$480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

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Winston
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Re: $480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

Post by Winston »

Yohan wrote:
August 24th, 2020, 11:12 am
Winston wrote:
August 24th, 2020, 4:29 am
@hypermak , @Spencer , @CannedHam , @Contrarian Expatriate , what do you think of their reply above? Isn't that a typical canned government reply that is tactful and designed to "brush you off" politely? lol
I think writing letters to any US-immigration/consulate will bring you to nowhere... Likely waste of time.

Maybe complain to some newspapers in the States, makes more sense.
You can even play the race-card, as all of you are not 'white' - not a very nice way to go, but media often like to run after such stories.

But really, I do not understand why to bring them to the States. Let them in the Philippines and travel with them somewhere in Asia, of course only possible after the corona-virus gets away. Might take up to next year I guess...
You are right that such letters to argue with a government embassy are gonna be a waste of time, however this embassy is at least nice enough to reply to my letters. Hence I have a venue in which to ask my critical questions and try to find out specifics. For example, what the specific criteria are for granting tourist visas to Filipinos. The criteria on their website is vague and arbitrary, not exact or specific. Probably, they cannot divulge specifics, that is their trade secret, lest people will use those specifics to argue for their qualification. But the consular officer contradicts himself if he says the decision is purely technical and "by the book" yet he's unwilling to divulge specifics, which indicates its arbirtray and subject to judgement calls. Or maybe there are some core specifics but they cannot divulge them for obvious reasons. Either way, I'm trying to learn something useful at least. And also wondering what factors will make a difference. Or if it's all about income and length of job or business.

The US media probably has no interest in this. Isn't it better I contact Manila newspapers or organizations like ACLU?

How can I play the race card? Every Filipino is not white, and remember Dianne is the applicant, not me, so I can't use my race or her race in a race card. lol

Well the states is where Dianne and I love the nature the most. I mean the desert canyons and landscapes and mountains and fresh air. The US is best for all that and has the best national parks, hands down. Dianne loves nature and is into deserts too like me, so the Southwest USA is one of our ideal location destinations. And of course, Dianne wants to visit her sister too.

In Asia, as I've complained many times before, I can't enjoy nature because nature is insect infested. Even my house in Taiwan is insect infested. Ants crawl on me and flying insects get in all the time and are a pain. That's why Asia is hard to enjoy unless you're in a city. The outdoors is important to me. But yeah I took Dianne to Thailand and Cambodia last year, so I've taken her around Asia before.
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Re: $480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

Post by Winston »

Another email I sent the Manila US Embassy with a few more important key questions:

"Dear Martin Lahm, Consular Unit Chief:

Sorry to bother you again, but I have a few more important key questions for you that I forgot to ask.

1. Are each of the interviews allotted something like 5 min each? If so, then Dyan's party consisted of three applicants, so shouldn't they have been entitled to 15 min total for all three? It's basic math. I mean, think about it. If each $160 applicant gets 5 min to make their case, then shouldn't 3 applicants get 15 min total for the group interview, especially since they were all interviewed together? Especially since $160 each person is a lot of money? Why would 3 applicants paying $480 total only get 5 min? (or in Dyan's case, even less, about 3 min I think) Isn't that a jip and ripoff? The interview lady should have considered that. She should also not have said "Do not speak unless spoken to please." That was uncalled for. How would you feel if she said that to you so that you weren't allowed to present your case? Geez, even in a police interrogation, the cops will allow the witness to present their case. How can you guys be worse? Aren't you ashamed?

2. Don't you agree that it was wrong for the interviewer lady to pick on Dyan's mom, who spoke the least English out of the three? Like I said, Dyan was the DESIGNATED speaker for all of them, since she spoke English the best and has the best verbal skills. So she was supposed to talk to her. Not pick on her mom. Isn't that kind of mean spirited, don't you agree? Do you call that fair? Why did she do that? Is there some policy that says that in a group, you MUST interview the mother or the oldest member? I doubt it. So you gotta admit that she messed up. Can you be honest for once and stop trying to "cover your a**"?

