It has been my plan to visit US again since I last went there was in 2006. But since I got busy with school, graduated from school, got employed for a while, got married and Coco was born, I never had a chance to go back, especially that it would require additional expenses.
But now that I only have 3 years to use my 10-year multiply entry visa (and suntok sa buwan for me to have another one in the next few years) plus Coco is now 4 years old, I think It is the right time for him to visit one of his favorite countries, the US of A.
Note: I have a 10 year multiple entry visa while the husband doesn’t have one, he is not applying with Coco for the mean time. We are applying for a B1/B2 Visa for the boy.
Make sure that you already have a passport. My Coco has had his passport since he was a year old. Sorry, I was lazy to blog that time, I didn’t have a blog regarding our passport appointment. But I remember it was scheduled around 2PM at SM Megamall. But we came a little earlier and they still assisted us to fast lane. As far as I can remember doing, to apply for a passport for a child, you still have to book an appointment. But since you have a child (a baby at that), you can come in anytime you want as long as you bring all your requirements needed. You can also apply with your child. Since I am already married, I also applied for my passport using my maiden name that time. It was a very fast process and it was delivered exactly on time.
Anyway here’s what I did to apply for the US Visa:
1. Visit this website.
2. Click YES if it is the first time you are applying for a visa (so automatically, it is a YES)
3. They website will ask if you are applying for an immigrant or non immigrant visa. Click immigrant.
4. It will then lead to to this page in the website that details the steps in applying for an immigrant visa.
5. Determine your Non-immigrant Visa type – since we were there just for a visit, we are applying for B1/B2 type. Check your visa type here and check the visa fee here.
Note: B1/B2 is $160 as of today – its conversion is P8160. It changes depends on the PH conversion. Conversion is usually posted at the Visa fee page and it will be valid through a certain date.
6. You will be asked to create a profile in that page. To finish it, you will also need your DS-160 Confirmation number. It is your application form that you can create here.
7. Pay the Visa fee. You can check the details from this page. You can pay via bank deposit or online banking. I paid via BPI Online transfer. I just clicked on this link, enrolled US Visa in my BPI Online Banking Account, take note that they will give you a unique reference number in that link. That is the number you will use when you enroll US Visa in your online banking account. This number will also serve as your receipt number when you book your appointment.
8. Before you will be able to book an appointment, you will have to wait for a few hours for it to be posted. I paid midnight on a Monday, so it was confirmed by noon – almost exactly 12 hours.
Here’s their processing time line.
9. You can now book online. Visit this page. Click SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT that you will see at the left side of the website. Under the side bar menu, you can also see the earliest possible date that you can apply. Just answer the questions that is asked and you will be able to book your appointment in the end. You can also call (02)9768500 to schedule an appointment, or you need more assistance.
10. Go to the US Embassy on your scheduled date. You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, your current and all old passports. Read on your appointment letter for more details and things to remember.
*The DS-160 confirmation page can be found after you finalize your application. You can send it to your email as well.
*The appointment letter is sent to your e-mail.
*Always print then from the email itself. You will see a small printer icon at the opened e-mail that you want to print.
*They didn’t ask for the printed copies of the photograph, but it was uploaded before confirming the DS-160 form.
*Because the applicant is a minor, I brought along, aside from the applicant’s passport, my own passports with my US Visa. Since my US Visa was issued when I was still not married and my passport is already under my married name, I also brought a copy of my marriage certificate. I also brought with me is my husband’s passport. I also brought a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate.
11. If approved, just wait for its delivery to you!
Grabe. I’m so stressed out the night before I got to schedule an appointment. I checked the earliest schedule available Saturday midnight – June. I paid Monday midnight , and is about to book an appointment, when I saw the earliest available was for August na! Which will be too late for our proposed date for the trip. I asked around if it would still change, and thank God, most of the people told me that it will still change, some slots could still open, maybe earlier slots can still open. I slept, and when I woke up Monday, 11 hours after I paid, March 27 na ang available. I rejoiced! But my payment wasn’t posted yet. So I tried calling the hotline, and still couldn’t book an appointment. I refreshed the page where I was trying to book online after an hour, and it went directly to the page where I can pick the scheduled time. So, voila! Coco is now booked for April 3 appointment. So, since everything is already posted online, I will just reiterate that the available schedules MAY still change. SO, if you tried booking and you got a date which is not good for you, book it. And then just check everyday (try every midnight) as there would be cancelled slots that may open for you. Just like what happened to me, I haven’t booked yet, but there might be someone who canceled that’s why I was able to book an earlier date.
