SUCCESSFUL F-1 ACADEMIC STUDENT VISA CASE

  • Applicant: Mr. Lee
  • Occupation: Graduate Student
  • Applying for: F-1 Academic Student Visa
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Challenges:
    • Previously denied entry into the United States on a B1/B2 visa
    • Multiple entries into the United States in the past, including several with extended periods of stay

Mr. Lee* reached out to Tsang and Associates in an emergency situation. He had just been previously denied entry into the United States, having his B1/B2 visa revoked. When Mr. Lee tried to enter the United States, the local Customs and Border Protection officer determined Mr. Lee to be inadmissible on the belief that he was an intending immigrant. As Mr. Lee did not have any physical proof of his true intentions in his possession at the time, he was forced to fly back to Hong Kong where he was residing as a permanent resident. Extremely distressed and in need of a visa so that he would be able to study at a university in Los Angeles to pursue his MBA degree, Mr. Lee came to us hoping that we would be able to quickly help him obtain an F-1 visa in time for him to report to his summer term that year. As such, we acted swiftly in assisting Mr. Lee form his petition. We filed his petition on February 26, 2014 and Mr. Lee received his visa on April 9, 2014, entering the United States soon after.

Keys to Success

Justifying Prior Travel

When we were first notified of Mr. Lee’s circumstances, we strongly believed that we could help him. We were confident that Mr. Lee’s initial denial of entry and cancellation of B1/B2 visa was the unfortunate result of a misunderstanding and miscommunication. As such, we knew we had to act fast to get Mr. Lee an F-1 visa so that Mr. Lee would be able to meet the deadline of reporting for his summer classes.

We first had to prove that Mr. Lee’s previous entries into the United States were not for any unlawful or immigrant intentions. In order to do so, we first obtained certificates for his current and prior employment in Hong Kong along with his resume to show that he had not been engaged in any unauthorized employment in the United States. We then further detailed his previous travels. We showed that Mr. Lee had previously been in the United States on an F-1 student visa to attend the University of Southern California and following his graduation, he went back to Hong Kong and returned to the United States on a B1/B2 visa in order to take his CPA, GRE, and GMAT examinations. We obtained records confirming the examination histories to prove the examinations. Thus we proved that Mr. Lee’s prior history of entry to the United States was free on any immigration violations such as overstays or unauthorized employment, but rather was all for lawful, academic, and professional motivations; there was no motive for immigrant intent.

Proving F-1 Requirements

With this established, we had to fulfill the requirements for an F-1 visa, most notably that he was accepted and will be engaging in a full course of study, that he had sufficient funds to attend the school, and had intent to leave the United States at the conclusion of his studies.

We first were able to prove Mr. Lee’s acceptance into a local university by Los Angeles. We obtained a valid Form I-20 from the institution and explained that Mr. Lee’s immediate goal was to earn an MBA at the school and to achieve a professional level of proficiency in business and finance for future use in senior executive positions at multinational firms with a global reach. We demonstrated that he had indeed been accepted for a full course of study, a two-year program with more than 18 hours of study per week, ultimately meeting the requirement set.

Furthermore, we were required to show that Mr. Lee would have sufficient funds to undertake his program. We received an estimation from the school that a 12-month course of study would cost approximately $20,800 including tuition and living expenses. We explained that Mr. Lee would pay for the schooling with his personal savings as well as financial support from his mother and father. In order to prove this capability, we brought to attention both Mr. Lee’s and his parents’ financial statements indicating that Mr. Lee was in possession of assets totaling around $130,000 while his parents had assets totaling more than $500,000. In addition, we highlighted that Mr. Lee’s family was involved in several successful business ventures in Hong Kong such as a jewelry business that provides even greater funds. Subsequently, we proved that Mr. Lee would have more than enough funds in order to avoid becoming a public charge or being forced to resort to unauthorized United States employment for financial support.

Lastly, we had to prove that Mr. Lee intended to leave the United States at the conclusion of his studies. As such, we demonstrated that since “ties” are typical weak for student applicants due to their youth, the focus should be shifted to the students’ immediate intent. Thus as we proved that Mr. Lee was intending to enroll into a graduate level study program in order to fulfill his personal and professional desire to gain a solid understanding of business and finance, Mr. Lee’s intent was to grow as individual personally as well as professionally. Doing so would serve him exceptionally well in the future. In addition, we emphasized that Mr. Lee’s entire family, both immediate and extended, currently resided in China and Hong Kong. Thus, we proved that Mr. Lee had no intention to immigrate but to immediately return to Hong Kong at the conclusion of his studies.

Outcome

We filed the petition on February 26, 2014 and Mr. Lee received his visa on April 9, 2014 plenty of time before the deadline required to report to his summer session.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity.