Friday, April 23, 2010

My VISA Story: Part 2 (Preparing for & Surviving the Interview)

(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...

15 comments:

  1. congrats LJ,, we have the same experience though sa Canadian embassy and working visa ang sa akin...but natutuwa ako kc ako din nung makita ko ang face ng interviewer, i really prayed hard na sa kanya ako mapunta and the Lord answered my prayer! you're right, just tell the truth and be specific and if it's God's will, mangyayai talaga! Go bless u! kelan ang alis mo??

    grace
    (canada)

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  2. Pray for another A(H1N1) epidemic, that's how my husband got a cheap flight to LAX last year - joke3x!

    Congrats again... I'm next!

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  3. Hi Ms lj, i was able to read your blogs through kuya kevin's. From the break up to finding a new love and now being approved for a visa. I am so happy for you even if we don't know each other personally, I can sense the overwhelming joy that you have with your new found love. Reading your blog also encourages me, seeing God's faithfulness in your personal life, even on the success list you wrote. God bless you! you have been an encouragement to women who faithfully wait on God.

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  4. Ate Grace -> sa June pa naman po. vacation lang naman for a few weeks. baka next year pa ko umalis for good.

    Like_Ruth -> thanks Ruth! I'm glad my articles could provide encouragement/inspiration to readers like you. God bless! :)

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  5. Wow, God is good. I rejoice with you.

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  6. Ate Grace -> Amen! thanks mucho Ate Grace! :)

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  7. Congrats Lj! Take Care! Give my regards to John (as if close kmi hehehe!)

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  8. i am so encouraged and inspired...i was terribly hurt a few years ago when the US embassy denied my visa application twice..but, yes, GOD never made a mistake..because the visa denial became GOD's way for me to be sponsored of my CPA review and board exam...now, i am already licensed, by GOD's grace and support...i believe, makakarating padin ako ng US...by that time, it's for something more permanent, by GOD's grace. indeed, "GOD has never failed nor made a mistake". Thank you for such an inspiration, miss LJ. i pray that GOD will bless you more...continue being a blessing, dear! :)

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  9. i will try to apply for a passport again, hopefully i get one this time.

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  10. Lj? ano ba yung in-apply mo? Tourist o Fiancee visa?

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  11. Anonymous ->Tourist visa kapatid. :)

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  12. Hi! What are the normal procedure of Canadian Embassy's issuance of Tourist Visa? Do they deny right away once they found some inconsistencies in the documents? My tourist visa application is now pending at Canadian Embassy waiting for my sponsor's (a very close friend from college) original documents. Do i get the chance of approval? I believe i have strong ties (kids, husband, business) to return to my country of origin and besides i am only applying for a 3 months vacation. I hope somebody could shed light to me regarding my case. Thank you very much and God bless us all.

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  13. Hey Anonymous!

    I am not familiar with the procedures and requirements at the Canadian embassy/visa. I applied for the US (American) visa. You could try visiting their website (www.canadainternational.gc.ca) and inquire from their office in Manila if you are in the Philippines.

    I wish you will! Thank you for visiting my site.

    Blessings!

    Lj :)

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  14. Your suggestion that in order to attain a visa to the USA one has to be honest, positive and prepared are quite valuable. I guess, when someone is facing an interview he must impress the interviewer to the extent that he agrees for the visa otherwise leave everything to almighty as the entire prerogative of offering a visa depends upon the visa officer.

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  15. Thanks Visasnap! Glad I wrote something useful. :)

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