Applying for a US Visa in Canada

Earlier this week, I went to apply for a U.S visa. Fortunately, I was able to pass the interview and I was approved. As promised, I will be sharing the details as to what I did during my visa interview, what the requirements are in applying for a US visa and some tips that may help you pass the consul interview.

I applied for my visa here in Vancouver, British Columbia. I just moved here as a worker a few weeks back and since it’s my first two weeks in the job, I am not yet that occupied, hence, I decided to apply and book an appointment for my US Visa Interview. Fortunately, I was able to get a spot for my personal interview two weeks after I submitted my DS-160 form online.

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The US Visa is one of the most straight-forward visa application processes ever and also one of the hardest Visas to obtain, especially if you are a holder of a third-world country passport. To be honest with you, this is not my first time to apply for it, I have been denied when I first applied. They didn’t give me a specific reason as to why they have denied why application but they just gave me a general reason that they cannot provide me a visa as of the moment. When I applied, I was residing in the United Arab Emirates, earning a decent amount and have traveled to several countries in Europe already, and I have both a valid Schengen and UK Visa.

Also read: HOW TO APPLY FOR A SCHENGEN VISA FOR PHILIPPINE-PASSPORT HOLDERS.

I guess they just deny people who are young, single and don’t have that much justification of deep-rootedness to his or her country of origin or country of residence. Or maybe if they know that you will re-apply then they will just deny you if you’ve failed to meet their requirements during the interview, but yeah, these are just my theories.

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The difference when I applied for the first time and this time is that they now ask you to provide your social media handles when you’re filling your DS-160 form online. Which I think is great as you can prove that you have been to places if you’re like me who posts a lot of travel photos on my social media.

Steps: There are only three major steps when applying for a US Visa

Complete the DS-160 form

The DS-160 form is basically pretty much about your personal information. Make sure to have all the necessary information ready like your parents’ date of birth, contact person in the States, etc.

You can access the DS-160 form here.

Schedule an appointment online

After completing the DS-160 form, schedule an appointment online through the US government online portal for Canada. Make sure to have your payment method ready, as of the moment they accept payment through bank transfer, credit card or Interac eTransfer.

You can book your appointment through here.

Documents Required:

-Printed Confirmation Page with Eligible Barcode

-Printed Accomplished DS-160 Form

-Passport with more than six-months validity

-1pc 2×2 Photo (If you have used the same photo on the DS-160 form which you have submitted online, they won’t ask for the hardcopy,  they will only ask for a photo if you brought a different one from the ones you’ve submitted) 

-Proof of residence (Work permit, study permit or PR Card)

-Bank Statements and any other documents which you think will help in your application. Please note that a flight ticket is not required, they actually encourage people to obtain the visa first before booking any flights. 

Prepare for the interview

Once you have submitted your DS-160 online and have booked your appointment, prepare for the interview. When I say prepare for the interview, I mean prepare yourself to answer for possible questions that they will be asking like: ‘What is your purpose of visit to the United States?’, ‘Who are you visiting in the United States?’, ‘Why the United States of all countries?’ , ‘What is your job?’, ‘How much are you earning?’ And many more.

On the day of the interview, please note they will not allow any big bags, purse or anything bulky which is not necessary for the interview. Also, mobile phones and other devices which can record or transmit data is prohibited inside the consulate or embassy. So I highly suggest that you go there light, or if you are going with someone, you can leave the things with them while you go for your interview.

During my Interview

Me: Good morning, how are you?
Consul: Not so bad, thanks for asking.
me: that’s great (smiled)
Consul: What is your purpose of visit to the United States?
me: I wanted to visit my friend
Consul: you sure it’s your friend and not your girlfriend?
Me: She is a childhood friend, we grew up together back in the Philippines
Consul: Do you have any Families in the States?
Me: Nah
consul: any families here in Canada?
me: Nah
Consul: how long have you been in your job?
me: several weeks, I started last January
consul: what? You just arrived here?!
me: yeah, but I decided to apply now since It’s not so busy in my job as of the moment because of the season
Consul: (looks at me then looked at the computer while typing a lot)
-brief silence-
Me: Is everything ok?
consul: Show me your permit.
Me: ‘handed my permit over’
Consul: ok I’m approving you, that’s it
Me: thank you, enjoy the rest of your d… (consul left the counter
)

The interview lasted only for less than five minutes but it seemed forever. All throughout the interview, I was just being myself, and yeah, I just spoke to the consul as if he is a good friend.

One thing I always advise people who are going to a visa interview is to be ‘brutally honest’. Once caught lying, they will instantly reject your application and in worst cases, they will ban you from re-applying. If you are true to your intentions, then there is nothing to worry about.

On the day of your interview, you need to dress to impress but not overdress. Though I went on my interview with a basic tee and a jogger and I think I was able to slay it, so, haha. Also, manifest good thoughts, it helps a lot. You know what they say, we get what we attract.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

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Exploring Armenia, Top Things to See and Do in This Historic Country.

Armenia is a country in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. It is famously know for its monasteries as well as being the first-ever Christian nation. Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. It is situated just at the foot of the famous Mountain, Ararat. I decided to visit it ever since it has became a trending destinations for expats who are residing in the United Arab Emirates. So I check for cheap flights going there from here in Dubai, and as a budget traveler, one thing I always look for whenever I travel to a new destination is the flight cost, as it’s what takes most of the percentage on the budget. 

