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What are home ties?

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Does this student have sufficient ties to his or her home country to insure that after graduation that student will return home?

This language is right out of the immigration law statute. The law directs the visa official to deny a visa if the student does not produce sufficient evidence that he or she will in fact return back to the home country. And they call this "ties" — connections. It's what draws you back to your home country. If all of your ties or connections are not to your home country and, you have all of these reasons to stay in the United States, then you have violated the rule of sufficient ties and you will not be granted a visa.

During the visa interview, officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. For younger applicants (such as students) who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicant's specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

So, what do they mean by ties? These ties are not described in the above statute.  That is, you can't go to the law books and see what kind of ties they are talking about. This is a rule that is left up to the state department, the government, and the visa officials to interpret and develop the meaning of ties and connections.  Below are the main types of "home ties"

Family Ties

Virtually every applicant applying for an F-1 visa has immediate family members and other relatives living in applicant's home country. This reality is not enough in itself to carry much weight in a visa officer's decision to grant a visa, even in cases where the applicant claims that the parents need for the applicant to return home to take care of them in their old age. More often, a visa officer would see that the draw of going to America to work and earn money to send home to care for the elderly parents is stronger than the draw to go back home and take care of them physically. So, just having a lot of family in the home country will not be considered a tie as relates to this regulation

Economic Ties

It is very important that you have a plan for your employment when you return home. You need to explain that plan clearly to the visa officer as well as bring documentation to back up your claim. You need also to be prepared to explain how the advanced degree and what you are going to learn in the U.S. at this university is going to help you get that better, higher paying job. The visa officer is going to want to know how can you justify spending almost $25,000 on a U.S. degree? If you are going to be spending that much on your education, it had better produce great economic benefit. Have a thought out (if possible documented) future plan. What are you going to do after you obtain your master's degree? How will the U.S. master's degree from this particular school better your economic situation? Can you get a promise of a promotion from your current employer? This could be documentation of a better economic situation. If you can't get a letter from an employer, then the next best thing would be to research what kind of employment you would be able to get if you had this degree. Find out what it is worth in your home country to have a U.S. degree with U.S. work experience. For example, find out and document how other people have been able to "land" the promotion or get the high paying job because they either have a U.S. degree or they have U.S. work experience. If you do not have an offer from some specific company to hire you when you return you can use Help Wanted Ads. However, you should also go to some of those companies (in the ads) and interview them and write down (document) what they say about: The chances of you getting a job when you return. What the salaries would be. What the responsibilities of the job are. What kinds of things you should study In some countries, students can obtain government or bank loans to help pay for their educational costs in the U.S. Generally, the terms of repayment are such that a student returning back to his/her home country can pay the loan payments from the wages that the returning student anticipates earning. However, in some other cases a candidate will borrow money from private sources to finance his or her education in the U.S. Too often the repayment terms, including high interest and fees, makes it almost impossible for the student to repay the loan from wages earned in the home country. Consequently, the student finds it necessary to change status once in the U.S. in order to obtain employment with higher American wages in order to pay back such a loan. Thus, this pressure to remain in the U.S. creates what can be called a necessary economic tie to the U.S. for such students that are compelled to pay back large loans, and who can do so only by staying in America and getting a good high paying job.

Because of this, it is the responsibility of the visa officials to determine, if possible, whether or not a particular candidate has borrowed money at high rates with harsh repayment requirements. So, questions about the source of a student's funds, or the nature of the relationship between a student and his sponsor (perhaps actually a lender) are very significant when considering this possible economic tie to employment later in the U.S.

Another kind of economic tie that may be favorable to the applicant is the type of financial investment or property that the candidate may have in his home country which, it is reasonable to believe, he or she will not abandon.

Employment Ties

As mentioned above, one of the most important parts of the presentation that a candidate needs to make to the interviewing visa officer has to do with the applicant's plan for life. That is, the officers want to know what the applicant plans to do with the learning and educational experience he or she expects to receive in the U.S. If it is reasonable to believe that the applicant's life plan is to return to the home country to launch a career there  (rather than stay in the U.S. to work indefinitely) this plan can be a very important piece of information for the officer in determining that, in fact, the student has a very strong and compelling home country tie. Without the applicant presenting such a plan, the visa officer will not be able to find this all important tie to the home country and may conclude that after spending several years in the U.S. and seeing employment opportunities there, the student will more easily change direction and choose to stay in the U.S. to get a good and satisfying job. Any plan regarding a career back home that is presented by the applicant must be compelling and reasonable as well as believable.

Social Ties

In many cases an applicant for an F-1 visa can demonstrate that to change status and stay in the United States after graduation would result in a great loss to the applicant's social standing or status.

Emotional Ties

Often applicants for an F-1 visa have developed a strong desire to go the U.S. to experience American life and culture for a while because they have been influenced by American movies, magazines or other media. If, in fact, this is the underlying dream of the applicant, it is often revealed in the visa interview. Applicants are advised to concentrate on showing that their life goal is not to immigrate to the U.S., but rather to apply what they learn in the U.S. to the career they intend to follow when they return to their home country. If an applicant has an over-inflated perception of life in the U.S. it may be considered to be more of an emotional tie to the U.S., whereas the applicants should be emotionally tied only to their own country.

Personal Ties

Be prepared to present additional proof that you have strong ties in your home country. So, in addition to employment opportunities, you should be prepared to discuss family, social, and personal "ties" you have, which will draw you back to your home country after you graduate. If you are married, we recommend you apply alone and have your spouse/dependents come after you get the visa. The most common reason for visa denial is the failure of the applicant to demonstrate that he or she will be returning home and not remaining permanently in the United States.

If you have questions regarding home ties or the visa interview, email us

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