How to Apply for a US Tourist Visa (B1/B2) in Manila

Disclaimer: I am not an employee of the US Embassy in Manila. I am also not affiliated with any agency that assists with visa applications. This post is just based on my personal experience in applying for a B1/B2 US visa on my own (DIY application).

How to Fill Out the DS-160 Application Form

The first step in applying for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa is to complete your application. It takes approximately 90 minutes to do this. After you submit your application, you can move on to the next steps such as scheduling your interview.

Go to: This is where you will fill out your DS-160 or Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Beware of bogus sites!

You can watch my video below with step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the DS-160 Form.

How to Pay the Visa Fee

After submitting your DS-160, go to to create a CGI account. Make sure you enter the correct DS-160 confirmation number. Once you’ve completed your profile, go to

If paying by cash, click on Deposit Slip – $185 MRV Fee for B1/B2. It will generate a deposit slip that you will bring to RCBC. You only have 7 days to make payment for that deposit slip. Otherwise, you will need to generate a new one.

Sample RCBC Deposit Slip

Allow 24-48 hours for your payment to be reflected. After that, you can enter the receipt number in your CGI account to schedule an appointment.

Scheduling Your Appointment

Once you’ve made your payment (remember to wait for at least 24 hours for payment to be posted), go back to to check the earliest appointment date.

Sample calendar of available schedules

When I submitted my application last July 2023, the earliest available appointment was for January 26, 2024. So, even if you don’t have immediate plans yet, I suggest booking your interview as early as possible.

You can check your CGI account from time to time if earlier slots open up BUT DO NOT CHECK IT FREQUENTLY. YOUR ACCOUNT MAY BE LOCKED FOR 72 HOURS. I suggest checking every 4 to 6 hours.

Applicants are only allowed to reschedule four times (not including the initial appointment) without penalty. If the fourth rescheduling attempt is canceled, an applicant will only be allowed to reschedule a new date after a waiting period of 90 days.

Things to Bring to Your Interview

On the day of your appointment, bring the following:

  • Current passport
  • Old passports
  • Appointment confirmation
  • Recent 2×2 picture (if you haven’t submitted one yet)
  • DS-160 confirmation (not the DS-160 form)

Though I wasn’t asked for anything other than my passport, I also have with me supporting documents like my BIR registration, DTI certificate, 2022 tax returns, and client contract.

Visa applicants are NOT PERMITTED to bring the following into the embassy:

  • Any kind of electronic and battery-operated devices (mobile phone, digital camera, laptop, music player, smart watch, portable game consoles such as PSP, thumb drive, mobile tablet, e-readers, and the like)
  • Lighter and any flame-generating device
  • Sharp objects including army-style multi-tool accessories
  • Crayons and markers
  • Any kind of food including chewing gum Any device with an on/off switch


Here’s how my interview went:

How to Check the Status of Your Application

You can check the status of your application by going to: CEAC ( and enter the information requested as seen in the screenshot below.


  • November 17, 2023 (Friday, 8:15 a.m.) – Interview
  • November 18, 2023 (Saturday) – Checked the status on CEAC, status is Approved
  • November 20, 2023 (Monday, around 2:00 p.m.) – CEAC status is Issued
  • November 21, 2023 (Tuesday afternoon) – Passport with visa delivered in Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Passport Delivery

If you selected passport delivery in your CGI account, the passport will be delivered to your chosen address via LBC. Payment is cash on delivery for Php440.00.


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