Integrity Legal

24th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has made an announcement regarding issuance of US student visas to Iranian nationals. To quote directly from the Still4Hill blog:

I am very pleased to announce a big step forward in the Obama Administration’s support of the Iranian people. Under our old visa policy, Iranian students and exchange visitors were eligible for visas that lasted for only three months and could be used to enter the country just one time. As of today, that has changed. They are now eligible for two-year, multiple entry visas. This gives young Iranians the opportunity to return home for family events, to participate in internships, to travel outside the United States—and they won’t need to get a new visa every time. I’ve heard from many Iranian students and Iranian Americans that you wanted this change. So I want you to know that we are listening to your concerns. We want more dialogue and more exchange with those of you who are shaping Iran’s future. We want to be able to share with you what we think is great about America…

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The US Student Visa, also referred to by the categorical title of F-1 visa, is a very popular travel document among foreign nationals who wish to travel from their home country to the United States in order to undertake a course of study. This visa category is akin to the US tourist visa (B-2 visa) insofar as both visas require the adjudication of a visa application at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. The US student visa is also a non-immigrant visa. It is important to note this fact because it implies that any application for such a visa must survive scrutiny pursuant to section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. Not all non-immigrant visa applications are scrutinized pursuant to 214(b), most notably the L-1 visa, but many popular categories require such scrutiny.

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act creates the rebuttable presumption that a non-immigrant visa applicant is actually an undisclosed intending immigrant to the United States. This presumption can only be overcome by the applicant providing affirmative proof that they have a strong incentive to leave the United States rather than remain. For many, overcoming such a presumption can be difficult, but it should not be viewed as impossible as many US non-immigrant visas are issued each year.

For related information please see: J-1 visa.


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