B Visas and Immigrant Intent

The Gaston Law Firm, P.A.

Visitor Visas (B-2 visas) are commonly denied pursuant to INA § 214(b) because the applicant did not provide sufficient evidence to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. All nonimmigrants (temporary) visa applicants are presumed to have intent to remain in the United States permanently (immigrant intent). The visa applicant must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the consular officer that he or she intends to depart the United States by the designated date.

A common misconception of B visa applicants is that greater ties to the United States equals stronger visa eligibility. This approach is contrary to immigration law and policy. The consular officers view ties to the United States as factors that support the presumption that the applicant is an intending immigrant. The greater the ties to the United States, the greater the presumption of immigrant intent. Thus, when an applicant provides information about his or her family members, property, car, love interest, employment opportunities, etc., the applicant is building the case for the consular officer to deny the B visa application. Further, factors demonstrating lack of ties abroad (such as unemployment, few family ties, loss of residence) can support a finding of immigrant intent and lead to denial.

For this reason, it is very difficult for an applicant who does not demonstrate strong familial, employment and financial ties outside the United States to obtain the B visa. At the time of the visa interview, the applicant should be prepared to present evidence of sustained and stable employment, property ownership or lease obligations, immediate family ties, financial obligations (mortgage, etc.), prepaid school tuition, a round trip ticket, and other similar documentation to demonstrate that he or she has strong ties outside of the United States that will compel departure.

A round-trip ticket, hotel reservations and an itinerary of activities in the United States (Disney tickets, wedding invitation, graduation announcement, seminar or conference schedule, etc.) can be persuasive evidence of the temporary nature of a B visa applicant’s trip. Moreover, if the applicant informs the consular officer that he or she intends to pursue impermissible activities while in the United States on a tourist visa (attend school fulltime, work, retire, get married, purchase a home, etc.), the consular officer will likely deny the B visa. Similarly, a general desire to vacation or visit the United States without a specific purpose, more often leads to denial.

In summary, the B visa applicant has the burden of proving that he or she is a bona fide nonimmigrant and will depart the United States when the allotted period of stay expires. Supplying the evidence to meet this burden substantially increases the applicant’s odds of receiving the B visa.

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