24 November 2017

Our Journey To The White House - Taking Chances

Our initial White House tour rejection did not discourage us from taking another shot at getting in. Aside from Congresswoman Norton, we also emailed the Philippine Embassy but it took them more than 2 weeks to respond. While waiting for the embassy's response, if any, we also requested a tour through New York Senator Chuck Schumer's website. We still had 2 strikes left.

After waiting for weeks, the Philippine Embassy finally responded:

Mr. Go,

Thank you for your email.

The Embassy can request a limited number of White House Tours on behalf of Filipino nationals.  Tours cannot be requested more than three weeks in advance, and not less than 8 days prior to the tour date.  Tour are scheduled during weekdays (except Mondays) at 8:00am.  The White House requires that Embassy tour groups must be personally escorted by either the Ambassador or the Deputy Chief of Mission, without exception.  At the moment, there is only one person from the embassy who is authorized to escort tour members.

The Embassy needs copies of the valid Philippine passport, valid US visa, name of city and state where the applicants will primarily stay in the US during their trip, and a preferred tour date and an alternate tour date, in order to file the application.

Please note that all White House tour requests are subject to numerical limits (maximum of 5 members) and frequency (twice a week), strict deadlines for submission of documentary requirements, availability of tour dates, approval from the Department of State and final approval from the White House.  Pre-approved tours are also subject to last minute cancellation.

Please email us again 10 days before your requested tour date with clear copies of your passports and visas, and US address.  We may be able to finalize an application for a White House tour on your behalf, depending on the availability of dates at that time.

Thank you for your understanding. 


Administrative Section
Philippine Embassy
Washington, D.C. 

And only an hour later, Senator Chuck Schumer's staff also responded to our request:

Hi Ron,

Thank you for contacting our office requesting a White House tour. By now you should have received an email from the White House requesting your RSVP; please let me know if this is not the case. Please note: receipt of the White House RSVP email does not mean your tour request has been confirmed. The White House will notify me about 2 weeks before the requested tour dates to let me know if the request has been approved or denied. 

Please RSVP to the White House by the deadline included in your email from the White House. After this point in time, your tour request will be voided and need to be resubmitted.

Each member of your tour group must send in their security information through the RSVP. After the deadline, any member of your group who has not filled out their RSVP will be taken off of the tour request and cannot be added back on.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Best of luck,

Staff Assistant, Tour Coordinator
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Senator's email was more promising as we have received an email from the White House itself!
But the excitement was short-lived as we recieved this email a month after, barely a week before we left for the US.
We had only 1 strike remaining, The Philippine Embassy, and time was not on our side.

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