Persons may seek to enter the United States for a variety of temporary purposes, including tourism, visiting friends and family, attending school, or accepting temporary employment. With the exception of persons from countries with a visa waiver, most persons seeking admission as nonimmigrants must first apply for the appropriate nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. Persons seeking temporary entry to the United States are admitted under one of the alphabetically identified visas, which now span nearly the entire alphabet from A to U.
Overcoming the Presumption of Immigrant Intent
Applicants for many categories of nonimmigrant visas must overcome a legal presumption of immigrant intent or their visa application will be denied. This includes persons seeking admission as temporary visitors for business (B-1) and pleasure (B-2) as well as persons seeking admission as students (F-1), temporary workers filling a labor shortage (H-2), trainees (H-3), performers (P), religious workers (R-1), and so on.
To successfully overcome the presumption of immigrant intent, a nonimmigrant visa applicant must prove that he or she has the intention to return to an un-abandoned residence abroad upon completion of the purpose of the proposed temporary stay in the United States. This requires an applicant to prove the existence of ties to his or her home country, including family, financial, and employment ties, sufficient to satisfy the consular officer that the applicant is more likely than not to return to his or her home country after a temporary visit to the U.S.
Failure to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent is perhaps the most common grounds of visa denial. Young, overworked consular officers often make negative intent determinations resulting in visa refusals after a very brief interview, leaving a refused applicant feeling that his or her case has not been fully considered. For this reason, adequate preparation and the clear presentation of supporting documentation in close cases can often mean the difference between success and failure for a nonimmigrant visa applicant.