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.