Getting B1/B2 visa at the US Embassy Riyadh

Two months before Eid-al-fitr holiday 2014, i already planning my trip to visit Belgium to visit my bestfriend who’s studying at Gent University on a full time scholarship. I haven’ t seen him for almost 3 years. That was my original plan. I have completed all my Schengen visa application documents and when it’s time to make an appointment for submission, i got a very late appointment schedule which, not enough to process my visa application so in order not to waste my visa application documents I decided to try to apply for US visa instead. Here’s what I did:

On 9 June 2014 I completed my DS160 visa application online, answering all questions especially the part where i have to provide details of my current work, previous work, countries visited in the last 5 years. After competing it and uploaded my photo, i printed the DS160 confirmation page, then printed my visa application for my personal record. Then i created my profile at and scheduled my appointment. But before you go to schedule your appointment, a link will lead you to how to pay your visa, i click on the over the counter at SAMBA option as i dont have an online banking with SAMBA, a payment deposit slip will be generated containing a CGI number which will be activated after 24hrs after you pay the visa fee of SR608 and once it’s activated you will receive an email saying that your MRV fee receipt has been activated and you have to click on the link to your profile for you to schedule your appointment, choose the date and time of your interview, print the appointment confirmation, bring all documents with it during your interview. I chose 12June 2014 Thursday 9am appointment. At the US embassy entrance you have to queue at your designated appointment time, 9am queue for applicants with 9am appointment schedule. An embassy staff ask us to prepare our appointment confirmation, DS160 confirmation page and passport. When the clock hits 9am they started letting applicants inside the embassy, you have to leave mobile, keys other personal items at the security. Security is tight at the embassy so be prepared. Once inside a staff will greet you and ask you to separate your Employment Letter and bank statement. They will put it in a separate plastic folder along with your passport and DS160 confirmation page, they will also give you a slip with applicant number. They will ask you to sit down and wait until your number is flash on the screen. When they called my number to a specific window, a visa officer will check the documents on the plastic folder, will ask you what is the purpose of your visit to the USA , i answered tourism and visit friends, then they do my 10 finger print scan, they also put an Aramex sticker on my passport. After this i sit down again and waited for my number to be called again to go to the next available window for an interview. When its my turn, i greeted the visa officer “good morning how are you today” with a smile, he replied “im good, how about you”, i replied im good as well, then i handed over to him my documents, he scanned my DS160 confirmation page and gave it back to me, then he scanned my passport and kept it with him, he read my Employment Letter and gave it back to me, he looked at the first page of my bank statement only and gave it back to me, then he ask me to put my left thumb on the finger print scanner, then he asked me ” so _____ why would you want to go to the united states”?, i replied “tourism and i wanna visit a friend of mine who used to work here in Saudi but now he’s in the US”, then the officer said “ok thank you”, then i waited for the next question but nothing, so i ask “that’s all?”, he replied ” yes, thank you”, i answered “ok thank you very much!”. A bit confused as the visa officer didnt told me if my visa is approve or not and didnt know whats the next step so i ask a lady staff “what is the next step after this?” She said “go home and wait for Aramex to send you sms if your passport is ready for collection. The whole process took me only 1 hr including the interview which is only about 2mins. Ater this i went back to my work, carrying my other documents which they didnt even checked. Now the waiting game is on. It was monday 16june 2014 when i received an sms from Aramex saying that my passport is ready for collection. I immediately went to Aramex at Sulaymania branch and took my passport. When i opened the package i check the pages of my passport and i cant see any visa in it until i reach page 38, there my US B1/B2 visa valid for 10yrs multiple entry was pasted. That was one of my happiest day ever!


About hunterpm

I'm an Overseas Filipino Worker based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since January 2007. I love traveling. 25 countries as of January 2019. My favorite countries i visited multiple times are Japan UK France USA. I don't prefer staying at hostel for security & privacy, I'd rather stay at a cheap hotel as long as it has its own toilet and bath. I'm a Top Contributor of TripAdvisor in Riyadh. I used to work in Kapuso network GMA7 in Manila for 6 years before working in KSA. I have this blog to help other travelers the basics & techniques how to apply tourist visas. Hope you enjoy reading my blog... Thanks everyone!!! πŸ˜„πŸ˜˜πŸ˜œ
This entry was posted in Tourist visa application, Travel, US Visa, Visa and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

86 Responses to Getting B1/B2 visa at the US Embassy Riyadh

  1. erick says:

    pwede magtanong? yun pong bank statement mo may stamp pa ng bank manager or pwede na yung PDF na printable sa online banking?Thanks. Erick

    • hunterpm says:

      You can print your E-statement then let your bank stamp the first and last page, although most of the time the consul dont check any supporting documents of the applicant during interview, in my case the consul just look at the first page of my bank statement were my name was written, he didnt looked at the details of transactions and other pages.

