My US Tourist Visa Denial Story

US Visa Philippines

My experience with the US Embassy in Manila is bitter sweet. I applied for my US tourist visa, 5 times. Denied 4x before I finally got the “matamis na Oo (Sweet YES)” of the US Consulate.

When my husband I started dating, he wanted to take me back to NY to experience winter with him. So I said yes, I will apply for the US tourist visa. I was excited and a little bit scared. I have heard some horrible horrible stories about the whole US tourist visa process (who hasn’t?)

We started the process by setting up a new account with , printed the payment form, paid at BPI, got my documents ready, and made the appointment.

I showed up at the US embassy, Roxas Boulevard, 1 hour before my appointment time. I remember seeing how the line wrapped around the building. I thought I was the only one with the 8:00 am appointment, apparently, there were 25 of us, maybe even more! They called us by appointment time and we had to fall in line to get into the building.

When I walked into the interview area, I was hoping for individual interview rooms, but NO. It was one big open space with teller-like interview windows. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE can hear your conversation with the consulate. Because, a US tourist visa denial is not humiliating enough, the whole room has to hear about it. Sheeesh.


My number flashed on the screen and I walked up to the teller -like window for my interview. I handed him my passport and other supporting documents. To my surprise, he did not even look at the documents (that which I have so meticulously prepared weeks before), he looked at me and asked about the purpose of my travel. I answered. He then proceeded to ask about my job. I told him I was the office manager of a dive shop (as shown in my supporting documents, had he looked at it). He gave me a green sheet of paper and told me my US tourist visa application was denied. I was in shock.

That was it. 2 questions have sealed my fate in getting that visa. I walked out of there heavy-hearted.


My husband, however, was not moved by this denial. He was still very optimistic that one day, I will get the most coveted US Visa.

Read: Your Visa Application Got Denied, Now What?


After we got engaged (about 2 months after the initial visa denial), he asked me if I was willing to try again. He really wanted me to meet his parents. If you are wondering why he did not petition me, he could NOT because he was working  in the Philippines. He was 32 years old, working overseas, and did not own a house in the US at that time.

I got denied the US tourist visa again (That’s 2 denials in less than 6 months). I was so sad. I hated putting my life in the hands of a US Consulate.


5 Months after our engagement, we got married. Since we have been together, he only went home to the US ONE TIME because he did not want to leave without me. That was a very heavy burden for me. I love my family and I know he loves his family too. I felt I was the reason he would not even go home (aside from his job) and his family must miss him so much by now.
visaA month after our wedding, I decided to apply for the US tourist visa again. This time the consulate was abrupt, did not look at anything or ask any other question but “why don’t you get a spousal visa.”

I told him my husband is and has been working in the Philippines, a spousal visa would take me away from him for 2-3 years since I have to live in the US. He said, he could not grant me the visa. Denied. Again. I was so heartbroken, I could not even bare to look at my husband. I cried in the cab all the way home and I was inconsolable. I just wanted my husband to be able to take me home to his family. It was so unfair. I felt so small, so undeserving.  My husband told his family and they decided to come and see us instead. I was happy to finally meet them. However, the burden to free myself and my husband from the chains of having a Philippine passport was so heavy on me.

A year into our marriage, my in-laws were encouraging me to try again. I did not want to do it anymore. My mother in-law thought I was just not interested in coming to America. She probably thought I was this stubborn Filipina who forced her son to stay in the Philippines because I did not want to leave. But I was under protest. I did NOT want to do it anymore. My husband was supportive at first, but after countless long talks and convincing, I finally agreed to give it one more shot.

This was my 4th attempt at getting the US tourist visa. I told myself I will not take anything too personal and I will just be in and out of there in no time. I tried so hard not to care. But I did care. I cared about what they thought of me, about how I looked to them. Should I beg? Should I just pretend not to care? Should I act proud? Should I act humble? My head was spinning. I was beyond stressed out. I walked towards the interview window with a smile. The Consulate looked at me, looked at my papers, asked about the purpose of my travel, and again, rejected my application.

I went home to my husband and cried like a baby. Again. My husband never put any of the blame on me, but I felt it was all my fault anyway. The stress of having to go up to a total stranger, get judged, and failed, was too much for me.  He apologized and said he would not ask me to do it again.


But he did. 2 years, and a baby later. If you are wondering if this story has a happy ending. There actually is. On my next post, I will tell you about the day I finally received my visa. Tourist Visa. 🙂 Read about My Journey to the Land of the Free here.


Thank you for listening to my story. Do you have any visa denial stories of your own? Let us know. We would love to hear about it!

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  • Bi December 18, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Hi. Please do me a favor. What would you suggest or tips could you give in answering DS-160? What is the best way to answer questions in DS-160 that you have to explain why you were denied. The last time my tita applied for a visa she was denied. She forgot some of her answers to her DS-160 like, how long she will stay in the US because she was pre-occupied that time, a family member got sick and eventually died.

  • Estela November 29, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I need help po.

    • cjanuary1
      cjanuary1 December 5, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      Hi Estela, how can we help?

