Sharing all things about pet-friendly travels and full-time work from home setup

How My US Tourist Visa Got Denied in Manila, Philippines


My US tourist visa got denied by American Embassy in Manila, Philippines. Oh, well! It has been 3 years since that happened. I and my American boyfriend of 3 years already broke up. I have moved on with the dog that he gave me, but the memories of getting denied by US Embassy of the Philippines to get B1/B2 tourist visa still hurts.  It took me 3 years to finally share this publicly online. I literally did not told any of my friends because I felt like I am such a BIG LOSER and I DO NOT DESERVE IT! I swear, I was checking every Facebook post of the Immigration Office of US Embassy here in Manila that time to make sure I am equipped with everything I need for the visa interview. One thing that marked in my head according to one of their video tutorials posted is BE HONEST. So I did. However, too much honesty, perhaps is not always a good idea. I think this was MY BIGGEST MISTAKE why I got denied of US tourist visa here in the Philippines.

The EX who resides here in Manila on our second year as boyfriend-girlfriend decided to go back to the USA to visit his dad who is about to undergo a knee operation. I did not ask, but he invited me to go to the USA with him to meet his parents including his daughter. I was so happy not because it is  FREE trip and it is United States of America. I really would love to meet her mom and dad who are always very sweet to me when we do video calls together. I can really feel the genuine care they have for me and that they want to welcome me in their family. They are already in their 70's and every time the Skype call is about to end, they say to come and visit them because time is running out for them.

I am already aware of countless horrible stories of Filipinas getting denied of US visa for so many damn reasons. I spent countless hours watching Youtube videos and reading blogs about these. However, I am 100% hopeful because my intention to go to America as a tourist is clean. There is fucking no way I will stay longer there. First, The EX lives here. Why the hell will I stay there when he is here? Second, I am earning a decent money working remotely. It is not millions yet, but I promise you, I can afford to eat at fine dining restaurants anytime I want paying from my own salary and not his!

I am already location independent. I love the freedom and I want to stay close to my family. To go to a first-world country staying there illegally NEVER CROSSED MY MIND. EVER. I did all research myself. The EX said he knows nothing about how to increase my chances of getting my US tourist visa approved though he offered that he can be present while I am interviewed so he can vouch for me. I know it is impossible because the place where physical interviews are done for US tourist visa applications only allow fully-paid applicants with approved schedule. He wouldn't be allowed to get inside even though he is an American. 

I and the EX drived me to US Embassy of Manila 2 hours before call-time. He even gave me his passport since he cannot be with me while the interview of US tourist visa happens. He told me I can show his passport to the one interviewing me as proof that I am being vouched by someone who could take care of me while in the USA.

Please bear with me because it has been 3 years - some details of what happened I have forgotten. In the first counter, there is a woman checking all the requirements before finally falling in line to eventually find their way to the one who will interview. She asked me my purpose of going to the US. I told him with a jolly face, "I am going to the USA with my boyfriend to visit his family". I gave her a very big smile. There was no reaction from her face that would give me a hint that I am doomed that day. All I ever care is to hug his parents especially the mom who seems to be so nice to me on video calls. I was already planning to give her and the dad of Ex a box of sweet pili nuts.

Here's how it happened

Consul: What's your purpose of travel? 

Me: My American BF who lives here in the Philippines for 6-7 years is going to US for a short visit to his family. He wants me to tag along for me to meet his family. Btw, I have a support letter here whom he signed, do you want me to show to you?

Consul: I am not asking that. 

Me: Oh, ok sorry. 

Consul: Do you guys live together? 

Me. No, because we practice independence. We however, see each other every other night though. (Forgot to mention, I spend my whole weekends with him religiously. I also did not told him that we lived together 4-5 months last year, but for work purposes and of course for moral reasons since we are NOT legally married, I do not see any reason why we should share a room already)                                   

Consul: How come you guys do not live together? You said you are in a relationship for 6-7  years? 

Me: Oh no,  I said he's been living here for 6-7 years but us we are just dating for 2 years only. 

Consul: How long will you stay there? 

Me: Thirty days. I meant, not more than thirty days. My clients cannot approve me a vacation leave longer than that. 

Consul: Do you have a kid? 

Me: None. 

Consul: What's your work? Me: You know Upwork? It's a platform for freelancers. I work full-time via this site. I do virtual assistance, digital marketing, social media management, blogging et cetera. I am not even finished with this last sentence, I saw his hand reaching the blue form which means if it is handed to you, that means your visa application is denied. 

Consul: I am sorry blah blah.... (saying I am not eligible for nonimmigrant US visa) 

Me: Why? Is it because we do not live together? 

Consul: Just take a look at the blue form and you'll know why.

 This happened in FIVE MINUTES or less! He did not even checked my bank account and my other documents!  He did not even asked but I have been to 9 Asian countries already. The Ex and I do not travel outside the country because it is not his thing. He has been here for 7 years. He will only go out of the country either to do visa run or visit his family in the US. To judge our relationship this based on whether we travel together or not abroad, SUCKS in my opinion.

I was told that ONE BIG RED FLAG that is NO - NO is tell them you are going to visit your American boyfriend or you are going with your American boyfriend which was my case that time. It sounded like I will end up staying with him, get married and not going back anymore! This is the typical expectation of all Filipinas applying for US tourist visa. This may be true to some, but I beg to disagree that it is in all cases! 

I was told that I should have said I am going to USA for tourism purposes or if there are work-related events that you will join, it is much better! USA prefers travelers who will go there that can afford to buy things there. It is good for the economy. Saying things like I am going to visit my American boyfriend means he will be taking care of the expenses. It is not good for the economy that you came there and you not spending your hard-earned money (not from your American boyfriend) is not good for the economy of USA.

The safest I was told is I could have waited for him to propose so I can get a fiance visa which has bigger chances to get approved if I am to mention having American boyfriend. I mean, I shouldn't be forcing him to do it for the sake of getting approved of US visa - right?

For our third and final year before we broke up, we already lived together in a BGC condo he bought for Php 18 million and co-owned a dog that I know until now he loves so much.