As a US visa officer, what counsel would you be able to provide for F1 visa candidates?

As a US visa officer, what counsel would you be able to provide for F1 visa candidates?

Following Kathryn’s response, I’d like to add my two cents. Though not a US visa officer, I have been through the process of the H1 visa in 3 different occasions and wished someone like Kathryn had had a serious talk with me before I did it. The first attempt, the sponsoring company was sold before they started the sponsorship process (they had already agreed verbally). The second attempt, the company was using the sponsorship as “currency” (they were never interested in sponsoring me per someone familiar with the matter) to drive me in the direction they needed. The third attempt I was finally sponsored just to get rejected in the visa lottery. This took 3–4 years, a lot of work and missed opportunities. I don’t regret any step because I tried very hard but could definitely have saved some hairs and gotten where I have gotten much faster.

If you are European (EU), London, Paris, Switzerland, and other areas have great opportunities (depending on your industry and your background).

If you are a Spanish/Portuguese speaker LATAM is a huge hotspot for up and comers. E.g, Chile has been a great destination for recent grads (I worked there for a year). Other countries with good opportunities in recent years, include Colombia, Panama, some Caribbean Islands with offshore positions, etc. In some cases you have to “mine” these opportunities, as these countries are not so interconnected/technology ready as the US would be. However, in some cases, are poised for growth!

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand can also be good destinations depending on your age, education, skillset, and background.

The opportunities are endless but you have to invest time in them! As Kathryn suggests, no one is as invested in your future, they mostly don’t care, no hard feelings. They just don’t.

Keep asking, I’m listening!

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