North America Visa

Obtaining a 10-YEAR Multiple Entries USA Tourist Visa as a Third Country National

January 6, 2018

I was backpacking around Thailand last August, then suddenly, one of my friends was bound to New Jersey, USA that time. She gave me a crazy idea of joining her early next year, which I immediately replied, “Why not? Traveling to America sounds great!”. But I have one big problem:

 I don’t have a valid tourist visa of the United States of America!

My last US visa (which is just a single entry for 6 months) expired already few years ago and I didn’t even used it. So, how? How on earth am I going to travel to America without a visa? I am not even in the Philippines, so where am I going to apply for one? And my biggest question was during that time:

Am I capable to apply in the US Embassy of Thailand as a third country national? 

No, honey, I’m not referring to my Philippine passport which is considered as a third world passport. I am pertaining to third country nationals. Who are we? We are the individuals who are in transit and/or are applying for visas in countries that are not their country of origin.

To cut it short, I am holding a tourist visa in Thailand (I don’t have any work permit, etc. as I am just traveling long term), and I can’t just barge my way back in the Philippines just to apply for a visa then go back to traveling again as that option is very costly. So I’ve tried my way to research about third country nationals who applied for a US visa in another country, but to no avail, they usually recommend to go back to the home origin and apply there.

But I am a hard headed person and I love challenges like this, and so I insisted to apply for a US visa. Everything was just a risk, as if I was playing in a casino and I made a $160 bet. It felt like I was in odyssey with a 25% chance of making it.

But, I DID! The universe is great, and the odds are in favor! I got my 10-year multiple entries USA visa in Thailand!

I always believe that our Philippine passport is strong despite being a third world passport. We, Filipinos, may only be visa-free to travel to 61 countries, but I have confidence that we still have the capacity to travel around the world because of our perseverance and our attitude of always making ways in all situations.


So, what are the steps of applying for USA visa as a third country national? Simple! Actually, the process is the same with the application if you apply in your home origin.

As per December 2017, the application process is the following from US travel docs’ website:

Step 1: Pay the visa application fee. 

Step 2: Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 3: Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule for appointment:

  • You passport number
  • Your MRV fee payment receipt number
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

Step 4: Visit the US Embassy/Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. 

You have to make sure that you have an ample time to collect all your requirements before your scheduled appointment date.

Here are the requirements that you have to bring during your interview:

  • Passport valid for another 6 months
  • DS-160 confirmation page
  • Visa fee payment receipt
  • Appointment confirmation
  • 2×2 photo

You can also bring supporting documents like bank statement, land titles, proof of business or employment, and other documents that can prove your strong ties to your home country.


I’ve completed all the requirements, from signing-up the application forms online up to collecting all my requirements from the Philippines. I am lucky enough that my friend who invited me to the US, was also scheduled to travel to Bangkok, Thailand during the time of my interview. I’ve asked my parents, in behalf of me, to get my bank statement, birth certificate, and income tax return (ITR), which my friend brought with her to Thailand. Big thanks to my Mum, Dad, and Mach, and I’m really sorry for the big hassle! 

Then, the day of judgement approached! Oh I mean, my appointment date!

I was really nervous and I kept telling to myself that I should just hope for the best and expect for the worst. I wasn’t really that well-dressed, as I only have few clothes with me during that time. Just decent looking, I guess. My friend and Awie joined me that morning, then I left my bag with them so I won’t need to pay for the locker charge since you can’t bring anything inside the US Embassy except for the requirements needed. Make sure that you arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment, as you have to go through series of security checks.

Guess what?! From lining up outside the US Embassy in Bangkok, getting ten-printed, up to being interviewed by a consul, until exiting the premises with a very big smile, it only took me ONE (1) hour! I was really shocked because back in Manila, the whole process usually takes 4-5 hours! The process was very smooth and well-organized. It’s just funny because they kept talking to me in their language since Thai people always thought that I am a local since we have the same physical resemblance.