3. Now if I'm right, and she should not have done that, and her behavior was in bad taste and NOT in accord with any policy, then shouldn't that INVALIDATE and DISQUALIFY her interview? If so, shouldn't you be obligated to grant Dyan a second interview FREE and on the house? (and for the reason in question #1 above too?) I mean, come on dude, you guys are getting FILTHY RICH from these 5 min $160 interviews, so why can't you grant another one for free on the house? Even if it's not your damn "policy", shouldn't you do so for fairness sake? Don't you or someone else there have the power to do that? Or are you gonna tell me that your "hands are tied"? Come on. If your hands are tied, can you ask someone higher up then, and tell them that your staff lady screwed up?

Tell me honestly, do you think it was fair for the mean lady to do that? Tell me the truth. Yes or no please. Can you stop being narrow minded for once and more empathetic and reasonable?

What if I were to ask the ACLU the same question? Do you think they would think that your staff was fair? Or what about the Manila Times? How about I ask them and see?

If this staff lady was a "bad apple" on your team, and most of your staff are more fair and professional, then isn't that all the more reason to give Dyan and/or her mom and sister, a second interview on the house? I know government agencies aren't supposed to do that, but isn't there just cause in this case? Can you do this even if you wanted to and even if you agree with me? If not, who has the power? Can you ask someone higher up then?

4. Can you explain to me what "strong ties" means exactly? You said that the lady's decision was "by the book" but how can something be "by the book" if it's vague? "By the book" means the criteria are exact and specific. You know that I'm sure. We all know that very few things are truly by the book. Even policemen have to make arbitrary judgment calls. So do doctors, court judges, analysts, etc. Now the DMV may go "by the book" sure, however, they also list their specific criteria of how one qualifies to get a driver's license, and it is not vague. That is different from your vague definition of "strong ties". What constitutes "strong ties"? Can you be specific? If not, and it's a trade secret, then you cannot claim that things are done "by the book" right? You can't have it both ways without contradicting yourself.

Check out this story from a young Filipino girl who successfully passed the tourist visa interview at your embassy. Can you tell me what "strong ties" she had to the Philippines that qualified her? She made it sound like passing the interview is easy as long as you look professional and act confident. Is that so? But she never explained WHY exactly she passed and others could not. Can you explain why? See below.

https://twomonkeystravelgroup.com/usa-v ... filipinos/
https://twomonkeystravelgroup.com/usa-v ... on-answer/

Doesn't the interviewer look for red flags or signs in the applicant's clothes, appearance, body language, facial expression, way of talking, etc? Just like a job interviewer would? I would imagine so. If so, those are very subjective, and different interviewers will see different things. Hence it cannot be "by the book" right? Or is it all purely and strictly by income and job length and how big of a business they own, etc? Can't you shed any light on that at all? Or is it purely arbitrary?

Thanks for reading this. Hope you can do whatever you can in your power to help or shed some light on this, even if you can't provide a second interview on the house (though you should for the good valid reasons above).

Sincerely,
Winston"
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Re: $480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

Post by Winston »

Important KEY questions that might shed some light on the issue of who passes or not at the US tourist visa interview:

"Dear Mr. Martin Lahm and US Consulate:

I have a critical question for you that would shed a lot of light on the matter. Here is a blog article containing a story about how a Filipina girl aced her tourist visa interview in 3 or 4 minutes:

https://twomonkeystravelgroup.com/usa-v ... filipinos/

Her full name is displayed in her blog post above on her ID card, as you can see, so she can be looked up in your records. Can you tell me how she aced the interview and proved that she had "strong ties" enough to return home after visiting the US? The answer to this would definitely shed a lot of light on the matter, so I am asking this now.

Now at first glance, it appears that because she has a good job, that that may be what qualified her for the tourist visa. However, I don't think it's that simple. Because if you read all the anecdotal accounts online from Filipinos who applied, you will find that many with good jobs, and even good assets and property, were denied the visa. So there is no common denominator or linear logic as to who gets approved and who doesn't. And all your website says is a vague statement like "the applicant must prove they have strong ties and will return home" which can be arbitrarily interpreted a number of ways. So there must be other factors, perhaps even intangible ones, including expert psychological profiling, that are involved too. Am I right? Can you shed any light on this?

