When a person applies for a nonimmigrant visa to visit the United States, there are strict requirements he or she must fulfill before the visa will be granted. (This applies even to countries that are a part of the Visa Waiver program, if they have a specific purpose in coming into the country.) While these requirements have been reviewed and slated for modification in recent months, there are certain factors that remain unchanged. One of these is the issue of immigrant intent. If you do not understand the rule, immigration issues may result.
Presumption of Intent – By Law
Section 214(b) of the Immigration & Nationality Act states explicitly that U.S. consular officers must presume that everyone who applies for a nonimmigrant visa has immigrant intent—that is, the intent to remain in the United States despite the fact that nonimmigrant visa applicants pledge to return home after their business is concluded. This means that it is not personal—no matter how you appear or how you speak, the consular officer is required to suspect that you have lied on your application.
The way to overcome this presumption is to convince the consular officer who interviews you that you have sufficient ties to your home country that will bring you home, regardless of what may happen to you in the United States. If you show proof of residence, a marriage certificate, proof of gainful employment in your home country, and the like, you are showing the consular officer that you have too many things and people awaiting you in your home country to remain in the United States.
Rules Vary by Visa Category
While it is generally true that consular officers must presume immigrant intent, this is only the case with those applying in certain visa categories like B and F. Other categories, such as H1B, J, and L1, either do not have immigrant intent provisions or are specifically exempted. The rationale behind this is that holders of certain visas may possess what is referred to as dual intent due to the very nature of the visa, and as such, should not be denied.
A good example is a foreign worker with an H1B visa—by its very nature, an H1B visa is a work visa of a specific type. The holder may simply come to the United States, do the job for a few years, and return home—or, he or she might have come to the U.S. to stay, and apply for lawful permanent resident status while still holding an H1B visa. Because H1B is one of the categories exempted from the provisions against immigrant intent, this is acceptable under U.S. law. Someone with a B1/B2 visa, on the other hand, can only change his or her status by applying for asylum or CAT (Convention Against Torture) relief, which is not a true legal change of status; it is more like a holding pattern.
Ask an Experienced Lawyer
Especially in recent months, as immigration laws undergo modification, many people are coming to the United States and making mistakes, resulting in getting turned around, or worse. If you have questions or confusion about immigrant intent provisions, contacting a knowledgeable attorney can make a big difference. Contact the zealous Chicago immigration lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC today to set up a free consultation.
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