Nonimmigrant Visas in 2021: Should You Apply?
In March of 2020, the start of the world-wide pandemic resulted in travel bans for thousands seeking entrance into the United States. While the White House announced that those from European countries may enter the U.S. if they are vaccinated, this new Covid era has created a dent in travel to the U.S. due to extensive backlogs for those seeking non-immigrant visas.
American consular services have been operating at a reduced capacity ever since re-initiating routine visa services that were previously only accessible for emergencies only during the peak of the pandemic. The U.S. Department of State has been very transparent about its ability to process these visa applications safely. The security measures include a decrease in the amount of applicants that are permitted to attend the embassy for their interview, while also requiring these processes to be done in person only due to the nature of the interview process. After the November 2021 appointment scheduling, there were still 461,125 eligible applicants still pending the scheduling of their interview. Overall, the number of visas issued by American embassies in Europe have dropped dramatically compared to pre-covid times. To guarantee the issuance of your visa, you must be prepared and able to complete all of the required steps that will ensure no complications when it is time for your interview. Besides applying for your visa as early as possible, what else can be done in this situation?
When applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States from a foreign country, the number one thing you must do is establish nonimmigrant intent. Establishing nonimmigrant intent means that the visa applicant must provide evidence that they do not intend to abandon their home country and that they have significant economic, personal, and professional ties to return home once their activity is complete. The evidence you provide to demonstrate these ties are not strictly defined, and the consular officer has a lot of discretion in determining whether the applicant has shown sufficient nonimmigrant intent. Some useful documentation include proof of property ownership, investments and other financial assets, family/social relationships, and an offer of future employment. For younger applicants such as students, long-term prospects, goals, and reasons to return home may be more applicable. While every situation is different, there is no specific standard of documents or circumstances that will automatically satisfy nonimmigrant intent.
Because of the volume of applications received, most consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct your interview as quickly and as efficiently as possible; therefore, the first impression they have of you is critical for success. The consular officer’s decision is always final, and the only option you have if you are denied is to submit a new application and begin the process all over again that includes new evidence with stronger ties to your home country. In some countries, it can be virtually impossible to obtain certain nonimmigrant visas because fraud is so prevalent. For legitimate visa applications who do possess the proper nonimmigrant intent, this fraudulent activity can make the nonimmigrant visa process extremely frustrating and difficult. This is why you must be fully prepared and ready throughout this entire process.
With increased wait times for almost all types of visas, it is important to be aware of these delays and have reasonable expectations regarding your immigration plans. As of now, those applying for immigrant visas still have prioritization over nonimmigrant applications; however, with time and constant efforts by immigration services this backlog should slowly decrease. Even throughout this difficult and unprecedented situation, we are available to assist you with your unique and individual case to ensure that your application may proceed without difficulty. Contact us and let us help you determine which route is best suited to your case and your goals.