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Getting into America

Author A C Vakil explains visa regulations and offers tips to get visas, in his book Gateway to America.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2006 17:53 IST

By Prashant K. Nanda

Thousands of Indians try their luck for a US visa every year, but most are rejected as they do not arrange their documents properly or lack good communication skills, says a noted Indian economist and immigration consultant.

According to A C Vakil, who has authored Gateway to America explaining the intricacies of US visa regulations and immigration laws, around half a million plan to travel to the US every year. But only 150,000 "actually realise their cherished dream".

"Over 500,000 people in India seek US visas every year but over 60 percent of them are denied an entry owing to their poor communication skills," Vakil told IANS in an interview. "They do not arrange their documents properly and even exhibit some negative body language while talking to immigration authorities. They must practise what to say and what not to before entering the embassy or a consulate office," he said.

He said that nearly 60 percent of the visa seekers are from south Indian states.

"Compared to north India, south Indians are seeking more US visas. The American Consulate in Chennai is the busiest consulate in the country.

"While south Indians seek visas for a job in IT and IT-enabled services firms, most Punjabis visit the US to meet friends and families. In the last couple of years, thousands of nurses from southern India have sought H-1B visas (work visas).

Vakil's book Gateway to America was originally printed in 1983 and has had its fifth edition released last week

"Although in Maharashtra most of the visa seekers are students, in Gujarat the demand is for business visas. Currently, around 80,000 Indian students are pursuing their education there, allowing the US to earn around $2.8 billion per annum," said Vakil, who recently came up with the fifth edition of his book.

"Here, the problem is a lack of resourcefulness. Students without qualifying for an offshore university start applying for visa. Some professionals apply for H-1B visas without having bagged an offer from a company. This is utter foolishness and finally leads to visa denial.

"People seeking US visas must first prepare a proper presentation on themselves and on their intention for visiting the US. They must give direct answers as to their motive to visit the country. Post-September 11, 2001, they do not want to take any chances."

Besides immigration laws, Vakil specialises in various aspects of American life - lifestyle, education, history and political system.

Gateway to America, the first edition of which came out in 1983, gives a comprehensive list of requirements that a visa seeker would love to know before venturing into the US.

It gives necessary details ranging from steps to be taken in applying for immigrant visas, problems of illegal aliens, adjustment problems faced by first timers, tips on student life, financial aid and even what to take on board an aircraft.

The book, divided into seven chapters, has included a list of frequently asked questions with their answers and tips on behaviour patterns to be followed in the USA.

"The book is not only a one-stop shop on visa and immigrations rules but also a guide of immense value and a resourceful reference in every NRI home in the US",  says Malik.