Myth of International Travel (NIV)


Myth:  You need international travel to qualify for a non-immigrant visa to the U.S.; visit Hong Kong, Macau and/or Singapore before applying for a U.S. visa.

Fact:  Each individual is assessed on a case-by-case basis.  Prior travel to regional destinations is not a prerequisite to obtaining a U.S. visa.  If applicants are denied a U.S. visa, it is because they do not meet the criteria under U.S.  immigration law. 


23 thoughts on “Myth of International Travel (NIV)

  1. What are the criteria for getting a tourist visa? I wanna visit my sister there cause she got married and they will also be having a church wedding and i wanna be there for her. I am single and 25 yrs of age. Is it true that you rarely issue a visa to single people because they might overstay and marry a us citizen? Your information will be helpful so i can advice my sister what to do. Thank you very much.

    • The consular officer will conduct a brief interview and review the materials you submitted online in order to evaluate your personal social, family, and economic ties to the United States and outside of the United States.

  2. If the above reply is true, why was it specifically stated in my fiance’s application denial and my subsequent query through my US congressman? Why will the embassy not tell us what “criteria” an applicant must meet? This leads me to believe the application process is left much more to the subjectivity and personal prejudices of the interviewer rather than traditional notions of fairplay require. Is the appearance of objectivity simply windowdressing? Show me it’s not…….

    • Hi Jocelyn. Please see our previous post on Social, Family, and Econonic Ties at Generally, visa applicants must be able to demonstrate sufficiently strong familial, social, professional and economic ties to a country outside the United States that would compel return after a temporary stay in the United States.

      • What objective standard is involved in “sufficiently?” Is the standard left to the discretion and personal prejudices of the embassy interviewer? Is there a proess of review of an adverse decision by an objective third party? What criteria and weight does the interviewer use in determining “sufficiently?” I am not trying to be antagonistic or difficult; I would just like to know because it is important to my and my girlfriend’s future.

        • Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether an applicant possesses the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at our Foreign Service posts to resolve. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.

    • I was given a non-immigrant visa even I didn’t have any history of travel abroad. So as, my 2 brothers. I also know other people who were given NIVs.

  3. what if an american was married to a filipina and she has been to kuwait for 4 years working will she be approved even if she has never been to usa but me iam american does that make any difference.

    • Hi Darrell. Every applicant must qualify on his/her own merits. To that end, certain spouses of U.S. citizens may qualify for a nonimmigrant visa under certain circumstances. Generally, applicants must be able to demonstrate sufficiently strong familial, social, professional and economic ties to a country outside the United States that would compel return after a temporary stay in the United States. For more information on ties, please read our previous blog post at

  4. I have a 10 yr multiple entry visa which will expire on February 2012. I would like to confirm if travel is still valid if I plan to go this November? I’m worried that this would be questioned in the embassy? Hope you could clarify me on this matter. thank you..

  5. My wife received a non-immigrant visa to go to the U.S. without an previous international trips.

    By the way, to me “need international travel” sounds like proper Filipino English but not proper American English. In American English, I believe the phrase would be either “need an international trip” or better “need to have traveled internationally”. In American English, “travel” is an uncountable noun, like “rice”.

  6. My scheduled interview was on sept 27, 2011. It was a day when typhoon pedring hit Roxas Blvd badly. My wife and I had just finished the finger printing stage and waiting for final interview when everyone was asked to go home and reschedule another interview date.

    My purpose for travel in the US is a convention for National Association of Realtors in Anaheim which will be on Nov. 11 – 14, 2011 and at the same time a visit to my sister who now lives in Las Vegas.

    I called the call center and I was re-scheduled for a Nov. 14 which is already too late for the International Conference activity but I can still visit my sister who is also pregnant and on her way for delivery by Dec. 2011.

    Any advice on what I should so I that I could still make it in the Conference?

  7. Greetings! Is it true that if the purpose of your tour to US is to visit your boyfriend, its already a “red flag” to the consular officer and the chances are very, very low and in most cases the consular officer will denied the visa application even if the applicant established ties in the Philippines? Your clarification on this matter is highly appreciated. Thank you and more power!

    • Amy, the fact that you are visiting your boyfriend in the U.S. is not grounds for an automatic refusal. Every applicant must qualify on his/her own merits. To qualify for the visa, you should be able to demonstrate sufficiently strong familial, social, professional, and economic ties to a country outside the United States that would compel return after your temporary stay in the United States. Ties are various aspects of one’s life that bind one to his/her country of residence, like one’s profession, employment, social and family relationships, and properties. All of these factors are considered in the process, and U.S. Immigration Law requires that the visa application be refused if these strong ties are not apparent.

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