Personal Responsibility: It starts at home, but follows you to the United States.
With increased political and economic pressure, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is more incentivized than ever before to keep rule-breakers out of the country.
However, the decisions you make before and during your travel to the United States for school will mean the difference between a promising academic future and an unplanned return home. Consider the following five suggestions to make your time getting into and staying in the United States easier:
1. Tell the truth on all paperwork, including questions about school fees.
If you have mentioned in the student visa application that your dad is going to sponsor your education, but if at the time of entering the United States, you indicate that your cousin is going to pay the tuition, that will increase scrutiny. Making up a story will understandably catch CBP’s attention, and could keep you from entering the country.
2. Disclose in specific detail what you are bringing into the United States.
Better yet, avoid bringing materials unnecessary to your stay here entirely! For example, several food items, such as pickles, are explicitly listed by CBP as items you must declare when entering the country. Failure to disclose prohibited items will be grounds to exclude you from the country, so review carefully the list of prohibited items. The last thing you want is for your promising academic future to be ruined by a snack from home.
3. Avoid taking flights through the Middle East. CBP agents are particularly suspicious of any travel that could be linked to the Middle East. This extra scrutiny will inevitably frustrate travel for everyone coming through the Middle East, so do not take the risk of flying through there – just use European airlines.
4. Avoid final arrivals in airports that are far from the university you plan to attend.
CBP officers are tracking your every move. Therefore, they may be very confused as to why an Indian national planning to study at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, would make Idaho – a state 2,500 kilometers away from Texas – his or her final destination. A much safer bet would be to land in a Houston airport, which is considerably closer.
5. Make yourself aware of the laws in the United States, and consult with an attorney.
A student visa is not a dual-intent visa – you must have the proper paperwork filed and approved before you start to work here. Using your student visa just to get into the country for work is considered a violation. Even a seemingly innocent decision, such as working in a restaurant while you study, could cause issues. Speaking with an attorney in advance could avoid these serious problems with your status.
At the end of the day, part of succeeding in school is making it to class. Take the above steps to heart, and you will greatly increase your chances of being accepted into the United States.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.