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Myths about consular process for US visas — Part IV

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By Michael Phulwani and David H. Nachman

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions that people have relating to the US visas. This is especially the case for India who applies for visas and receives random denials on bases of 221(g) & 214(b). This is part IV of the series of articles about the common myths that relate to various types of visa processing.

You must return to your home country immediately up-on completion of your degree.

Fact: This is a myth. You may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) to work for up to one year in your field in the United States to gain practical experience or change your status to some other type of nonimmigrant visa, such as H-1B visa, if you are eligible. While it is required that the student should not have pre-concerned  intent to remain in the US permanently, when applying for the visa, there is no requirement that the change of mind cannot take place, while the student is pursuing their studies in the US.

One must travel within sixmonths of visa grant or else the visa will become invalid.

Fact: This is completely untrue. A nonimmigrant visa has an expiry date and is valid to travel any time before the expiry date, unless it is revoked or cancelled by the US Immigration authorities for some reason, in accordance with the applicable law.

There is a limit on the number of visas given out per year.

Fact: There is no limit on nonimmigrant visitor/tourist or student visas. There is however, limitation on immigrant visas and some other types of nonimmigrant visas.

If all children are in the US, then visa will not be granted for the parents.

Fact: If any children are in the US then this may present a valid concern for the Consular Officer. However, there may be other reasons for the Consulate Officials to deny visa application. It is strictly within the discretion of the consul, to issue or deny the visa. Having family members in the US is potentially evidence of and intent of the applicant to immigrate, which may go to section 214(b).

If a visa was refused in the past, a letter from a US Congress person or Senator can help you to obtain your visa.

Fact: This is a myth. The United States law assigns the responsibility for issuance or refusal to representatives of the Bureau of Consular Affairs in the US Department of State (DOS). This organization is directly responsible for the management of the Consular Officers overseas. The Consular Officers have the final say on all visa cases. Additionally, the US law is designed to insulate the decisions in visa cases from outside influences. An applicant can influence a reversal of a prior denial only through the presentation of new and/or convincing evidence of strong ties.

If any child is a US citizen, then a visitor’s visa will be denied for the parent applicants.

Fact: This is only a myth. Any genuine case that appropriately demonstrates (1) the purpose of the applicant’s travel; and (2) that the travel by the applicant will be temporary; and (3) that the applicant has no intention to immigrate to the US, then he/she should be able to obtain the visa. While it is certainly the case, that if children are in the US (citizens), there is a “presumption” that the Parent may not return to their home country. However, this “presumption” can be overcome by the Parent applicants by showing that they have strong family, social or economic ties to return to India.

If a visa applicant requests a six (6) month visa, then the applicant has less of a chance of having the visa granted.

Fact: The length of trip requested in the visa application should specifically, logically and convincingly justify the purpose of the intended trip. For example, if the intending visa applicant is employed and has a two (2) month “leave sanction letter” from his/her present employer and he/she is submitting a request for a six (6) month stay in the US then the Consular Officials are likely to have some questions about the intended visit. If a visitor is coming to the US to attend conference in the US for five days and seeking visa for sixmonths, consul may not believe that he or she is a bonafide nonimmigrant and may deny visa.

— To be continued...