What is Immigrant Intent and How Can it Affect my Nonimmigrant Visa?
"Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status..."
This means that a consular officer must view every nonimmigrant visa applicant as an intending immigrant who is planning to visit and then permanently stay in the U.S. To obtain your nonimmigrant visa, you must prove to the officer that you are going to return home after the temporary visit. If the consular officer is not satisfied, he is required to deny the nonimmigrant visa application. The presumption of “immigrant intent” does not apply to all non-immigrant visa categories. B visitors and F students are most affected by the issue of immigrant intent, but H-1B and L1 workers are exempt from this requirement. There are also visa categories that do not have immigrant intent provisions. More specifically:
- Visa categories that have immigrant intent provisions: B, E, F, J, M, O-2, P, Q, and TN
- Visa categories that do not have immigrant intent provisions: A, C, D, G, I, K, N, O-1, R, S, T, and U
- Visa categories that are excluded from the immigration intent requirement: H-1, L and V
How can I prove that I do not have immigrant intent?
To overcome the presumption of immigrant intent, you should:
- be able to show strong ties to your home country, which you have no intention to abandon. This is the most important argument that you do not have immigrant intent. You need to convince the consulate official that your strong ties to your home country are going to compel you to leave the United States after your short visit or study. For example, your family, home, or job.
- collect and organize your supporting documents to present to the consular officer.
- be ready to show proof of any previous visits that you have made to the United States before and returned home on time, and your trips to other countries are helpful to indicate that you travel and visit other countries without immigrant intent.
What are "strong ties" to a home country?
"Strong ties" may be cultural, social, professional, or any aspect of your life that has a binding effect between you and your country of residence. Family members, a job, a steady source of income, a house, an investment and active bank accounts are all examples of "strong ties." It may vary case by case, and it is important to consider your individual situation and produce the most convincing set of evidence proving you have strong ties with your home country. The consulate officer will keep records of your application for the Department of State, so it is very important that you present your case carefully.
At JCS Immigration and Visa, we have experienced Los Angeles lawyers ready to help you obtain your visa. Call or email for a free initial consultation today!