10 years ago, I blogged about how we, as a family, applied for a US tourist visa. And so today, I’ll be writing how we renewed our US Visa.
Just a little background, we did travel to the US and other countries within the 10-year validity period. We also had our youngest daughter, whom we applied for her own US Visa too (when our US Visa were still valid) so she still had hers valid to this day.
Renewing a US visa as a family can seem like a daunting task, especially when there’s a minor involved. However, with the right information and preparation, the process can be smoother than you think. If you’re in the Philippines and planning to renew your US visa with your family, including a minor, follow these steps to navigate the journey:
1. Check Eligibility:
Ensure that your visa category is eligible for renewal. Most non-immigrant visas, such as tourist visas (B1/B2), can be renewed. Visit the official website of the US Embassy in the Philippines to verify eligibility.
So if you’re like us who had an expired US visa, go to this site and check if you’re eligible for a Dropbox or Waiver Program, meaning you don’t have to undergo interview and just need to drop your valid passport at a designated LBC branch.
If your child was below 14 years old when she/he got his first US visa, the child is not eligible for a Waiver Program so YOU MUST APPLY THIS SEPERATELY. DO NOT APPLY AS FAMILY.
Otherwise, all of you will go through the interview process instead of the Waiver Program.
So for example:
Mom, Dad – application 1
Minor – application 2
Then follow steps below for each application.
2. Complete DS-160 Form:
Each family member, including the minor, needs to fill out a DS-160 form online. Make sure to provide accurate information, as any discrepancies can lead to delays.
3. Pay the Application Fee:
Pay the non-refundable visa application fee for each applicant. Payment instructions can be found on the US Embassy’s website.
4. Create a Profile:
Create an account on the US Visa Information and Appointment Services website. Register each family member and select the visa category and visa class for renewal. Again, ensure you have separate account for each application.
5. Schedule Appointments:
Schedule visa appointments for each family member. You’ll need to book both the visa application center (VAC) appointment for biometrics and the US Embassy/Consulate interview appointment. Schedule these appointments close to each other to minimize travel and waiting time.
But if you are eligible for a Waiver Program, the US Embassy website will guide you on a different route. You will not be asked to schedule an appointment, but the website will give you specific instructions on where to bring passports that are eligible for the Waiver Program.
For minor renewal applicants, they will still need to do an appointment at the US Embassy for biometrics. No need for an interview at this point.
But if you’re like us who had a mistake by applying as 1 family with our minor, we were queued as if we were to be interviewed. So off we went and proceeded in gathering our usual documentation.
6. Gather Required Documents:
Prepare the necessary documents, including:
- Current passport
- Previous passport with the expired US visa
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Visa application fee payment receipt
- Passport-sized photos that meet the US visa photo requirements – just keep it handy but you’ve already submitted this online at this point.
- Proof of family ties and financial stability
- If traveling with a minor: Birth certificate, notarized consent letter from both parents, and a copy of the parents’ US visas (if applicable)
7. Attend Appointments:
Arrive at the VAC for biometric data collection, including fingerprints and a photo. Subsequently, attend the US Embassy/Consulate interview appointment. Answer questions truthfully and confidently. Minors should be accompanied by both parents or a legal guardian.
8. Await Visa Processing:
After the interview and you got approved, your application will undergo processing. Visa processing times vary, so check the estimated processing time on the US Embassy’s website. The consul will not return your passport if so.
If you were denied of a tourist visa, your passport will be returned along with a letter explaining some details why you were denied. (Sorry, try again!)
9. Wait for the Delivery of your Passport
That’s it! Sorry I don’t remember how long after the interview day until the passport arrived.
Renewing a US visa as a family in the Philippines might involve several steps, but with thorough preparation and accurate documentation, you can increase your chances of success. Keep in mind that visa policies and procedures may change, so it’s essential to stay updated by referring to the official sources. Safe travels and best of luck on your journey!