The U.S. welcomes foreign students to its colleges, universities, and other schools – but also makes a point of ensuring that they plan to return to their home countries when their studies are over. That’s why part of any application for an F-1 or M-1 student visa will involve proving your residence in and ties to your home country.
Gathering Convincing Documents
If you are working on this part of your student visa application, think about finding convincing documents that will answer the question, “Why would you want to return home after your trip?” This question and requirement may sound patronizing to you. Realize, however, that the U.S. government tends to believe that everyone is angling for a way to stay in this country for as long as they can.
Factual details concerning your home, family, and employment situation will probably be the best sources of proof that you will return home when your studies are completed. Possible documents to gather for your visa application might include the ones listed below.
However, don’t feel limited by this list. You may have a unusual reason for wanting to return home that no one but you could think of – for example, that you are expert at a form of dance that only people in your country are interested in watching -- which may be the most convincing reason of all.
- A copy of your home title or rental agreement, either of which shows that you have a stable place to live.
- A sworn affidavit from your parents listing all the family members who live in your home country, and including details to show that they are all firmly settled there. Even better, include a statement of why you, too, are likely to return (especially if there is a family business or property).
- Evidence that you are leaving a spouse and children behind, such as copies of marriage and birth certificates. Leaving your family behind is not a requirement of the visa, but if you do plan to leave them, make the most of this information.
- Documentation of an existing business or employment that you will return to, such as a business license or a letter from your employer (see sample below) and copies of recent pay stubs.
- Copies of bank statements showing that you maintain accounts in your home country. Keeping an open bank account at home can prove a financial tie to your home country, especially if you are younger and don't have a job or a history of employment.
- Documentation of your career potential in your home country, including statistics from a reputable source, such as your government, showing that people with your skills are in high demand; or a letter from a potential employer.
- Documentation of any monetary bonds that you paid to government scholarship funders in order to guarantee your return (copies of your receipts and correspondence will be best), and
- A prepaid, round-trip plane ticket to and from the United States. Some consulates routinely ask for this, despite the fact that the regulations do not require it.
Sample Overseas Employer Letter
Here’s how your employer might write a letter on your behalf:
Tivoli Productions, Inc.
Tivoli Alle 100
June 11, 201x
To Whom It May Concern:
We have authorized our employee, Dag Moller, three year’s leave in order to pursue a master’s degree in business administration in the United States. Moller is a marketing assistant at our office and a valued employee, whom we are convinced will become a high-level marketing expert with further training. We have hired a temporary substitute in his absence. However, we eagerly await Mr. Moller’s return in July of 201x.
Very truly yours,