Here's my theory and educated guess, which I posted in my forum, about how your process might work behind the scenes. Can you tell me whether I am right or not? Or give me some useful specifics about the exact criteria that is used in whether an applicant passes or not? Or any useful info that might shed light at all? If I am right then that means of course, Mr. Martin Lahm, that your claim that everything is done "by the book" cannot be true, right? So why did you say that?

My Hypothesis and Theory:

viewtopic.php?style=11&p=344519#p344519

"However, the US tourist visa requirements are vague. They say that the applicant must prove that they have "strong ties" that will bring them back home. But "strong ties" could be arbitrary. Isn't having a child back home a "strong tie"? If it's about a job or business, that isn't always consistent either, because if you read the anecdotal accounts online, lots of Filipinos with money and assets who are considered rich or well-off have been refused a US tourist visa too. So there must be other intangible factors at play. Like psychological factors based on the applicant's photo and background.

It could be, as Mr S said, that the decision is already made by people in the back, perhaps professional psychologists or profilers, and the interview at the front is just a formality. Obviously a lowly office worker like those interviewers cannot make a decision in 3 or 4 minutes. They aren't that smart, nor are they experts in psychological profiling. My guess is that the interviewer's monitor screen already tells them if an applicant is already approved or not, and the interview is just a formality that doesn't make any difference. Someone in the back who is an expert in profiling people has probably already researched the applicant's background, and made the decision in advance.

That's why the new application online I saw, now asks for the applicant's Facebook page or blog. Because those things allow them to see a bigger picture and more in depth about the applicant's life and background and who they hang out with. A blog of course, allows them to see into their mind and thoughts and education level. In the case of this successful applicant:

https://twomonkeystravelgroup.com/usa-v ... filipinos/

As you can see, her blog looks clean, neat, well organized, and her English is very good. She sounds educated and classy. Sure she has a job, but lots of applicants with jobs get turned down. So it can't just be about that. Besides, how would the embassy know if she plans to abandon her job and stay in the US with her boyfriend permanently? Especially if she falls in love with him? She did say on her application that she's going to the US to visit her boyfriend. So they know that such a thing is possible. So the big question is: How do they know she won't overstay in the US and fall in love with her boyfriend and not wanna come back? It can't just be because she has a job, even if she's had one for years. There has to be other factors they look at. That's what I wanna know. I'll send these questions to the US embassy and see if they can shed light on it. lol

You can tell a lot about someone from their photos, blog, and facebook, if you know how. Not all men are good at reading people (even if they are arrogant know-it-all types of men who think that if they can't see something then no one can). But there are some who have a 6th sense and intuition about it, especially if they've investigated and profiled thousands of people before.

For example, if you ask a homicide detective who has solved a hundred cases, they will tell you that they can tell if someone is guilty or innocent just from talking to them and sizing them up. They are able to read them and use their 6th sense and intuition to size them up, and most of the time they are right. When you have a lot of experience sizing people up, it comes naturally with time. Experienced doctors who have seen thousands of patients can usually recognize symptoms right away after a while, even without doing tests, because after a while, they learn to recognize them automatically. I would imagine the FBI has an expert profiler and psychologist who does things like that, like sizing people up by looking at their pics and background info, which lowly clerks and FBI agents cannot do. Believe it or not, some people are good at that sort of thing, and if you are, you can easily size someone up in minutes from talking to them or looking at their photos and videos.

For example, watch the movie "Silence of the Lambs" and you will see that Hannibal Lecture is an expert criminal psychologist who is able to see little clues, details and nuances about someone that ordinary people will not notice. And if you read Sherlock Holmes stories, you will see that Holmes can see many subtle clues about a suspect just from looking at him, that normal people never see. Such people do exist in real life.

Of course, a lot of arrogant men think that's impossible, and assume that just because they suck at reading people that everyone else must too, because they think they know it all, and if they can't see something, then no one can. Those arrogant men are ignorant and wrong of course, but they exist unfortunately, because male pride and male ego and arrogance are full of shit. I've kicked those men's ass in debate many times and all they can do is run away and yell parting insults at me, because they can't stand losing or being proven wrong. Their egos are huge and even if they are low IQ and stupid, they still think they "know it all" because they are men and have huge pride and ego. Stupid f***s is what they are. But they are everywhere, even in this forum there are stupid men who think they know it all when they really do not. (you know who you are) Sorry I just had to get that out, because there are many arrogant stupid pricks out there who will debate everything even when they know they are wrong, and I'm so sick of those stupid f***s.

