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Consular Processing - Nonimmigrant - Frequently Asked Questions


Is it true that it is better to say that I am going for business than for tourism or to see relatives during a nonimmigrant visa interview?

No, you should always tell the truth during a visa interview. If your ties to your residence abroad are adequate to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent, a tourist visa will be issued. Problems arise if you mislead the interviewing officer as to your intent in visiting the U.S. Once a misrepresentation is made, it is difficult to believe other information you have supplied.


How long can I stay in the U.S. once I have an approved nonimmigrant visa?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the port of entry will determine how long you may remain in the U.S. In the past, the USCIS granted a minimum stay of six months in the U.S. Recent changes though now instruct the USCIS to grant a maximum stay of thirty days in the U.S. However, you may be granted a stay of longer than thirty days if you can justify reasons for a longer stay when you enter the U.S.

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Why does the U.S. have such strict immigration laws?

The U.S. is an open society. Unlike many other countries, the U.S. does not impose internal controls on visitors, such as registration with local authorities. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the U.S., you have a responsibility to prove you are going to return to your home country before a visitor or student visa is issued. U.S. immigration law requires consular officers to view every visa applicant as an intending immigrant until you prove otherwise.


Can the Consular officer be influenced to reverse a decision?

No, immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether you possess the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at U.S. Foreign Service posts to resolve. You can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.

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