      • Vin says:

        Hi sir, good day. What if i only have my passbook on me and i cannot provide statement of acct. with stamp because my bank is in the philippines.

      • hunterpm says:

        Ask your bank in Pinas to send u copy of your updated bank statement by email then print it, at US Embassy during your interview they might ask you why u dont have bank account here in KSA so be ready to answer that. Bank statement is required to be presented during interview to show that your monthly salary written on your employment letter is the same monthly salary u are getting through your bank account. Otherwise present 3months payslip.

  2. machilar says:

    Hi! A good day to you!! May I know the the national identity number and the home address you have used in filling out the DS160 form? Is it the Saudi Iqama and your current address here in Saudi Arabia? Many thanks in advance for your highly informative blog!!!

    • hunterpm says:

      National identity number applies to saudis or other nationalities who have it, filipinos dont have national identity number so choose “not applicable” on the ds160. Current address is where you presently reside, if you are in saudi then you have to put ur saudi address.

  3. machilar says:

    I had my interview today and my passport will be released 4 to 5 days after as per Visa Officer. He gave a green slip with note that reads that my visa application has been approved and that I will receive sms from Aramex for the pick up date etc…Does this mean that I have my B1/B2 visa soon? Many thanks once again as your blog helped a lot as the question were based really on what I have filled in my DS160. After seeing my COE and previous Schengen visa, the VO did not even bother to look at my bank statements and other supporting documents.

    • hunterpm says:

      Congrats Machilar now just wait for aramex to deliver u your passport with your visa in it, during my application i wasnt given a green slip confirming my visa approval, they just retained my passport after my interview which mean i was approved πŸ‘πŸΌ

      • Vin says:

        Congrats!., im going to have my interview this coming march its on 10th of march, i feel nervous., what should i do or how should i prepare for my interview.

    • machilar says:

      Hi Hunter, I got my B1/B2 10 years multiple entry visa yesterday. Thanks for your helpful blog once again. May I have another question? I have appointment in VFS for my Italian Schengen tourist visa and applied for multiple entry visa application. What are the chances being granted with 90 days multiple entry for 6 months? I have applied before and got an approved for single entry in Italy.. Thanks once again.

      • hunterpm says:

        Happy to know u got US visa already! Theres a big chance you’l be getting multiple entry schengen visa since this is not your first time applying plus having US visa helps big time, good luck and enjoy ur travels πŸ™‚

  4. machilar says:

    Just relax and be calm. I applied here in Dharan and the VO only asked question what was written in my DS160. And more important, be honest on your answers and for your purpose.

    • Jonathan Elamparo says:

      I have question machilar if you don’t mind. Did you submitted Statements of your credit card as well? If you did, kailangan ba hindi nagamit pa yung money mo at complete pa or its ok ig gamit na cards mo… Like for instance ang credit limit is 8,500 riyals and you have a balance of 7,000 riyals. Ok lang ba na isali ko yung card ko na yun or yung other card ko nalang na malinis at hindi ko ginagamit pero valid pa.

  5. Jonathan Elamparo says:

    Hi Sir.

    Im all set for my interview. Gather all of the required documents but I have some questions hope you can reply back. Im scheduled this 28th March for interview.

    1. Statements of Account- I have printed my statement of account from Samba website. Is it ok, or do I need to go to the branch and have it stamped by them?

    2. Credit Cards- tatlo lahat ng credit cards ko. Yung dalawa zero ang monthly payment ko kasi hindi ko na ginagamit pero valid pa naman sila. Yung pangatlo ko na card may natira pa na 1,500 riyals ang laman nun sana is 8,500. Tanung ko lang kung it is safe na huwag ko na isama yung 3rd card ko or yung dalawa nalang para safe? What was the status of your credit card during your time?

    3. Contract Copy. My company give me copy of my contract and there is no company on it. It is dated since 2011 and Im already on my 3rd contract with them. Do I need to sign my re-contract and have my company put stamped on it?

    I just want to clarify on the above things. Thank you in advance.