Anyway, that's my theory. It's an educated guess about how the process might really work. Because there is no consistency with it, so there must be more at play here, such as deeper intangible factors that involve expert profiling and psychological analysis.

I would consider myself good at that too. Because after meeting thousands of people, I too have an instinct or knack about who I can trust and who I can't. And most of the time I am right.

I would venture to guess that if an applicant looks too floosy, like they just "flow with the wind" and don't care about any morals, ethics or principles, that is a red flag to them. You sort of can recognize that from looking at a person's mannerisms, face and personality, the way they talk and carry themselves, their body language, etc. It's hard to explain, but you can tell. Even dogs can read people well by their intuition, they know a good person from a bad person. Any dog owner will tell you that. So it's an intuition that one can hone, especially with experience.

It could be that having a blog helps a lot, like in that girl's case above, who aced the interview in 3 minutes by just answering a few simple questions about herself. Because when you have a blog, it means you stand for something. You have a purpose and a specific viewpoint, you aren't just an empty vacuous shell with no opinion and just flows with the wind, like most Filipinos probably are (no offense to any Filipinos out there). They probably prefer people who stand for something, over someone who stands for nothing and just flows with the wind, because such a person who gets to the US could decide to overstay there, just because he or she "feels like it" and doesn't care about following the law, and does not even think twice about it. That would be my guess.

Maybe I should ask Dianne to start a blog, if that's the case. lol"

Sincerely,
Winston"
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Re: $480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

Post by Winston »

"Dear US Consulate: (Attn: Mr. Martin Lahm)

I have one more question. Is it better for tourist visa applicants to interview individually and separately, or altogether in a group? The last interview my girlfriend Dyan did was a group interview with her mother and sister, as I explained before, and the interviewer lady kept picking on the mother, who spoke the least amount of English, which was mean spirited of course, and she should not have done that. (Can you inquire with her about why she did that? And if you'd be so kind, disqualify her and allow a second interview free and on the house as an apology? Just asking, as it'd be the right and proper thing for you to do, regardless of your mechanistic "policy".)

Now the thing is, my advisors told me that that was a bad idea, and that they should have all been interviewed separately. And that Dyan's chances for passing would have been higher if she alone was considered, because she speaks well and is very likable in her demeanor, and tends to make a good impression on people. Is that true? Is there a better chance and advantage if one interviews separately rather than in a group? What are the pros and cons of each option? In a group interview, is everyone either accepted or rejected? Can't different members in a group interview pass or fail?

I still think a group should have been given more time though, rather than the time that an individual gets, which is about 3 or 4 minutes it seems. Because a group of three who paid $480 should logically get triple the time that an individual gets. So if an individual gets 5 min then a group should get 15 min I think. Don't you agree? Because in a group, all individuals have to be considered, not just one. So the way you did this group interview was kind of screwed up and off. You know what I mean? Each member of the group should have been considered and passed or failed separately, not failed all at once like that. You know what I mean? Please be honest and not make excuses please, to try to justify a bad interview that was not fair or done properly.

Mr. Martin Lahm, you said in your last letter: "I very much appreciate your interest in this matter and understand the disappointment in the outcome."

I just wanted to clarify that I can accept them being rejected and denied IF the interview was done fairly and properly, as I mentioned in my previous letters. If they had been given enough time to present all the evidence from their portfolio, such as the many entry/exit passport stamps in Dyan's passport which showed a solid track record of return to her country, etc, and not told "do not speak unless spoken to", and given more time to present their case as I mentioned. Geez. Even a police interrogation is more fair than that. lol. I mean if you were a suspect or witness at a police interrogation, they'd give you plenty of time to present your case or evidence to them, to support you case. So how can your interviewer be worse than that in a police station? lol. Go figure.

