Hello 2019!

2018 has been a busy year. I stopped writing here mid of last year because I got promoted at work (yay!) but has been really busy.

One of my goal for this year (and was my goal last year) is to write 1 post each week. Last year is also the first time I didn't have a year-end summary. Oh well. Let's  be positive as we welcome the new year.

New Year's Eve I arrived in Canada last 2015 and I spent NYE for 2016, 2017, and 2018 thinking and dreaming of watching the fireworks in Downtown Vancouver. I didn't go those previous years because of the cold and crowd. I told my brother during my first NYE in Canada that we should book a hotel in Downtown where we could see the fireworks, avoid the crowd, and be warm.

Pan Pacific Hotel That dream came true NYE of 2019. Last September, I booked a hotel room at Pinnacle Hotel. However, in November, I learned that the fireworks display won't be visible from any of their rooms which is unfortunate. I, then, called Pan Pacific Hotel …

How to apply for a US Nonimmigrant (tourist) visa in Vancouver, Canada?

I just had my interview for a US Tourist (Nonimmigrant) Visa this morning, and in this post, I want to share the process and my experience to hopefully help you with your application.

I am a Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) card holder with a Philippine passport. Do I still need to have a valid US Visa to enter the US?


How much does it cost to apply for a US tourist visa from Canada?

USD$160.00 (depending on the conversion rate; I paid around CAD$215.00)

How do I apply for a US tourist visa (as a Philippine passport holder with a PR card)?

    Part 1. All online

  1. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
  2. Pay the visa application fee. It's all online. You will need a valid credit card to do this.
  3. Schedule your appointment.
  4. Read and follow the instructions carefully and thoroughly.
  5. Part 2. Prepare things to bring

  6. You are required to print the DS-160 with the barcode. Yes, a printed copy is required. If for some reason, you didn't, there's a nearby print and fax shop at the consulate. However, it is best to print this beforehand.
  7. Please bring a 2x2 photo as well. You can go to London Drugs or Shoppers and tell them you need a 2x2 for US Visa and they'll know what to do. In case you forget, they have a photo booth on the second floor for $10 (not sure if it's CAD or USD) - not sure if it works, though. It is best to have the requirements ready before going there.
  8. Don't forget to bring your PR card or work permit or student permit (whichever applies to you).
  9. Of course, bring your valid passport.
  10. If you have been issued a US tourist visa in the past, bring the passport that has it as well.
  11. Part 3. Day of the interview (allocate 3 hours for the whole thing)

  12. Be there 15 minutes before your scheduled time slot.
  13. Two employees will ask the people for each time slot to line up. Once they call your time, they will ask to see the printed copy of DS-160, the 2x2 picture, and your passport.
  14. A third person will scan your DS-160 bar code and put a sticker in the back of your passport.
  15. They will ask you to line-up for the first of three security checks.
  16. Then, Window 1 will ask for your passport, PR card, picture, and DS-160. They will also ask to see the issued US tourist visa, if available.
  17. Window 2 will get your fingerprints. Then, they will give you a number. It's the order of how you should lineup before going upstairs on the 20th floor. Security personnel will call the numbers by a group (e.g. 101-103) depending on how many people are in each number.
  18. The Interview

  19. Present your passport, and they will ask to see any old visa that you may have.
  20. They will ask questions about your status in Canada if you have any family members here and the US, and how long are you planning to stay in the US. I'm sure they ask more questions, but these are the ones they asked me.
  21. Then, they will tell you if you got approved (I'm not sure what they tell you if you get denied) and that it will be ready for pickup in 3-5 days.


Some of the things I learned today.
  1. Please don't bring your phone. Although, if I knew the consulate have small lockers where you can leave it, then I would have left my phone with them, and I would not have left the house without it. The three hours without my phone felt really weird. It made me realize how dependent I was to the device.
  2. If possible, have a companion who can wait for you at Starbucks downstairs. They can hold any bags you have so that you're only carrying your documents and some cash or a credit card to the consulate.
  3. If you're alone (like me earlier) and they ask you to leave your bag somewhere because you can't bring it for some reason, then I recommend going to the Quiznos across the street. They will ask you to pay $10, so you can leave your things with them. I'm not sure if that's legal, but they kept my bag safe for 3 hours, so I'm good with that (plus one of the cashiers is Filipino who is super helpful and friendly).

I guess that's it. I will wait for my passport to be ready for pickup at the nearby Canada Post Office and will update this blog post, if necessary. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help.


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