I picked the earliest possible time because I am anticipating long waiting times, and my Coco might get cranky.
Appointment date came. We were at the US Embassy by 9:00AM. But the outside entrance signage says that at that moment, they were already assisting those with appointments at 9:45AM. I fell in line and answered a green slip (this is for the applicants with someone processing for them – example parent and their child). The lady gave me a Yellow E card – The Express card! Hooray! I thought because my son is already 4 years old, he won’t be applicable for that.
Next stop is the lane that checks your appointment form. I gave the staff my son’s passport and she placed a sticker with a barcode with the DS-160 appointment form number.
We were then asked to go inside the security building where the x-ray machines are. Coco’s food was allowed to enter, but have to finish the food because it isn’t allowed inside. So we were about to enter the building, when the lady guard called me and told me that there is a USB in my bag! OMG! I thought i left everything in our car. I didn’t realize that my USB was inside my wallet. I didn’t know what to do, my mom already left the place. I went out of the security building and some from the crowd called me and asked if I needed to leave something. I can’t just throw away my USB because there might be important documents there that I don’t remember. So, I just took the risk and left it in one of the stalls selling food and drinks. It was P100 and risk, it was that or throwing it away. So, I just paid, they gave me a number and I left and went back inside the security building. So, check all of your belongings before you enter the US Embassy.
We entered and went to the pavilion. Coco and I ate our baon for a few minutes and then we proceded to Gate 2.
At Gate 2, they again checked the bags. There was a small pack of M&M’s, that I again forgot about. They asked if I have a child, so they allowed it to be left inside my bag and just told me not to let him eat it anymore.
We then went to Step 1 window. We didn’t have to fall in line since we have an E pass. The lady checked the DS-160 confirmation page and passport. Then asked as to proceed to Step 2 window. Step 2 window is a finger printing station. The lady asked for the passport and chatted with me. She even greeted Coco a ‘Happy Birthday’ as she saw that he just turned 4. She didn’t require Coco’s finger prints anymore, as he is a child. She then asked me to proceed to Window 24.
Window 24 was actually the judgement window. The third window that you will go to is the window where the US Embassy officer will interview you. We were asked by the marshal to take a seat first because aside from the one that was currently being interviewed, there is another one in line before us. Then it was their turn and Window 25 was now open and available so, we were asked to proceed there.
This is how it went for us.
Margaux: Good morning! (while carrying Coco and having him seat at the counter and him echoing my greeting)
US Embassy Officer: Good morning! May I have the passport please?
M: (gives him Coco’s passport)
USEO: So, this is for the little boy, do you also have a US Visa.
M: Yes (and gave my old passports since my US Visa is in there, plus my current passport)
USEO: So the father isn’t joining you for this trip?
M: He can’t join us because of his job.
USEO: Which is?
M: He works in a BPO.
USEO: But does he know you are bringing your son to the US?
M: Yes he does know all about the trip.
USEO: Did you bring a letter of consent from him?
M: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring one today
USEO: But do you have a copy of his passport?
M: I actually brought it with me (gave him the passport and I don’t know if he noticed, but Jhe’s passport is already expired, I just remembered it when I was telling my mom about the interview. My bad!)
*I noticed him kind of looking at my stack of papers and I felt he was going to ask for my marriage certificate)
USEO: Do you have your marriage certificate?
M: I do have it (and reaches over to give it to him)
*He was busy entering date at his computer and then he hands back the passports and marriage certificate that Coco reached for and gave to me)
Coco: Here you go!
USEO: Good job buddy! (Still busy) Okay, your Visa is approved and you will receive it in 10 days!
M: Thank you so much! Coco say thank you..
C: Thank you!
From the moment I entered Gate 2, it was only 15 minutes for us, it was that fast. Yes, I still got my USB with me.
2 days after, I received a text message saying that the passport was already released to the courier.
Today, it arrived. My Coco boy is now a US Visa holder! Congratulations my boy!