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(#94-1/1/99)

New Rules of Nonimmigrant Visa Application


The US State Department published a proposed rule that would codify a "non-acceptance-for- six months" policy for new nonimmigrant visa applications from aliens whose prior nonimmigrant visa applications have been refused under INA section 214(b). The exception to this proposed rule is if the applicant presents significantly different new evidence or evidence of a genuine emergency.

Briefly, INA section 214(b) establishes a presumption that an alien has "immigrant intent" (the intent to remain in the US permanently) unless he or she can establish non-immigrant intent (the intent to remain in the US temporarily).

Although this rule is not final yet, it is important to remind people who apply for nonimmigrant visas that require nonimmigrant intent (such as F and M student visas, B-1/2 visitor visas, and J exchange visitors) to provide adequate proof of their intent to return home after a temporary trip to the United States. Also, aliens who travel to the United States using the VISA WAIVER program should be ready to prove nonimmigrant intent to the INS officer at the airport.

Regarding student visas, consular officers look for some reason why that person would want to go home. In particular, they look at the academic area in which the person will be studying and/or doing research and see if it has any applicability or utility in the home country. They look for more ties to the home country than to the US, particularly family ties in the case of individuals who have never had their own separate residence abroad. In this respect they want to know all about the parents, their employment, their property, and perhaps whether or not siblings or other relatives have immigrated to the United States or are still in the home country. Proving nonimmigrant intent becomes harder the longer the person remains in the United States and the younger the age they came to the US For example, if they started junior high in the US and now are applying for a new F-1 visa to go to college, obviously questions of nonimmigrant intent are raised.

I recommend that visa applicants write a letter with a "LIST OF EXHIBITS". The letter should explain why you want the visa. The list of exhibits should document your reason you want the visa along with proof of nonimmigrant intent. Include proof of possession of a well-paying job (letter from employer, tax returns), ownership of a home, family ties, and other proof that demonstrate your intent to return back to Japan after a temporary period in the US

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