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The latest immigration and visa news for the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and select European countries - straight from the leading immigrant advocates in the Philippines.

Still, 8 Great Tips for Visa Approval

With 10 to 12 million Filipinos overseas – half of them as permanent residents – it’s no wonder there are tens of thousands of tourist, work, student and immigrant visas. Why are there many refused admission at ports of entry even as they hold valid visas?

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on October 19, 2016; updated October 26, 2016

Still, 8 Great Tips for Visa Approval

Close to 8 million applied for temporary visitor visas to the U.S. for pleasure or business, close to a million more than in 2013.

The percentage of refusal worldwide, however, remained consistent at over 20 percent.

While there is no official record of the number of Filipino U.S. visitor visas denied, it is not far-fetched to assume the same  percentage of denial for Philippine visa applicants. In 2014, there were 23,978 Filipinos denied admission into the U.S.

How could you enhance the chance of getting your visa application approved for the U.S. or the other countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K.?  And why you may still be ordered back to the Philippines even with a valid visa.

1.  Know the specific visa category you need, not what you want. In the U.S. for example, you may specify B2 category if you really wish to visit relatives or friends or simply to have a tour of the U.S.  Selecting the B-1/B-2 category when there is less likelihood of your returning for business visit would increase the rate of denial.

2.  Check the latest news and developments about this specific visa.  The purpose of your visit would be affected by events and developments in the country you intend to visit.  While those applying for student and tourist visas are more likely to be welcomed, individuals applying for work visas may be perceived as competing for or taking away jobs from the locals.

3.  Verify the correct and latest form you need to complete and submit.  Most forms are updated to reflect the most current revisions in a country's immigration and visa laws. Be sure to check you are using and submitting the latest version.

4.  Find out the most recent document checklist for the visa you need.  Most Embassy and consular websites now provide a checklist either through the specific Embassy website or the designated visa application center.

5.  Determine the costs related to this visa category, especially the most current visa fees. Embassies usually accept payments by credit card or banking instruments such as manager check, bank draft.  Some visa application centers may accept cash on site.  Be sure you know the exact amount and to whom the check is payable to.,

6.  If applying for a tourist visa, prepare an itinerary for the duration of your intended stay. Some Embassies prefer that you have an itinerary, to establish that you have planned for the intended trip. Others advise not to complete booking arrangements or buy tickets until after getting the visa decision.

7.  If applying for permanent residency, review the steps and stages especially if a consular interview is required.  Generally, Family or Employment-based sponsorships are in two stages: the sponsor files the petition with the specific immigration office, then the visa beneficiary applies for the visa at the Embassy.  Only the U.S. requires a personal interview. The other embassies rely on complete documentation. Where an interview is not required, be aware that your documents are the sole basis for the consular decision, hence accurate completion and elimination of inconsistencies are the key elements for visa approval.

8.  Role play for the interview. If you were the consul would you approve the visa application? The consular or visa officer interviewing you (or looking at your documentation) does not know you from Adam or Eve.  It is essential then that your initial documentation (and personal appearance or presentability) if an interview is necessary confirm the way you describe yourself and the purpose of your application.

Percentage of Refused/Denied

Temporary Visas Worldwide, 2013


Category             Total                     Refused (% of total)

B1 / B2                 7,130,492           1,484,912 (20.8%)

B1                          56,069                  14,113 (25.1%)

B2                          221,752               107,226 (48.3%)

F1                           694,488               160,168 (23%)

K1                          36,891                  10,570 (28.6%)              

Percentage of Refused/Denied

Temporary Visas Worldwide, 2014


Category             Total                     Refused (% of total)


B1 / B2                7,944,862           1,667,865 (20.9%)

B1                          60,436                  15,566 (25.7%)

B2                          230,776               104,237 (45.1%)            

F1                           768,631               173,062 (22.5%)

K1                          51,763                  15,838 (30.5%)

Why visa holders are refused admission at ports of entry

A current and valid visa is not an assurance of being allowed into the country of destination, and be ordered returned on the first flight back home.

Signs of nervousness, unsure answers during the primary inspection, suspicious body language and the amount of luggage inconsistent with the intended duration of stay could subject you to further questioning and secondary inspection.

Remember a visa is a document that you present to an immigration officer at the port of entry.  Your visa was issued by the consul or visa officer based on documents submitted and the answers your provided to the questions on the form. Discrepancy in your answers to the immigration officer and the information showing on the consular database - which is available and accessed by officers at the port of entry - could subject you to exclusion procedures for having lied on your visa application or for an inconsistent answer to the purpose of your trip.

Immigration officers at ports of entry do random checks of immigrants and visitors arriving. They are trained to watch out for facial and body language, in addition to evaluating your reaction to questions asked.  Bringing in prohibited items as well as documents that could be interpreted as evidence of intention to stay permanently could get you in trouble and on the first plane back home with your visa cancelled.

In 2014, there were 223,253 applicants for admissions /  visa holders considered inadmissible.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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