I flew with Flydubai going to Armenia. I took a morning flight and I was able to arrive there in the afternoon. Flights to Yerevan from Dubai usually takes around three to three-and-a-half hour.  I went there on Spring time and it didn’t disappoint. Armenia basically has 4 seasons and I guess each season is unique on its own, but there’s just something about spring that made me want to visit it during that time. Uhmm I think maybe because it signifies new beginnings.

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So upon arriving and collecting my luggage, I took a cab from the airport to Yerevan, the main city. Seeing a glimpse of the city from afar, I instantly fell in love with it. It just has this vibe where you can sense so much history in it. Its streets and and all these old structures made it felt as if I have traveled back in time.  

In this article, I will be sharing some of the gems which I stumbled upon while exploring the city on my first day as well as the top things to see and do in Armenia.  

REPUBLIC SQUARE

Republic Square is the central town square in Yerevan. The best place to go during sunsets to see their famous dancing fountain play. Here, you can also witness some buskers showcase their talents.

YEREVAN CASCADE

The Cascade is a giant stairway made of limestone. If you to the highest point of the cascade, you can witness the stunning view of Yerevan from a bird’s eye view. Definitely a must-visit place when in Armenia. 

YEREVAN OPERA THEATRE

Designed by the Armenian architect Alexander Tamanian. This structure is also known as the ‘Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet’. Definitely a site to admire when you are exploring Yerevan. 

NORTHERN AVENUE

Northern Avenue is a pedestrian only avenue in the center of Yerevan. It is sometimes referred to as Yerevan’s high street.  Here you can find countless cafes, pubs and shops. 

YEREVAN VERNISSAGE

Yerevan Vernissage is a large open-air market in Yerevan, Armenia. The name of the market is the derived from the French word vernissage. The market lies along Aram and Buzand streets at a length of 350 metres, connecting the Hanrapetutyun street with the Khanjyan street. 

reference: Wikipedia

HISTORY MUSEUM OF ARMENIA

The History Museum of Armenia is a museum in Armenia with departments of Archaeology, Numismatics, Ethnography, Modern History and Restoration. It has a national collection of 400,000 objects and was founded in 1920.

reference: Wikipedia

VISIT GEGHARD MONASTERY

Your visit in Armenia wouldn’t be complete without being able to visit Geghard Monastery. Geghard is only an hour drive from Yerevan, but you also avail different tours that will bring you here which you can avail at your accommodation’s reception. 

photo by: @iamvh_

LAKE SEVAN

Definitely one of Armenia’s highlight, Lake Sevan. A large, high-altitude lake in eastern Armenia. A must visit place for nature lovers and landscape photographers. 

photo by: @iamvh_

GARNI TEMPLE

The Temple of Garni is the only standing Greco-Roman colonnaded building in Armenia and the former Soviet Union. An Ionic pagan temple located in the village of Garni, Armenia, it is the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia.

reference: Wikipedia

photo by: @iamvh_

TSAGHKADZOR TOWN

Tsaghkadzor, is a spa town and urban municipal community, as well as one of the most popular health resorts in Armenia, located north of the capital Yerevan in the Kotayk Province. 

reference: Wikipedia

When visiting Armenia, I highly suggest to first-time visitors to allot at least three full days to be able to see most or maybe everything that this country has to offer. There are just tons of things to love about Armenia! Beauty just overflows from its breathtaking landscapes to its historic streets.

What I love most about Armenia are its people, they are just one of the most hospitable people I’ve ever encountered in my entire life. They offer you wine and food whenever you go for a visit at their houses, they offer to tour you around the town for free, they give you great tips for the best places in town according to your own preference, etc. These alone are enough for me already to plan my second visit there anytime soon.

Have you been to Armenia? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below!

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more.

Exploring Kawasan falls in Cebu

Before relocating in the UAE, I was based in Cebu, the Queen City of the South working as a seller support agent for Amazon.com. So few years back, I think it was during a long-weekend holiday, my co-workers and I decided to head to the South of Cebu out of boredom, -yeah, just decided to head there in the spur of a moment with no particular destination at all. So basically, when we arrived at the bus station, We decided to head to Badian, to visit the famous Kawasan Falls.  

We’ve reached Badian around 4pm and basically it took us around thirty and something minutes before we reached Kawasan Falls. Thank goodness there was still sunlight during that time and the long unexpected journey was worth it upon seeing the sight of the magnificent Kawasan Falls of Badian. 

Exploring Kawasan Falls, a handy guide, click here.

So, first things first, I brought my camera out to capture the beauty of Kawasan Falls. I have been here many times and I still feel amazed whenever I visit. The excitement is still the same, as if it’s my first time visiting the place.

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We spent around an hour taking photos of each other and swimming back and fourth against the current of the waterfall pool. Around seven o’clock in the evening, we headed to Moalboal, a nearby beach to meet other friends who were already there. We spent the night drinking and basically contemplated about our lives. Then we went for a swim, it’s quite nice and fun to swim under the light of a billion stars on that midnight. The next day, we decided to go for another dip before we got ready to head back to the city.

While we were walking by the shore on our way to the carpark, we met some amazing couple from Switzerland and Spain who make handcrafted bracelets which they sell along the shore to fund their travels. We decided to buy some of their items and basically, they gave us a special discount. I hope to see them again somewhere.

It took us another three-hours to journey back to the city, and upon reaching the city, we just exclaimed, ‘back to reality!’.-The curse of travel lol, you will never want to go back to reality.

Back to present time, whenever someone asks me for some suggestions the best places to visit in the Philippines, I would always suggest Cebu alongside with Palawan. The southern and Northern part of Cebu is basically one of the most beautiful parts to explore.

Have you been to Cebu? What do you think of the place? Share it with us through the comment section below.

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