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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Q & A: B-2 visa holder risks of refusal and minimizing the same; F-1 visa as alternative option

Question: My girlfriend is from Brazil and has a B-2 visa stamp. Over the last year, she has spent more than half the time visiting me in the US. The last time she left was about three months, and now she wants to return. Does she run any risk of being denied entry, and how to minimize such risks? Can she alternatively apply for an F-1 VISA to study English?

Answer:

There is always some risk of denial, as having a visa does not guarantee that CBP will grant entry.

Further, the more time a foreign national spends in the US as a visitor, the more likely it is that CBP will question her continued eligibility for this visa classification.

CBP has become increasingly aware of someone's prior exits/entries, with the help of technology.

What CBP wants to know is if she truly a visitor, OR does she intend to stay permanently, or work in the United States without authorization to support herself.

Minimizing risk of refusal involves preparing to confirm temporary intent - in the event of extensive questioning. Remember is possible she will have a very brief and easy interaction with CBP before being let in.

Preparation should involve preparing to effectively discuss the purpose of her visit and temporary intent with CBP, and having paperwork ready to provide.

CBP, considering her prior history of travel to the US, may begin a line of questioning that requires her to prove she will go back to Brazil after her visit is over, and can support herself during her stay without having to work illegally.

To confirm her temporary intent, we are talking ties to her home country. Generally, the most persuasive evidence involves demonstrating permanent residence, a steady job at home, or enrollment in school; but it sounds like she has neither the job or is enrolled in school at the moment, and I am guessing might still live with her parents?

Certainly, if she is financially comfortable, she should bring paperwork to confirm the same. Possibly bank statements. Other evidence might include a return ticket, itinerary documents to confirm what she will be doing in the US, where she intends to stay, etc.

Usually for young single people, it comes to down credibility, ie, whether or not the CBP believes her, and so there is really no specific formula.

A student visa might be a good alternative, because it provides her with a more concrete reason to come to the US. But note it would require another visa application at the Consulate, and the F-1 also requires her to demonstrate temporary intent.

A good way to start researching this process is to review the F-1 visa requirements posted online by the local US Embassy (see link below) AND finding an acceptable school, and then contacting them to discuss how they assist international students with getting an F-1 visa stamp.

Here is a link which might help: http://brazil.usembassy.gov/student.html

Please let me know if I may be of any further assistance.

Sincerely yours,

Michael


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