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How To Maximize Your Chances OF Obtaining a B2 Tourist Visa

By Vanessa S. Barcelona

  Essentially, a B2 visa is a visa issued to anyone wishing to enter the United States for the purpose of touring the country and/or visiting friends and family.  Unfortunately, there are no "hard and fast" rules for obtaining this visa. Much depends on the subjective determination of the consular officer.
The letter may also indicate the employer's assessment of your talents/expertise and your importance to the company. It can conclude with a statement that your position is not at risk in the indefinite future (i.e., they want you to come back after your vacation!). If you are self-employed or own a business, present documentation to show how many employees you have, and find a means to explain how your business is run.

For example, if you own a farm, present a list of tenants and proof of their employment.  Perhaps farming demands much of your time and attention, but it can withstand your absence in the off-season, when you wish to visit your children and grandchildren in the U.S.

Explain this to the consular officer. Make it clear that your intention to visit the U.S. is to stay for a temporary period. In addition to the letter confirming that you have a job to return to, you may also wish to submit evidence of your ties to the country -- business or financial connections, cultural, civic, or social associations you lead or are a member of, close family ties, property, etc.

Make sure that you can clearly articulate and explain the purpose of your travel to the U.S.

How long will you be staying? Where will you be staying? If you plan to visit friends and family, have you already contacted them to find out if you can stay with them? Get letters to corroborate your statements. Show the officer the reservations made for airline travel to the various states and cities you plan to go to visit friends and family. Have you or your travel agent prepared an itinerary? Show this. If you are clear about all of these details, and are specific and realistic in your plans (i.e., you do not simply state that you want to visit the U.S. for the "maximum allowable stay of 6 months"), then approval of your request becomes a realistic expectation.
Another requirement for B-2 visa issuance is that you must submit proof that you have the financial resources to visit the U.S. without having to work here.

Submit bank statements showing your checking account balance/activity for the last 6 months.

Do you have a savings account? Stocks? Bonds? Real estate? Show them.

What if you do not have any assets? You may still fulfill this requirement by presenting an affidavit of support at the Consulate. This is not the more complicated new form I-824, but the older and much simpler 2-page Form I-134.

But who must submit the affidavit as your sponsor? You should not submit an affidavit signed by a sponsor with whom you have tenuous ties. In fact, the test here is whether your relationship to the sponsor makes for "forceful and compelling" ties. After all, why would your daughter's friend's cousin be interested in shouldering all the expenses of your temporary stay?

As you can see from the above discussion, DOCUMENTATION is very important when you present your request. Infinitely more important, however, is your DEMEANOR at the time of the interview. 


This is an almost entirely subjective determination on the officer's part. His intuitive impressions are what will, in the end, reign.

The B-2 visa is the most frequently requested visa. It is also the most frequently approved. Unfortunately, it is also the most frequently denied. This reality is even more stark in countries such as the Philippines, where the Manila consulate is one of the busiest in the entire world.

It is undeniable that as far as the consular officer in Manila is concerned, the overriding presumption is that more likely than not, the B-2 visa applicant will not be returning to the Philippines. Despite this, numerous B-2 visas are still issued every year, and yes, even at the U.S. Consulate in Manila.

Therefore, by being a little bit more aware of the requirements you must meet and the presumptions you must rebut, you as the applicant are armed with the information and tools to hopefully succeed in your endeavor.

Good luck.

VANESSA S. BARCELONA is a partner with the law offices of Barcelona & Pilarski, P.A. She obtained her law degree from the University of Florida. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, and the Florida Bar. Please send all e-mails to: vsbarcelona@earthlink.net


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