The interview took shorter than what I’ve expected since I am considered as a  third country national. Here are some of the questions which the consul asked me, with my answers:

  1. Why are you applying here in Bangkok and not in Manila? My friend unexpectedly invited me to visit her in the US and I am currently traveling long term around South East Asia. 
  2. You’ve been issued with 2 visas before, why didn’t you push through on traveling to America? The last visa was issued because our film was selected for a film festival. Unfortunately, my director got denied with the visa. 
  3. What countries have you traveled to? I’ve been to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos — then the consul cut me, and said, “Okay, okay, it’s good that you are well-traveled.”
  4. Who are you visiting in the US? My best friend. 
  5. Which state are you visiting in the US? New Jersey.

The best advice that I can give you is to answer the consul’s questions with confidence and direct to the point. You don’t have to tell the complete story since he/she doesn’t have time for it. Always look straight in his/her eye, and of course, never ever lie!

After checking out my bank statement, the consul kept typing on her computer with my details. I was keeping it cool, but in reality, I wanted to run as I was really anxious. Then, she looked at me, smiled, and said,

“Welcome to America! Your passport will be delivered to you!”. 

10 Comments

  • Reply maya January 7, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    does ones bank statement have an effect in the application? at least how much should it contain?

    • Reply Clare del Rosario January 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Maya!

      Yes, the bank statement really has an effect because they have to check if you have the capacity to pay for your entire travel in the US. If someone is going to sponsor your trip, you should also bring his/her bank statement.

      Regarding how much, no one really knows how much is needed. But let’s say, at least $50 per day times the number of days you would be traveling there.

      Safe travels,
      C

  • Reply justravel January 8, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Hi, where did you pay the fee of 160$? Is it in PH or in Thailand?

    • Reply Clare del Rosario January 8, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      Hi there!

      I paid the $160 in Thailand Baht since I’ve applied in Thailand. I think it’s also the universal price for the B1/B2 visas.

      Safe travels,
      C

      • Reply justravel January 8, 2018 at 8:59 pm

        Cool, did you pay in a bank in Thailand? Do you think it will be possible to do the DS160 application here and just pay and secure a slot in Bangkok? Planning to do it on March but if I only plan to stay a month in BKK, maybe I will have a hard time securing a slot since I cannot secure one not until I made the payment right?

        • Reply Clare del Rosario January 8, 2018 at 9:05 pm

          Hi!

          Yes, I’ve paid in a bank in Thailand. It’s not hard securing a slot since few people apply from there, compared in Manila, PH. And yes, of course, you can do the DS-160 anywhere before paying the $160.

          Safe travels,
          C

          • justravel January 9, 2018 at 12:53 am

            Nice! I hope you don’t mind if I would ask kung tinanong ka sa current work mo? If I assume na long-term travel, it means you’re either freelancer or unemployed at the moment? Will it matter? I I was thinking na isa sa considerations nila yung strong ties and they have my record of being freelancer, although I can provide a bank statement that may satisfy them too pero hindi to yung case sa pinas kasi. When I applied last year, I have read this many times sa blogs and I personally experienced first hand na never hiningan ng financial capacity docs yung mga nag apply. I’m afraid kasi I was once denied although yung purpose is not solely for tourism sa first application, more on volunteer sa UN program. Thoughts?

          • Clare del Rosario January 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm

            No worries, I don’t mind at all. 😉

            Yes, I’ve presented that I was a freelancer that time that has a lot of clients in the PH too, even though I’m working online. In terms of the bank certification, yes, you are right. One in a million lang din kapag chineck nila ang bank certificate since ganon din ang naging case sakin before (when I’ve applied in the PH then they just gave me a single entry valid for 6 months). I think what really saved me on here were my passport stamps and luckily, chineck yung bank certificate ko.

  • Reply Roniel Villamor January 14, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Thank you for this encouraging blog

    • Reply Clare del Rosario January 15, 2018 at 12:22 am

      Thank you, Roniel! Good luck on your visa application!

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