Applying for Nonimmigrant Visa Outside of your Home Country

Generally, every foreigner wanting to visit the United States of America as a tourist, student or under some other temporary visa is allowed to apply for a non-immigrant visa.  Applying for a non-immigrant visa cannot only be done at the U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy of one’s own home country.

Many foreigners apply in a third-country not knowing that this can or may not be favorable unless if you are travelling and have decided to enter the U.S.

However, there are instances in which you may not want to apply for a visa at a country not your own.  Applying for a nonimmigrant visa at another country may not be what is best for you as the applicant especially if you have violated U.S. immigration laws.

Consulate Shopping is Disadvantageous

Certain laws within a country allows applicants to file a non-immigrant visa application at a U.S. Embassy outside of one’s home country, however, the manner in which your visa application will be handled is dependent on which country you’re originally from and the category of visa application you have submitted.

Applying for a non-immigrant visa in another country is looked at as “Consulate Shopping,” by U.S. immigration officials.  Looking for an easy approval for obtaining a nonimmigrant visa is not in your best interest.

If your home country is known to have a high rate of visa denials and overstays and you go to another country to apply for a non-immigrant visa; the officer handling your visa interview will be obliged to scrutinize your supporting documentation.

This means that if you live in a country that has a high rate of visa denials, due to many immigrants overstaying their time in the U.S., getting a nonimmigrant visa in another country will be problematic.  Trying to obtain an E-Visa (Treaty Investors Visa) out of country does not help the situation.

Eligibility requirements for an E-visa are more complicated and if not most U.S. Embassies rather that these visa applications be adjudicated by officers who know the laws within your country’s U.S. Consulate.

Submitting a non-immigrant visa application in another country does not mean you will quickly get your visa.  In fact, your visa submission may be put on hold so that the U.S. Embassy may have more time to contact the U.S. Consulate in your home country simply to obtain more information on you or to do a background check.  It is safe to say it is better to apply from your home country.

Consular Shopping

Under § 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), a person who was granted a nonimmigrant visa in the past; entered the United States and then overstayed the authorized time given on the visa, is known to have violated the U.S. immigration laws.

Under no given circumstance can such person apply for a non-immigrant visa in another country.  Applying in a country not your own is known as consular shopping.  Consular shopping may not be applicable to persons who have not received a visa before.  For example:

  • Individuals who entered on a Visa Waiver Program
  • Mexican Border Crossing Cards,
  • Canadians might be exempted.

Contact Your Nearest Immigration Attorney Attorney

Contact your nearest attorney for advice if you have violated the U.S. immigration laws by overstaying your nonimmigrant visa.  If you intend on placing an application in another country think again. Call, The Gambacorta Law Office at 847-443-9303 and we will gladly assist you.  You can visit us at any of these locations in Arizona, Illinois.

Overstaying on your visa can have serious sanctions. Learn more here!