  • CanadaUpdates January 12, 2017 at 5:55 am

    thanks for your story. I should take these things in mine & hope that i should get visa

  • dreamer August 12, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    I have a question, In the past 2 years I travel 18x Internationally and I’ll been in 10 countries already and I will visit Singapore for 2time (19th travel) and 6times in thailand (20th travel), 5days before my interview.
    I been in Thailand (5th times), Malaysia (3times), UAE (2times) Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam (2times), Hongkong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan. (TAKE NOTE IN JUST 2YR & 4months)
    also I have unused japan visa (everything is set but I got sick on my travel date so I decided not to go and pursue it next year)
    The twist is this:
    I’m only 23, SINGLE MAN
    I only have around 100k in my bank
    I never been employed. I took entreprenerial management in college (graduated 2014) because I don’t have any desired to work in any company or any organization.
    after I graduated in college I start – tshirt printing business that run for a year (only barangay permit/ and I lost it already but I have picture of my stall before), then my current business is
    computer shop & printing services (register my mayors permit and dti just this june but my barangay permit starter nov. last year NO BIR AS WELL SINCE I ONLY PUT IT IN BARANGAY)
    also I sell tour package and discounted airline tickets online.
    do you think I have a big chance to get a B2 visa or I will be denied??
    I dont havea BIG personal ties in this country but I’ll travel in 10countries already in past 2years without overstay or violating law on that countries.
    please rate 1-100% on my chance.
    PS: I dont have desired to stay for so long in US.
    I just want to experience christmas and new year in new jersey and drop ball in new york time square. after than just directly go back to the philippines.
    sorry for my grammar

    • Ruby Famo August 12, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Hi Dreamer! Pls undestand that I am in no position to decide your fate at the embassy. However, based on my opinion, I think you have about an 8 on getting that visa. It would have helped you a lot if you went to Japan and came back. That would have dramatically increased your chances.

      Always remember to play your strenghts, and not your weaknesses. Your strengths right now are: 1. You have travelled before. 2. You have 100k in the bank. 3. You have an existing business.

      • Dreamer August 14, 2016 at 5:30 am

        omg 8 our of 100 or 8 out of 10, I know you have no position to decide, but atleast to give me a little bit confidence to fight for my small chance. “if only I didn’t sick on the day of my flight in japan I will sure to go to japan, everything is set, my ticket, my hotel booking, I exchange my pesos TO dollars already.

        thankyou for letting me know your opinion, it boose my confidence, Please wish me luck.
        I will have my interview in aug.22 (just 8days left)

    • Anastasia Bree
      Anastasia Bree August 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Dreamer,

      please rate 1-100% on my chance.

      They will ask for your US address and will ask about it because they need to make sure you wont be homeless here. As for your reason in case you get asked, just be honest as to why you wanna come visit and experience the holidays here.

      • Dreamer August 14, 2016 at 5:34 am

        Hi anastasia, Yes I already memorized the location of my untie and just for vacation only I dont have desired to work or to overstay.
        I’m scared after I read so many experinces in us embassy, but it wouldn’t hurt me from trying. but atleast they should consider that I travel 10x without violating or overstay in the countries that I been. (only asia I know it doesnt matter on them because they care more about 1st world country)

    • Bim August 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Hi dreamer! How did you interview go?

  • sarah July 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

    thank you for sharing your story this made me feel better. today I got rejected for us tourist visa for the first time. just like you i pretend not to care bec i somehow prepared myself that I could be denied for it. but reading your experience made me think not to give up. i only want to spend christmas with my bf and no plans of staying there. thinking not to reapply anymore and wait for fiance visa instead. but then your story made realized not to give up. im thankful as well for having a 15 yrs relationship with this very supportive bf just like your husband.thank you… you made me feel better today

    • Ruby Famo August 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Sarah! Good for you! I think you should go ahead with that fiance visa. Good luck!

  • jah April 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Thanks for your story. I also got rejected. And i felt really bad about it. I admire you for not giving up. Thanks again. Godbless

    • cjanuary1
      cjanuary1 May 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Hi Jah! Hang in there.. Let me know if you need any help

  • Will April 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I admire your perseverance and am sorry for your painful experiences. I was fortunate enough to be a citizen here in the US when I sponsored my wife-to-be on a fiance visa. She made it over within six months, but I remember waiting and agonizing over whether she would get her visa or not. It was a tremendous relief when she received it.

    • Ruby Famous
      Ruby Famous July 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Hi Will! I don’t know how I just saw your comment just now. Thank you, it was hard. I know how you feel, always at the edge of your seat expecting the best outcome. Fiance visas are one of the quickest way you can get your loved one to the States, glad you went that route. I know a couple who applied for the spousal visa after they got married in the Philippines. It took 2 years before the application was approved. I can only imagine the stress they went through.

  • Leslie April 9, 2015 at 11:42 am

    We are very thankful that you did try that one last time. You were granted a visa and u remember your first time in NY. You made me cry tears of happiness. We love you and are so happy your here.


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