We pursued conversations with Congressman Becerra’s Los Angeles office and were very satisfied with their response. At least we better understood that there is little that can be done after the embassy makes a decision to deny a visitor visa. The congressman’s office has no jurisdiction and cannot influence a decision and even a call from a congressman won’t change a decision. In all fairness, we don’t know exactly what documents our friends brought with them to prove their intentions to return to Mexico. We know they did try to show the supporting letters from us. We don’t know if they had a complete package of information to provide the evidence that the family has strong ties to Mexico and were not intending to stay in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants.
Here are my recommendations for proving “strong and binding ties to their country of origin” –
- Demonstration the applicant owns a home
- Has a stable job
- Has a bank account
- Owns a home
- Owns a business and for how long
- Has immediate family (wife, husband, children, mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles)
- Children enrolled in school and educational plans in home country
Here are my recommendations for strengthening the visa application:
- Supporting letters from U.S. residents and friends
- Invitations to speak or make presentations or give demonstrations from arts/cultural organizations
- Letter of support from U.S. Congressman’s office
In the process of hearing that our friends were denied a visitor’s visa and learning more about why from Congressman Becerra’s office, I know that there is still a lot of subjective decision making that goes into the “yes” or “no” by the consul. The official statement is “There are many other factors that are taken into consideration when a person is applying for a visitor visa, such as, their age, how many family members are applying for a visa, their purpose for traveling, if they have other family in the country they are traveling to, if they have ever applied for a visa before, etc.”
Perhaps our friends were denied because the entire family — husband, wife and two children — wanted to attend the wife’s brother’s wedding and the consul considered this to be too risky. Who knows? I feel so bad that I wasn’t able to help, and I guess that’s the bottom line.