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On a recent trip to Ukraine, I met a friend who I would like to have come to the US for a visit. It is my understanding, however, that visas to visitors from Ukraine are often denied. This friend of mine is a relatively young (24 years old) woman, lives with parents (i.e. does not own property in Ukraine), speaks English very well, has a Masters degree in a technical field, and is employed for 1-2 years in IT work. It is my understanding that the company that she works for contracts for a company in the US, if it makes a difference. She is not very wealthy though, and I would have to help her out with costs of travel and lodging. I have well in excess of the amount required for this trip in bank accounts, am a 29 year old man, and am presently employed as of 5 years.

My question is - broadly - what can I do to help with her visa application process?

  • What kind of documents should I submit, if any?
  • Who should I provide documentation to? Her? Immigration authorities?
  • Do tickets need to be purchased prior to the visa application? Or can this wait until after in case the application is denied?
  • I've read some information about "sponsoring" a foreign national's visa. Would such action raise eyebrows in the case of a friend (i.e. non-relative)? What does it entail?

I'm sorry - I understand these are basic questions, but it is important to me and I want to make sure that I do the best I can to help. I'll truly appreciate any and all answers, or pointers to FAQs / similar threads from the past.

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    There is some helpful information here ua.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visa-inquiries – Traveller May 9 '18 at 17:07
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    Almost nothing. Nothing you can do here. – Suncatcher May 9 '18 at 17:10
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    We don't know how well you know the friend, but be aware that this is exactly how thousand of scams start every day. – Aganju May 9 '18 at 22:31
  • Re: @Traveller - I found this link very useful; thank you! I wrote up a letter that I will provide her with, per the first answer in this FAQ. – My Name May 10 '18 at 5:43
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    B visa refusal rate in 2017 for Ukrainians was 34.54%, which is pretty high, so an applicant should be accurate with a visa application. In my opinion the most important is the ties with country of residence: work, relatives etc. This persuades that an application has no intention to violate visa and terms of stay regulations. I would do the best in following the guidelines linked in the first comment above, with the focus on intent to return. – Roman R. May 10 '18 at 10:13
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What kind of documents should I submit, if any?

An applicant for a visitor visa must generally be able to show how he or she will pay for the trip. If someone else is paying for the trip, that person should write a letter explaining how and why. With the letter, the person supporting the visitor should include evidence such as bank account statements showing that he or she is able to afford the support being offered.

Who should I provide documentation to? Her? Immigration authorities?

The documents must be submitted by the applicant as part of the application, so the person providing the support will have to give them to the applicant.

Do tickets need to be purchased prior to the visa application? Or can this wait until after in case the application is denied?

It's almost always a bad idea to purchase the tickets before the visa is granted, since there is always a chance that it will not be.

I've read some information about "sponsoring" a foreign national's visa. Would such action raise eyebrows in the case of a friend (i.e. non-relative)? What does it entail?

The word "sponsor" is used rather loosely in most immigration contexts. It could refer to a US citizen or permanent resident who has petitioned for a relative to immigrate to the US, or to an employer who has petitioned for an employee. For a US visitor visa, there is no formal petition, but the term "sponsor" could be used to refer to someone who is contributing financial or other resources to support a visitor during a visit, as in the situation described in the question.

  • From my own experience (today!), having tickets already paid helps, and there are no questions about who, why and how paid. Of course, if visa is denied, it can create problems... But if fee for resignation is low enough, that may be worth considering. – Mołot May 10 '18 at 13:21

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