miss your turn. Once your number is called, queue to the SECOND STEP – FINGER PRINTING SECTION.
You will be ushered to another window with the finger printing machine (all fingers will be scanned), tell the embassy staff your full name and birth date and follow the instructions by the staff in-charge. This will only take a few seconds/minutes, then you will proceed to the dreaded interview area.
The THIRD & FINAL STAGE (for some) – INTERVIEW PORTION. This is it! Again, you have to wait for your number to be flashed above the window where you will be assigned. While waiting for your turn, try to eavesdrop (the interview is sometimes loud enough for most people near the windows to hear) and study the questions to the applicants being interviewed. You will learn a lot and be more prepared/confident with your answers. If you need an interpreter, inform the embassy beforehand.
After almost an hour of waiting, my number was flashed and I was assigned at the window with a young American lady (probably in her late 20’s.) While she was interviewing a previous applicant, I overheard that she was still new in Manila and that most of her stuff have not yet arrived. The entire time that I was waiting she only rejected two applicants and in both cases the applicants have inconsistent information/answers on their forms/interview. I silently prayed to God to let me be at her window, she seemed nice and friendly. My prayers were answered when my number was flashed above her window!
Most of her questions were about my work and my boyfriend John.
- How did you two meet?
- How long have you been dating?
- Have you seen him (John) in person?
- Any plans of getting married?
- How long have you been working in your company?
- How much do you earn?
- Why such a short time for a vacation?
It’s understandable to be nervous or to even pause for a few seconds, but try to talk sensibly. Give clear, direct and short answers. If the question is answerable by yes or no, just say YES or NO Ma'am/Sir. If the consul asks for an explanation, then be prepared to defend your answers. My brother told me that as long as there are no inconsistencies with what you say and what is written on your forms, your chances of getting approved is really high.
After probably five minutes, she didn’t asked me anymore questions and just typed away on her computer. I thought she was making a letter or a list of reasons why I will be denied, but after almost a few minutes of waiting (while standing, you will not be seated during the entire interview) at the other end of the window, she delivered the good news!
"CONGRATULATIONS! Your visa has been approved. You may now proceed to Air21 for the info on the visa delivery."
I wanted to jump up and down and hug every person I saw after I got out of the interview room. What a relief, joy and an answered prayer! Finally, I can eat! I can sleep! And most important of all, I will see my honey soon! YAY!!!
There were also three important lessons I’ve learned from the research I did regarding the interview portion.
1. Be HONEST.
2. Be POSITIVE.
3. Be PREPARED.
Lying, falsifying documents, bribing people, going through the short cut (if there’s one) will only produce more problems in the long run.
Finally, if it’s the Lord’s will, it will come to pass. Trust Him, He has never failed or made a mistake!
Now if I can only find an affordable flight to LA...