Visit USA

Visitor visa is considered to bring in the largest number of Non-Immigrants to the country and is a rich source of wealth through tourism etc. Consulates, however, have vast discretion while deciding on a visitor visa application, and denials are frequent. As the U.S. government is making efforts to promote foreign tourism, it is important to reconsider the consular discretionary power in deciding the application for a visitor visa.

Visa approval rates fluctuate, but the regulatory guidelines remain the same. A well-prepared visa application and proper responses at the consular interview can get approval despite prior visa denial(s).

A visitor visa or B visa is granted for short-term visits for pleasure or business.  Visitors come with a temporary purpose, i.e., the person plans to return to their country upon accomplishing the purpose of visit.

Under the relevant rules, the Foreign National is permitted to visit the U.S.

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    for the short term;

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    with a definite purpose in mind;

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    shall leave the U.S. soon after accomplishing it; and

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    may not be gainfully employed.

Applicants could come to the U.S. to meet family members, attend pleasure tours, attend conferences, or for independent research for a publication included, including certain business trips, medical treatment, or participate in amateur athletic events.

Grant of a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) requires proof of "nonimmigrant intent." This means the visa applicant must show that they will not stay in the U.S. longer than necessary nor settle permanently. This is done by providing proof of sufficient connections to a foreign national’s country that work like a magnet and pull them back to his home country, e.g., ownership of home/ business, presence of immediate family members, a strong career, or other interest in the home country, etc.

Future problem erupts when the FN attempts to engage in activities inconsistent with the purpose of his visa. and may face denial of admission for holding a preexisting immigrant intent or intent inconsistent with the visitor's visa (which may be inferred from post-admission conduct), leading to removal and may even entail future inadmissibility issues for possible fraud or misrepresentation.

Out-of status and visa overstay are common ails of B visa entry that justify the Consulates requiring stronger proof of non-immigrant intent. Prolonged unlawful presence bars readmission after departure.

Visitors quickly changing status to students (F1) or another visa category may face the issue of holding prohibitive intent (to be something other than a visitor). The situation needs a careful evaluation.

Spouses may try to obtain a B visa to visit their newly married US Citizen (USC) spouse. Could it be just a visit? Marriage to the USC provides the obvious prohibitive immigrant intent.

The shortage of H1B visas has sent people scurrying for alternative ways to seek admission, and a B visa appears to be a convenient shelter.  There are times when this could be achieved, but nothing changes the requirement of proof of "nonimmigrant visiting intent."

Visa applicants often report they felt rushed, did not have sufficient opportunity to explain or present documents, or were not asked enough questions.  Visa interviews usually last just a few minutes, and adjudication almost immediately follows.  Therefore, a proper presentation of what is an important help.  It says a lot when the applicants complain that they were not even asked any relevant questions warranting visa denial.  This may be a cultural issue.  Foreign nationals may lack appropriate preparation and may take things for granted at the interview, especially when they had previously visited the U.S under the same kind of visa.

Issuance of a visa at the Consulate is not an assurance that the foreign national will be admitted at the U.S border. It is therefore highly recommended to keep the supporting documents to show to the immigration officials at the port of entry. The immigration officials have unquestionable authority to inspect the personal belongings and papers at the port of entry.  Documents, cell phones, and laptop computers have been the subject of a border search.  If the inspection reveals evidence of prohibitive intent, it may cause a denial of admission at the port of entry despite a visa approval stamp from the Consulate.

Traveling abroad pending adjudication of extension of stay or change of status is another crucial situation that needs determination whether one could return on a new or pre-existing visa. Although it would be a separate topic to be addressed at another time, it would suffice to say that the timing to file the application and its outcome largely determine the right course.

Despite these complex situations, many visitor visa applications are still successfully made despite the requirement of prohibitive intent.  Yet others are approved despite a prior denial.

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