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If I intend to visit a friend in the US and then depart to a third country to begin my Master’s Program rather than fly back to my country, will this negatively impact my application for a B2 Tourist Visa to the US? I'm no longer working because my studies in the third country are starting soon.

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Whether you physically leave the US on a plane bound for your home country or directly to the place where you embark on further studies has no significance whatsoever for the visa decision.

In your application you need to make a case that it will be in your own best selfish interest to leave the US after the visit you propose. There is, objectively speaking, nothing that pulls you back to your home country strongly enough for this, as evidenced by the fact you're planning to go away to study for several years elsewhere. So your only hope for the visa application is to argue that the master's program you will be joining is so attractive that it's a better choice for you than staying in the US as an undocumented immigrant would be.

This is not quite a routine situation, and it would be hard to make a guess at your chances. But playing games with your physical itinerary is not going to influence it.

.. with one caveat, namely that if going directly to your new home means that you will travel with a lot of baggage that you otherwise would have left home and picked up later, that can make it look at the border like you're intending to move to the US for good, which will mean trouble. But if you're traveling reasonably light and getting most of your possessions shipped separately to the place where you will study, there'll be no particular problem there.

  • That's a great answer, Henning. You are right. I do actually have an apartment in my name in my home country, and my parents and sibling all live here - but you are right, I don't have a job now because well, I can very well afford not to work and would like to travel before I start school in the third country. Any ideas how I can prove that my Master's is attractive? I thought paying the full tuition fee of the first year and already booking my accommodation would be more than sufficient. We're talking more than EURO 10,000 all paid up! What do you mean by physical itinerary? – dante Mar 30 at 16:22
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    Yes, I would say showing papers that show you already paid to ship your possessions to the third country, and are packing light for this diversion via the US, would aid your case rather than hurt it. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 30 at 16:32
  • @dante: By "physical itinerary" I simply mean which planes you will be physically on when going from point A to point B. The point of the lecture was merely to make the point that you should not try to hide the fact that you're going to such-and-such place to study (due to some misunderstood advice claiming they want you to go back to your home country specifically). – Henning Makholm Mar 30 at 16:36
  • @HenningMakholm Oh. I guess that's why I asked the question. Most of the questions I see about B2 Visa is about trying to prove that you're returning home. But I'm NOT returning home because I'm going somewhere else to be studying. So, since I don't see people who ask questions from that perspective, I'm just very nervous about the whole thing. Someone even suggested I hire an immigration lawyer to help me with this. – dante Mar 30 at 16:42
  • @Harper Oh. Actually I've been traveling around Europe and Southeast Asia recently with just a suitcase and duffel bag. Everything I own is in those 2 bags. I don't own a lot of stuff. Just the bare essentials. Do you think traveling around Europe would help my cause with the B2 Visa? (My country of further study is also in Europe) – dante Mar 30 at 16:45

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