THIS IS MY STORY

I still remember the morning of June 24, 2004, the day of my appointment in the US Embassy. I flew to Manila a day before for my interview well-prepared. I wore my best attire and even got a haircut. I wanted to look professional and “approved” in the looks department.

In my mind, that US TOURIST VISA was already mine. What can go wrong? I had prepared well for it. I had been traveling abroad. I had a well-established business. My bank accounts were full. I had a rich-sounding surname. And I spoke good English. I also paid a travel agency to help me with my application.

Armed with my business permits, financial documents, property titles and passports, I was full of confidence as I entered the US Embassy. After a series of security checks, stampings, more checks and filing of application, I was finally inside the well-lit appointment room. While waiting for my turn to be interviewed, I took the time to encourage my fellow applicants, telling them that the US TOURIST VISA was easy and that they could get an approval.

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

I waited for 4 hours before my turn came. I presented myself at the interview window. The interviewing consul read my name and I acknowledged. He asked me one question and I casually replied. He then followed up with one more. While I was giving an answer, the consul cut me in mid-sentence, saying emphatically, “I am sorry, but I cannot issue you a US TOURIST VISA at this time.” He handed my passport with a stamp indicating my denial. I waited four long hours, only to get a stamp of denial in less than 2 minutes. My chances of entering the land of the free and the home of the brave were gone in 60 seconds. . .

SHAME & REJECTION

I was shocked. I felt lost and confused. I couldn’t believe what just happened. I wanted to defend myself and reason out—but it was too late. Before I could open my mouth, the next interviewee was called. I was so stunned. Shame crept in. As I turned my back from the interview window, my fellow interviewees who were still waiting from afar, asked me if I was approved, giving me that thumbs up sign. I still gave a thumbs-up—not indicating I made it—but that I will be okay and they need not pity me nor worry about me. I envied those who made it and were making phone calls outside informing their loved ones of the good news. Yes, rejection really hurts.

NOT ALONE

I realized I was not alone. Who has not heard of the following US TOURIST VISA APPLICANTS who received a denial?

*The prominent mayor who got denied

*The rich businessman with his bejeweled wife getting thrown out of the embassy for shouting at the consul after being rejected

*The Fortune 500 salesman who was told twice that it was not his lucky day

*The pastor who was backed by his church who still got denied not once, not twice, but three times

*The very well dressed lawyer who was outrightly denied

*The rich owner of a very popular cellular phone company

And yet, I had these clients–

*The struggling hog raiser owner who only had $200 in his bank account and had no documents to present

*The bachelor who wanted to splurge in Las Vegas but had little to show for it

*The retired hearing-impaired school administrator who didn’t have much in savings

All of them got an APPROVAL, even if they didn’t seem qualified. What made the difference?

They all had the help of THE US VISA COACH. . .

Alas, the not-so wise learns through failure and pays for it dearly! But the wise sees trouble from afar, humbles himself and asks for help.

THE SECOND TIME AROUND

Let me tell you how I finally got my US TOURIST VISA. . .

I am a huge fan of mix martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Champion or commonly known as the UFC. There was a raffle prize to watch the fight live in Las Vegas, and I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the winners. My only problem was that I did not have a US TOURIST VISA. So I had to apply… again.

I knew better already. And so on appointment day, I showed up without anybody in sight in the waiting area. There were no usual crowd of applicants. There was just one person in line with me (Another secret to getting approvals.) Some quick questions from the consul and armed only with my passport and a newspaper clipping, I was immediately approved for a 10 year valid visa.

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