Home Ties Rules – Section 214N INA
Home Ties Guide
If you are applying for a visa where the duration of your initial stay in the US is one year or less, you are required to demonstrate that during your stay you will maintain strong ties with your home country. In other words, it is very important to demonstrate that if you are granted a visa to enter the US that at the end of your authorized stay you will definitely return home. This is because too many people simply fail to return to the US having fallen in love with the country.
As a result, USCIS has now instructed their staff to presume that all applicants will abscond. The burden is then placed on the visa applicant to prove that they will return home at the end of their authorized stay. This does not mean that once in the US on a valid visa, you cannot switch to a longer-term visa if you are eligible and are approved. Instead, it means that if your initial visa application is deemed a short-term visa you must demonstrate with supporting documents that you intend to return home. This issue cannot be overstated.
How Do You Establish Close Ties to Home?
You have to take a systematic approach. It’s not going to be just one thing. Instead, it will be based on how you have ordered your home affairs for the duration of your US stay. You have to think long and hard and be prepared to go through extra-ordinary lengths to put this part of your application together. Here are some ideas that might help you: –
1: Do you own your own home? If you own your own home do not sell it; wait until after your application has been approved. You may or may not have to sell it ultimately, but if you sell it, and then make a visa application this will weaken your case considerably, since it highlights a substantial breaking of ties with the UK. Of course, many people will need to sell their home to raise capital for their US trip or to raise capital to buy a US business. Even so, try to leave it until the last possible moment.
2: Are you renting? If you are renting then this places you in a lesser position but not a fatal one. You may have a long lease of a year or more. The longer the outstanding lease-term the better. Maybe you can find someone to sub-let it while you’re away exploring US opportunities, so as to maintain the obligation of the lease and thus maintain close UK ties.
3: Leaving Past Employers: Very few employers will grant employees, (even faithful ones), paid vacation for six months to a year while they explore their US opportunities. However, the employer may write a letter to say that you are an exceptional asset to the company and they would be very keen to consider re-hiring you on your return. This does not place any legal obligation on that company to actually re-hire you, but at least it is an indication to USCIS that you have a strong tie with a current employer in the UK that could draw you back home rather than overstay in the US.
4: Elderly Parents or Relatives: If you have elderly or frail parents in the UK and you are very close to them, (in that, there are not two or three other siblings who could easily look after them), then this could be deemed a close tie. You could argue that if anything happened to them you’d need to be there for them.
5: Professional Licenses: If you have any kind of professional license that could expire unless you return home, or at the very least, there would be some kind of burden on you to maintain some level of UK expertise, then this should be argued.
6: Career Advancement: If you have an established career in the UK and have risen in the ranks to a management or senior position, this could show you have an incentive to return, and therefore close home ties.
7. UK Assets: List all the assets that you will be leaving in the UK, such as, up to date insurance policies on your life and property, or other assets, like endowment policies, deposit accounts, etc. When taken together it all shows intent to return and stay close to home.
8: Social Ties: Outline any strong social ties you may have. This could include any church or charitable memberships you belong to, or organizations where you have been actively involved.
9: Step Children / Non-Custodial Children: Mention whether you have any children from a previous marriage who will not be traveling with you.
10: Maintaining School Ties: Do not take your children out of school prior to the approval of your visa application. If your planned date of departure is expected to be within the next few months discuss this with the school in writing. If your initial expected stay in the US is one year or less, then evidence from the school that you have made provisions for your children to keep up with the UK curriculum will be essential. Remember, USCIS require you to demonstrate that you have every intention to return home at the end of your planned trip or if your plans fail in the US. Once your visa is granted your children may attend US schools for the duration of your visa. If you have plans to switch to a visa that will authorize a stay exceeding one year then try to make sure that this switch is made as quickly as possible so that the children can settle into one educational stream or another.
Establishing that you will maintain close home ties for the duration of any short-term visa can be a very arduous process, but stay the course. We are seeing more and more perfectly good visa applications run into difficulties due to a failure to outline strong enough home ties. Therefore make every effort to submit as much information as possible to establish that you do indeed have these ties.
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