Ask the US Consul

Dear Consul,

I have been offered a job involving horticulture in the U.S. state of North Carolina by a job agent in Colombo. The job agent has told me that I need to pay him Rs. 400,000 as a visa processing fee. He said they were issuing 175 work visas to Sri Lankans.

He also showed me visas that other applicants obtained, and they seem genuine to me since they have the American Eagle and are printed in colour changing ink. Before paying the Rs. 400,000 fee I would like to verify whether this is a genuine visa which would allow me to work in North Carolina because it is a lot of money for me. Can you please advise?

Thank you, S.W.

Dear S.W.,

This specific job offer is a hoax that has taken money from many Sri Lankans. The bottom line is that if any job offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Make sure you do your homework before you get involved in any sort of overseas work programme. There are people out there—both in the United States and in Sri Lanka —who will try to take advantage of you, and you need to protect yourself. There is no person anywhere in the world who can promise you a U.S. visa. Before a U.S. visa can be issued, every visa applicant must come in person to the U.S. Embassy to be interviewed. Only the visa officer at the Embassy can make a decision regarding your case.

With the high quality printing available these days, some fraudsters try to generate documents on their computer that imitate official U.S. visas. Unless you receive your visa in person directly from the U.S. Embassy, these are not genuine travel documents. Anyone in possession of a fraudulent U.S. visa or other fraudulent documents may be arrested under Sri Lankan law.

If you would like to verify whether a specific job scheme is genuine, please contact


Dear Consul,

My husband is the Secretary of a Lions Club. We were hoping to attend the Lions Convention in the U.S. this summer. We applied for visitor visas and were refused.

My husband has a good job with benefits, and we have a house and vehicle. We care for our aged parents here.Should we re-apply for the visa? We are not planning to settle down in the U.S.


Dear S.K.J.,

There is no appeal process for a refused U.S. visa. You may apply again and be interviewed by a different officer.

If your application was denied because the interviewing officer did not believe you overcame the presumption of immigrant intent (under regulation INA 214b), you should come to the interview prepared to present additional information which you believe supports your contention that you have a residence outside the U.S. that you do not intend to abandon.

Alternatively, you may choose to wait and apply again once you have had a change in your personal situation (employment, family, travel history, etc.) which might better convince an interviewing officer that you now have stronger ties to your residence abroad.


Dear Consul,

In the past, I had a green card (permanent residency card) for the U.S. I enjoyed living in the U.S. for many years, but now I am retired and living in Sri Lanka. I do not plan to live in the U.S. any longer, but I would like to be able to visit my children as a tourist. What do I need to do?


Dear L.S.,

In order to apply for a visitor visa, you will first need to surrender your Legal Permanent Residency card (“green card”) to a Consular Officer. You can do this on the same day that you come for your visa interview. Bring your card with you, and the officer will give you a form to fill out.

If you are not planning to apply for a visa in the near future, you can also contact the Embassy directly about making an appointment to surrender the card. Contact


Dear Consul,

I am a 12-year-old U.S. citizen. Both of my parents are Sri Lankan citizens. I want to study in a public school in the U.S. Can my father accompany me?


Dear J.P.,

For parents of children studying in the United States, please be advised that there is no special visa available that will allow a parent or guardian to live with and take care of a child while he or she studies. This is true no matter the age of the child.

A parent may visit a student for a short period if the parent applies and is approved for a tourist visa. Under such circumstances, however, it may be difficult for the parent of a young child to demonstrate that their visit to the U.S. will be only temporary.


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