    • hunterpm says:

      Hi jonathan, your printed online bank statement is ok to submit even without bank stamp, they dont require credit card statement, u can present copy of front page of all your valid credit cards, they dont usually ask copy of your employment contract, what they need is your employment letter signed by your sponsor and stamped by your company showing your name, position, monthly salary, iqama number, years in the company, days of leave, purpose of your trip. When i applied, my credit card balance only had around 30% remaining, i presented a copy of my cc but it is not required, they segregated in 1 plastic only the documents they need (employment letter, bank statement, passport, ds160 confirmation page). Good luck πŸ™‚

      • Jonathan Elamparo says:

        Thank you Sir for your reply. I have my employment cert and it stated all of you mentioned except the days of leave and purpose of the trip. However my employer mentioned it there to please assist me to get a US visa for USA visit. Also its mentioned in my COE that I worked since October 2011 till date.

        My credit card in Riyadh bank is worth SAR 8, 500 but I have an unpaid balance of SAR 7000. But anyway I will not include this just the other two.

        On the segregation of documents, are they going to provide us a separate envelop? As I have already arrange all my supporting documents in a clear book.

        Do you have any additional info or question I should get ready of? Please give me additional tips. Another concern for is to answer question related to my profession as they may think I wont come back because I’m a Nurse here in KSA. Do you have any suggestion sir?

      • hunterpm says:

        They have their own plastic to segregate the docs they only need and thats the only doc that the visa officer will check. Regardless whether u have enough money on ur credit card or not they will not check it, they will only consider ur bank statement or sometimes they do not even check any of ur supporting docs, they will rely more on the actual interview so be ready to answer the same details u put on your online application, if u have been traveling to other western countries in the past they will consider that as good proof that u are genuine tourist and they will not ask more questions. Done show nervousness and always greet the visa officer and be honest, good luck

  6. Jonathan Elamparo says:

    I have been to Hong Kong in the last 5 years and Thailand 7 years ago na. Also, yung bank ko here in Saudi is 10,500 ang laman. Do you think enough na yun? my money was in my bank since October pa. How much your money during your time if you don’t mind?

    Pasensiya na po andami kong tanung at salamat din sa reply ninyo.

    • hunterpm says:

      My balance during my time was SR17k but they didnt even checked my bank statement and as iv mentioned on my blog, they only asked me one question, had been to some western countries before i applied US visa and traveling 3x per year on holiday which i think helped alot.

  7. Ali says:

    I am working in ministry of health as a researcher and joined 5 months back. I got acceptance from US to present my research study there and have acceptance letters, as well. is there any specific requirement for employment period in Saudi Arabia ?

    • hunterpm says:

      Normally to establish strong ties, u need to be working in your present employer for atleast 12 months. However im not sure about your case as researcher if they will grant u visa. The only way to find out is to apply, have loads of supporting documents about your research, be ready to answer during interview in the hope that u can satisfy the visa officer to approve your visa.

  8. Ali says:

    Thank you.

    • Ali says:

      He kept my passport yesterday and said visa is approved. when will i get my passport ? He didnt provide any paper or inform about delivery.

      • hunterpm says:

        Congratulations Ali! It may take 2-5 working days. Once your passport is ready, courier company branch u selected will send u sms asking u to collect it from their branch.

      • Ali says:

        Thank you. My experience was exactly like your’s and the proceedings mentioned by you in this blog are quite helpful for everyone willing to apply US visa.

  9. Ali says:

    Can you please send Aramex phone number ? I have address but their location is not clear. Can you tell me a landmark near Aramex Old Sulaymaniyah office.

  10. mak says:

    Do i need to get chamber on my company letter

  11. zenman says:

    hi hunterpm πŸ™‚ good day! Need your advice regarding DS160 – may question na β€˜address where you will stay in the us’, okay lang ba na maghanap ng hotel/apartment sa, pero hindi ko ibook? ang iba kasi hindi cancelable and may downpayment. Since wala akong relative na pwede puntahan ayos lang ba na pumili lang ako ng place to stay sa Thanks in advance πŸ™‚

    • hunterpm says:

      Ok lang magmention ng address ng hotel kase di naman required hotel booking sa pag apply ng US visa, but it will be safe to have one ready just in case they ask, it would be stupid if u book a hotel na non-refundable or need down payment kase ang daming cancelable option sa, also take note that whatever address u put on the ds160 it will automatically appear pagbumili ka ng actual plane ticket kase nakaconnect ung hotel address mo sa passport number mo, u can change it later on so no problem

  12. diana says:

    Hi Kuya Hunter! You have any idea what yung mga requirments for australia visitor?

