BACKGROUND Q & A:
Proposed Changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act
Section 214(b) and Other Relevant Sections
As Called for in the Recommendations for Enhancing the U.S. Visa System to
Advance America’s Scientific and Economic Competitiveness and National
May 18, 2005
Q: What is the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)?
• The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was created in 1952 and relates to the
immigration, temporary admission, naturalization, and removal of aliens. Over 50 years
have passed since its enactment, and it still serves as the basic body of immigration law.
Q: What sections of the Act should be amended? And why?
• Section 214(b) and related sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) are a
commonly used rationale for denying a student visa.
• Section 214(b) states: “Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he
establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for
admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status. . .”
• Consular officers must decide the applicant’s immigration intentions in a very short
time -- after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of “strong ties back
home” an applicant can present to dispel the presumption of immigration as defined
in Section 214(b).
• Additional language in the INA specifically relates to student visa applicants:
• In 1952, the student non-immigrant F visa (i.e., students with proven non-immigrant
status) was defined by Immigration and Nationality Act, as: “An alien having a
residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning who is a
bona fide student. . . .” (Sec. 101(a)(15)(F) of the INA)
• Unfortunately, students often cannot convince a consular officer that they have no
intention to immigrate – most students do not own a residence, do not have
substantial bank accounts outside of the United States, and may not have a spouse or
children residing in their home country, or