Ask the U.S. Consul May 2016

Visa photo

Question:

I applied for a visa to visit my family in the United States but I was refused.  The officer at the window simply said I did not qualify and I was handed a letter that mentioned “ties”, but what are ties?  Can you tell me what I need to do to get a visa?

Answer:

Under U.S. law, non-immigrant visa applicants traveling to the United States for business or tourism are presumed to be an intending immigrant until they establish, to the satisfaction of the consular officer, that they are entitled to a temporary visitor visa.

This means that applicants need to convince the consular officer they have good reasons and sufficient ties to return home after a short visit to the U.S.  By law, the burden of proof is on applicants to show they qualify for the visa.

“Ties” are the economic and social aspects of applicants’ lives that indicate a strong inducement to return to their place of residence, and can include family relationships, employment, finances, and possessions.  Evidence of ties may come in many forms, and when considered together, they must be strong enough for the consular officer to conclude that the applicant will return at the end of a temporary stay in the U.S.

To show evidence of sufficient ties, an applicant may wish to submit supporting documents such as bank statements, job letters, tax returns, credit card statements, business registrations, and property deeds.  It is important to note that such documentary evidence is not required and may or may not be reviewed by a consular officer.  Providing documents does not guarantee that an applicant will qualify for a visa, and the supporting documents may be reviewed at the discretion of the interviewing officer.

In the case of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to establish strong ties, interviewing officers look at the applicants’ other links and connections to a residence outside the United States and long-term plans and prospects in Trinidad and Tobago.  Each person’s situation is different and there is no set answer as to what constitutes adequate ties.