So I just wanted to iterate that yes I can accept the outcome of them being denied, and can accept the disappointment just fine. My issue is that the interview was unfair and improper, for many reasons I cited. I can deal with disappointment just fine. We all have disappointment in life, and I am mature enough to deal with it. So don't think that I cannot or that disappointment and rejection is the issue here. It is not. My issue is with the way this interview was done and why it was unfair and improper for several reasons which I elaborated on at length in previous letters. Just wanted to make that clear to you.

Mr. Lahm, you also said in your previous letter: "Renewed applications are most likely to succeed if there are material changes in applicant circumstances or when there is new, credible, material, and verifiable information that might affect the eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa."

What kind of "material changes" or "new information" do you mean? Can you give examples or exact criteria? Otherwise this is nebulous and arbitrary right? And not "by the book" as you said. See my previous letter about why this is not consistent, because Filipinos with good jobs and assets are also denied the visa too, so it can't be all about the job or income of the applicant right?

For instance, right now, Dyan has a new job as a waitress in an expat restaurant, would that qualify as a "material change in circumstance"? I'd really like to know, because this could be helpful in determining how probable she is to pass or not. That's why this is a crucial question and issue. Do you understand? I'm sure if you were me, you'd wanna know the same thing right? Can you shed some light on this issue or offer specific criteria that is not vague or subject to interpretation?

Thanks,
Winston"
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Re: $480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

Post by CannedHam »

I am shocked you got a semi-personal reply from someone so high up at the embassy.
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Re: $480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

Post by Winston »

"Dear Martin Lahm, Unit Chief,

There was one more question you never truly answered. Remember you said:

"Reconsiderations of prior refusals are properly done in the context of a reapplication for a visa and any such reapplication will be subject to our normal adjudication process. Renewed applications are most likely to succeed if there are material changes in applicant circumstances or when there is new, credible, material, and verifiable information that might affect the eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa."

But what if the applicant had shown the info I mentioned to you earlier, about all the entry/exit stamps in her passport to several countries? They constitute proof of her track record in entering and leaving foreign countries lawfully and not overstaying right? So my question is:

If that mean interviewer lady seen those passport stamps (or a photocopy of them which I included in the portfolio), and had Dyan been allowed to show her that during the interview, would it have made a difference in the decision?

I asked this several times in my emails. I don't think you addressed it specifically yet.

If you aren't sure, can you ask the interviewer lady about it? By emailing her? Or ask another interviewer? Preferably one that's more kind?

Also, one more key question. You mentioned in your last letter something about "qualifying" and "qualifications" for the US tourist visa. But you never said specifically what those qualifications are exactly. Why? How can someone know how to qualify if the qualifications aren't clear or specific? You see what I mean?

If to qualify, one has to "show strong ties that one will return home to the Philippines" then isn't that subjective and involves a wide range of things that can be interpreted a number of ways according to the judgment of the interviewer? If so, then supporting documents would matter in this case, if they are relevant and attest to an applicant's qualifications right? I mean if supporting documents help support that an applicant has "strong ties" to their country are likely to return, then they are relevant and should be reviewed right? Such as the passport stamps I mentioned above which show a good track record of entering and leaving foreign countries lawfully and not overstaying. Right?

If so, then yes they are relevant and should be reviewed if they support the "strong ties" qualification right? So why did you say that supporting documents are irrelevant and don't need to be considered or shown then in your last letter? I'm confused. Do you see my point? Can you address this question?

Thanks,
Winston"
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Re: $480 Ripoff at US Embassy in Manila for Tourist Visa With NO Real Interview Given! Scam Report!

Post by hypermak »

As far as I understand, "strong ties" usually means
  • a stable job to go back to and
  • ownership of the home that is on the applicant's registered address.
If your partner has neither of those, having a succesful Visa basically becomes like winning the lottery. Buying the ticket is necessary but, by no means it will guarantee you a prize.

It might sound like a stupid question but...have you ever thought about marrying Diane? If you have been living together for a number of years, you have a kid together and you are planning to be a couple for the foreseeable future, why not just tie the knot ane make it simpler, in fact a lot simpler, for Diane and Angelo to enter the US, and even Taiwan?
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