  13. Diana says:

    Pls., write a blog on how you get an Australia visa. Im really confused on how to start my application from Riyadh. Is it true that I have to go vfs to be able to apply a visa from here.

    • hunterpm says:

      Pls visit Australia embassy website for accurate information. If u r Filipino u can apply entirely online u just need to scan all ur supporting documents u dont even need to submit ur original passport as Australia doesn’t put visa sticker on passport for all types of visa, theyl just email u Visa Approval Notice if ur application is approved.

  14. Zel says:

    Hi, i also want to get a us visa one day just for a tour, what are the chances that i might be able to get one? I already went to cyprus, singapore and I’m going to japan next year. I have heard that these travels might help. And if u won’t mind, how long have you been working here in saudi before securing a us visa? I heard sometimes years of experience here in ksa helps too. And which is better, to take us visa first or a schengen visa? Thank you.

    • hunterpm says:

      I was working in the same employer for 8yrs when i applied for US visa, before i got my US visa, i already traveled to 7 different countries multiple times including Japan Korea Turkey among others, after i got my US i was approved Schengen & UK visa. US visa officer will consider ur travel history and ur length of stay with ur present employer, not the total years of stay in ksa. Some of my friends who’s already here in ksa for the past 6 7 yrs yet they were denied bcoz their years in their present employer is just 2yrs.

      • Zel says:

        So you acquired a schengen visa first. I guess I will have to travel more and work with the same employer but the thing is, I am just 1 year with the ministry, so it means i will have to wait a few more years, whew! How about the schengen? Is it easier to get a visa?

      • hunterpm says:

        I got US visa first so when i applied Schengen visa and UK visa it was much easier, u can read my blogs on my other post

  15. Rema says:

    Thanks for the info!!! Especially the note that we can leave our cellphone at the security… leaving in Saudi Arabia without male guardian means relying to unavailable company drivers for personal transactions and public transportation… so without cellphone, we are lame because we can’t call drivers. Your post is so detailed that gave me the whole picture of what will gonna happen..

  16. Rema says:

    Thanks a lot for this blog and those useful comments!! I just finished my interview… visa approved!! I just need to wait for the call of aramex!!

  17. Margie says:

    Hi hunter
    I commented about getting a U.K. Visa on your blog…which got approved…
    Now I applied I applied for a U.S. visa but got rejected…it keeps wondering why I got denied..prepared all supporting documents like COE, payslip, bank statement, but got rejected, I was wondering maybe the ds160 form that I submitted..did you put identification number on your ds160 form…

    Appreciate your taking your time to read…thanks


  18. Ali Raza says:

    Would you plz provide me employer’s letter format tanking you

  19. shaun says:

    morning Hunterpm,
    wanna ask you about US visit, i’m going NY next week for a week, i’m just worried about US immigration as i heard about them πŸ™‚ its my first time to visit US,
    ok my first question is , i wanna take DATES with me like 1KG for someone, is it ok or do i have to declare ?
    second question is, they check you laptop and mobile phones on immigration if i carry my laptop with me is it ok ?

    • hunterpm says:

      Yes Dates are allowed as long as it’s dried or processed (not fresh) and u have to declare how much u paid for it and for any items or gift u need to indicated the total cost of all. If u r flying via saudia emirates etihad u need to open ur phone and laptop for final security check before boarding the plane. On landing in US, they will only check it if u r randomly selected for secondary inspection.

      • shaun says:

        what does it mean “u need to open ur phone and laptop” means they gonna check my mobile applications and laptop data something like that ?
        im flying via KUWAIT AIR.

      • hunterpm says:

        Check if laptop is allowed on board for kuwaitair. If u r randomly selected for secondary inspection upon landing at US airport, u r required to open ur mobile and laptop if immigration ask u to do so, they will check all ur emails sms social media online chats etc.

  20. shaun says:

    oh alright ,
    thanks Hunterpm πŸ™‚

  21. Louielito Mendeja says:

    Good morning Hunterpm,
    I am currently applying for US visa and I just deposited the application fee last Thursday to Samba and as mentioned on the website that it will be activated the next business day after 11 a.m. By the way, I have applied with 2 other family members (wife and daughter) so I paid SAR 608×3 = 1824 but under one deposit slip only (was the payment I did correct?), since before making the appointment, the website needs 3 separate receipt numbers. Question is where or how to get these numbers?

    • hunterpm says:

      If u paid for 3 person successfully for one family applying together then no problem. Only 1 deposit slip is OK and the CGI number will be the same for all 3. The CGI number will automatically appear once payment is activated the following day. Just check ur account after 11am and if u see that CGI number on each applicant, it means u can choose ur appointment date and time.

