Question of the Week – How Can I Improve the Visa Officer’s Impression Of My Application ?

by neville

This week’s Question of the Week comes from Loma Linda, an aspiring Doctoral Physical Therapy Student from India.


Loma had several specific concerns but she essentially wanted to know what she can do to improve the visa officer’s impression of her application. Read her full comments first by clicking here, then return for the answer.

Professor_B’s Answer:

I do understand the concern. To my eyes you look like a potential immigrant at first view.

So are you?

If not, what will compel your return to India?

You are single; parents are migrants; course of study wont necessarily pay you dividends in India but certainly will in the USA.

Do you know how few Indian PT’s actually return to India voluntarily after studies? That stacks up against you as well.

Your University of Choice

Given the subject area; given the choice of a low competitive school with very low if not unusual admission standards; I suspect this school is just state accredited because I cannot imagine a regionally and independently accredited PT school with such low entry requirements; please validate the accreditation—not saying it is not—just check with the PT establishment and examination board first before embarking on this.

Your Academic Record and Work Experience

Moreover, your academic record is not particularly strong. The experience could be a positive but also a negative. It could easily be interpreted as a mid career, low earning, frustrated professional who is seeking greener pastures just as her parents did. And that would be both intuitive and intelligent on their part.

So What Do You Do?

So how do you overcome it? Well I have just given you what you are up against. How do you dispel these notions and perceptions. What would logically make you return to India against your economic interest? And how do you convince a rational person that you WILL act against your economic interest?

Your Personality at Visa Interview

I am here to offer advice but not false hope. This one looks dead in the water. But your personality can salvage it. There is an old saying in law and litigation. When you don’t have the facts on your side, depend on the law, and when you don’t have the facts or the law, bang the table.

So bang the table! Charm, personality, smooth talk. Luck! I suspect these are the intangibles that could make this work or just catch a tired VO who is upbeat and not cranky.

Your Parents Status – Explain It!!

SERIOUSLY—explain your parents migration in the context of having the means to pay your fees—so make that work for you.

Explain their migration as a possible destination for you, so you may dispel the notion of remaining in the USA for economic reasons—because you have the Gulf as a viable, plausible and economically sensible option. Explain the lack of ties to India in the context of impending ties if any exist –like a fiance– or a plan to go meet your parents… so no need to have ties to India… assuming that any of this actually matches you, then you may overcome this tremendous hurdle before you.

In other words, when life gives you lemons, as clearly your circumstances suggest, add some sugar and make it lemonade. It is more desirable and palatable. If you pull this off, you should be writing this column. Do let us know how it goes.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

arnod mbandi November 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

hi im 27b years old i have been denied a visa 2 times cause first they said my mum is a widow and my brother is a citizen he will support my stay and the second time i went back they told me that nothing has changed both times i went i heard a athlethic scholarship. now next year i will be 27 i want to try again i have been working and i went to college what are my chances


david osei=duah March 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm

i have been been in the United States on a visitors visa. i did not violate the terms of the visa and return to my country within the specified period in my visa. However, i have been denied a visitors visa on two occassions when i reapplied. i am now applying for a students visa for graduate study. i want to know if my earlier applications will affect my student visa application


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