One of the most important factors in deciding if you are to be granted a non-immigrant visa during your visa interview are your ties to your home country. USCIS immigration officers want you to demonstrate that you have strong ties to your home country that it will not be easy for you to try to stay in America after you complete your study or visit. They want to see compelling reasons for you to return to your home country. This is simply because you are applying for a non-immigrant visa, which by definition, only grants you a temporary stay in America. USCIS hates it when people use a visa for a different purpose than it was intended for.
I understand that to immigrate as a student, this is a touchy point. Because on one hand, I am not telling you to lie straight to the USCIS immigration officer. But on the other hand, this is really the modern way of immigrating to America, with full legality. However, you have to get the F-1 visa first before you can embark on your journey. It isn’t lying if you really had the intention to go back to your home country for the first 2 days and change your mind. USCIS should know, seeing how much better America is, people usually wouldn’t want to go back. Here are some of the key points to follow and remember during your interview and on your application:
- Detail and outline how the program of study you intend on undertaking benefits you in terms of career and business in your home country. Tell the officer how by getting a degree in X field, you can then do Y in your home country and be successful.
- Talk about your elderly parents and relatives. Tell the USCIS officer that you have to take care of them and cannot possibly immigrate to America because they will stay in your home country.
- Document any property, trust accounts or significant immovable assets in your home country that you would not likely abandon to go to America.
- Document large sums of money in your bank account so that it looks like you don’t need to go to America to work.
- Talk about the family business that you may have to take over.
- Standing job offer from an employer in your home country to give you a job upon return.
- Reference letter from a previous employer that they would hire you upon your return.
- Religious and nonprofit organizations that you belong to in your home country and that you intend on returning to help them.
- Talk about your fiance, boy/girlfriend, or spouse and dependents that will remain in your home country and take proof of relationship to convince the USCIS officer you still have loved ones in the home country and you cannot just leave them.
Remember, typically you get a chance to explain yourself before they would reject you. Bring all the evidence with you to the interview if you can and show the USCIS officer that you have reasons to come back to your home country after you complete the purpose of your visit. The first red-flag is usually money. If you have barely enough money to go to America, chances are you will try to stay there and work illegally. Make sure you have more than the minimum required amount of money to study or visit. Most people, coming to America, upon realizing how much money they can make in comparison to their home country, would decide to stay and work, even illegally. The temptation is so great that this is probably why USCIS reject applicants; because they would be enticed to work illegally while in America.
Prepare your interview diligently. Check out my other guide on 10 points to remember during the F-1 visa interview here. Remember to bring all your documents and get plenty of rest before the interview. Pray. This is the first obstacle of your journey to a better life in America.