Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

    American Dream – Maintaining Home Ties

    Maintaining Home Ties

    If you are applying for a visa that does not allow you to have dual intent (as discussed in the previous chapter) you will be required to demonstrate that during your stay in the US you will maintain strong ties with your ho me country. It is very important to demonstrate in your visa application that if you are granted a visa you will definitely return to your home country at the end of your authorized stay. This does not mean that once in the US on a valid visa that you cannot apply to switch to a longer-term visa. Evidence of home ties must be submitted in your visa application. The importance of providing substantial and overwhelming evidence of strong home ties cannot be overstated because the Embassy will be presuming that all short-term visa applicants are potential overstayers and therefore it is up to you to persuade them otherwise. In order to establish that you will be maintaining strong ties to your home country during your stay in the US you have to take a syste matic approach. Here are some ideas that might help you: Do You Own Your Own Home? If you own your own home do not sell it before your visa application is approved. If you sell your home in anticipation of your visa being approved and it is denied then you’ve sold your home for nothing. If your plans necessitate that you sell your home, then make any sale plans contingent on your visa being granted first. In your visa application you can show that you own property in your home country and include your mortgage statements, home insurance documents and utility bills all paid to date. Selling your home before making your visa application will certainly weaken your case considerably. Selling your home will be interpreted as a major break from your home country. If you have already sold your home this does not mean that you have no chance of being able to qualify for a visa, but you will need to work closely with your immigration attorney to discuss all the surrounding circumstances that precipitated the sale and how best this sale can be explained to the Embassy.

    1. Are You Renting? If you are renting then this places you in a lesser position than being a homeowner 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 your apartment. By subletting you remain liable for the apartment and therefore still tied to your home country to some degree. Again, work with your immigration attorney to discuss how best to present your particular circumstances. Also, presenting evidence of your continuing obligation to meet the utility bills will help.
    2. Do You Have Any Personal Loans or Credit Cards? If you have any outstanding debts that you have faithfully maintained regular payments on then this will help. Your regular payments will show that you are reliable and not one to take obligations lightly. If you are responsible then you are less likely to overstay. Presenting supporting evidence of your credit worthiness will be useful.
    3. Current and Past Employers: Very few employers will grant employees paid vacation for six months or more while the employee explores US opportunities. However your employer may be willing to write you an excellent reference and perhaps say that when you return they would be willing to re-hire you if a suitable vacancy is available. Giving up your job to go to the US is a substantial break from your home country. However, glowing employment references will indicate that you would be more willing to return home where you have better prospects of employment. References from previous employers will be very useful to show a solid work history.
    4. Elderly Parents or Relatives: If you have elderly or frail parents in your home country and you are, (even in part), responsible for their care then this could be useful in building an overall picture of having close ties to your home country. A letter from your parent’s doctor, full-time carer or care institution would be useful.
    5. Professional Licenses: If you have any kind of professional license that could expire unless you return to your home country, or at the very least there would be some burden on you to maintain a level of local expertise, then evidence to support this should be included.
    6. Home Country Assets: Again, you can work with your immigration attorney to make a schedule of all the major assets you would be leaving behind.
    7. Step-Children: Mention whether you have any children from a previous married who will not be traveling with you. Submit any documentation confirming the relationship and outline the current level of contact with that child over the last 12 months.
    8. Leaving Children Behind: If you have any dependent children under 21 that will not be traveling with you then this should be mentioned, as this will most certainly strengthen any home ties issue.
    9. 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 in writing with your school and perhaps local education authority. Work with you immigration attorney to show that you have made adequate provisions for your children to keep up with their home country education while in the US. However, some visas will permit you to enroll your children in school.

    Summary:

    Establishing that you will maintain close home ties for the duration of any short-term stay in the US can be a very arduous process, but stay the course. Unfortunately, more applications are running into difficulties with the Embassy for failure to submit sufficient information to overcome the presumption of becoming an over stayer. Therefore make every effort to submit as much information as possible to establish that you do indeed have these ties.