  22. Louielito Mendeja says:

    Many Thanks for the reply Hunterpm. I paid last Thursday (11-Jan-2018), 2 businessdays (take out friday/sat/holiday on sunday) have passed but there is no activation yet, still relying on my patience though. Anyway, I have another question…is it required to present a booking for plane ticket?

  23. Hello po may tanong po ako. Pag may nag invite po sakin from USA anong docs po ang kailangan niya ipadala? Salamat po.

  24. Dto po ako Saudi need ko sana malaman ung documents na kailangan sa mag invite at ipadala sa akin para magamit ko sa pag apply ng tourist visa. Salamat po.

    • hunterpm says:

      Pag tourist visa po apply mo di kailangan ng invitation letter, need lang po ito if ppunta ka dun for business conference training. Sa interview lang po sila nagbabase if approve or deny ka.

  25. sunny says:


    do they need hotel bookings and air ticket confirmation when applying for visa?

  26. sunny says:


    and how many months yung bank statement? thanks again

  27. seok says:

    Hello Hunter,
    I have some trouble now on my CGI registration as I wrongly put Philippines as my US Visa application wherein It should be in Saudi Arabia. I want to change or cancel it but how? I can reschedule only the location but not the Country itself. Too bad.

    • hunterpm says:

      U need to send email to UStraveldocs so they can assist u. Visit their website to know exact email add.

      • seok says:

        Thanks Hunter, what I do is just a phone call from their customer service and they change the location of my application instead of Manila to Riyadh. Your blog is correct that in order for an applicant to have a greater chances of visa approval, He/She should have work in the company longer than 6 years (company not the length of stay in Saudi). I work only for 1 yr and 8 months in the company that’s when the consul have some doubts on my application but after finding out that I have above salary than the average ordinary American worker (USD 4,000), he approved my application and now received my passport with multiple entry of 10 years validity. They really do not care if you are travelling to many places even in UK, Europe and Australia or Canada. You just have to be genuine applicant and prove that you will not overstay in their land or become illegal. So advice to all applicant who are less than 6 years working in your company, think twice before wasting your money and please do not lie as they already do the background investigation before the interview date. They did not even took my documents which is the Bank Statement and Employment Certificate nor even took at it. I bring it back home with a smile on my face for the visa approval!

  28. Faiz Ali says:

    Hello Sir, Is it necessary the Employment letter attestation from Chamber of commerce?

    • seok says:

      From my experience, they did not even look on my documents but I prepare my certificate with Chamber of Commerce Authentication. They did not even took all my documents. Everything is in my hand but just do it for some circumstances which we never know they might ask. So better be prepared. Just prove to them that you will not overstay there. I don’t get why people overstay there? What is the benefits of being illegal. It was a scary situation. I got 10 years multiple entry and I’m from Philippines.

  29. ark says:

    hey appreciate you work… i have two questions..
    1) is there a period for which iqama has to be valid for applying us visa….i mean can u apply 1 mnth before date of ur iqama expiration.
    2) is appointment available easily here in ksa… i intend to apply from Dhahran , and want to apply in november … after i fill my DS160 , how soon is the appointment usually available?

    • ark says:

      hey hunter if u could reply to my query mentioned above thanks

    • hunterpm says:

      1. Its not mentioned about the validity of Iqama requirement but for safety, u should apply while your Iqama is still valid for 6months atleast as they may double check the validity and ask u to renew it before applying visa. Iqama can be renewed 2 months before it expires.
      2. Plenty of appointment availability on their website so dont worry.
      How about hitting the LIKE button for this post if u find it helpful?

  30. SUNNY_SHAMS says:

    hi hunter,

    In DS-160 application form. what is the meaning of “FULL NAME IN NATIVE ALPHABET”. DO I HAVE TO CLICK…Does Not Apply/Technology Not Available


    • hunterpm says:

      Depends in your nationality, if u are an Arab, u need to write your name in Arabic letters. If you are from China then write it in Chinese characters. If your are from Sri Lanka then write it in Sinhalese letters. If your nationality doesnt have native letters, just tick Does not apply.

      • SUNNY_SHAMS says:


      • hunterpm says:

        Put your family name in the surname then put your name and middle name on the First Name part. Pls google how to fill out DS160 u can find all the answers there.

  31. SUNNY_SHAMS says:

    thanks a lot hunter:)

  32. Zel M says:

    Is there a need to submit an itinerary? Thanks

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