Procedure in obtaining a nonimmigrant US Visa

by Kumar Balani

(First of two parts)


Kumar Balani

NEW YORK  – With about four million Filipinos now living in the United States, visiting the United States with a nonimmigrant visa is one step you can take to determine if it is a country you want to live in for good, and then explore further what avenues are available for you to obtain lawful permanent residence. This article deals with obtaining a nonimmigrant US visa.

  1. This is what you need to do when you are seeking a nonimmigrant visa for the United States. It is based on information on applying for such a visa from the Manila US Embassy:

  1. Pay visa application fee, which is currently $160 for a non-petition-based visa
  2. Complete nonimmigrant US visa electronic application form is known as DS-160
  3. Schedule your appointment for an interview by a US consular officer on this website:
  4. Take the following documents with you when you go for your interview:
  • Paid visa fee receipt
  • Correctly and completely filled-up non-immigrant US visa electronic application is known as DS-160. Click on the link at the end of this article to view and understand it.
  • Your passport which must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned stay in the US, along with       your old passports still in your possession
  • Two photographs that comply with photograph requirements of the Manila US Embassy

Required Information for Nonimmigrant Visas

The following items of information are required in the first part of the nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160: full name, marital status, nationality, date and place of birth, address, country, mobile phone number, email address, your current valid passport number, passport book number, family information, educational information such as your school transcript, and information pertaining to your employment, present and past

The second part of the online application form consists of questions pertaining to security and background information such as:

  1. If you have ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime
  2. If you have ever engaged in a conspiracy to violate, any law relating to controlled substances
  3. If you have ever been involved in money laundering, or
  4. If you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide, and related crimes.

Along with all the above-specified documents, ensure that you are well-dressed from head to toe and that you have a well-groomed look with a smile on your face. There is no reason to be nervous when you are being interviewed. Just be honest and truthful in all your answers.

Non-Petition Based Visa Types

Non-petition based visas are one type of nonimmigrant visas. They are those that do not require an employer or someone from the US to petition for a person who wants to temporarily live in the US. Other non-petition visas for which the visa application fee is $160, are the following: B-1or business visa, B-2 or tourist visa, C-1 or transit visa, D visa for airline or ship crewmembers, F visa for academics and students, I visa for members of news media, J visa for exchange students, M visa for vocational students, TN / TD visa for NAFTA professionals, T visa for victims of human trafficking, and U visa victims of criminal activities.

Petition-Based Visa Types

Petition-based visas are another type of nonimmigrant visas. They require an employer or someone from the US to petition for the applicant who wants to temporarily live and work in the US. Before the applicant can submit their US nonimmigrant via application form DS-160, the employer must first submit a petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the US Department of State, or the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The petitioner must also pay a fee for the petition, which can vary depending on the type of visa applied for. The application fee to be paid by the applicant for petition-based visas is $190, which is valid for the following types of nonimmigrant visas:

  • H visas for temp workers (H-1B visa, H-1B1 visa, H-2A visa, H-2B visa, H-3 visa, H-4 visa)
  • L visas for intra-company transfers (L-1 visa or L-2 visa)
  • O visas for persons with extraordinary abilities (O-1 visa, O-2 visa, O-3 visa)
  • P visa for athletes, entertainers, and artists
  • Q visa for international cultural exchanges
  • R visa for religious workers

(Part Two: Passing the Interview for a Nonimmigrant US Visa)

Click here for a sample DS-160 US nonimmigrant visa application form:

Kumar (Kem) Balani joins the Philippine Daily Mirror as a columnist. He also writes for the Daily Tribune in the Philippines. He is the founder and current publisher of New Jersey-based BIZ INDIA Online News ( that followed the print publication BIZ INDIA Magazine begun in 2002.

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