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I'm a Vietnamese citizen. In the past, I have applied for US Visa to go study there. But it didn't work out, so I travelled back to Vietnam. The thing is: I didn't show up as the Us Embassy Office after going back (Mostly because I was embarrassing at the moment), and didn't contact with them since.

1/ Was showing up at the Embassy Office absolutely necessary? Considering the officer at the airport knew exactly when and where I left the country.

2/ If I want to apply for a Visa to travel to the US now, for tourism, will the event in the past have affect on the decision?

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    Where were you when you applied for the study visa and how long ago was it? What are your circumstances now (particularly ties to home), bearing in mind the US assumption of immigrant intent for non-immigrant visa applicants? – Traveller Aug 20 at 10:58
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    Did you have instructions to appear at the embassy after returning to Vietnam? In general it's not necessary, but if you had specific instructions to do it, it might have been. – phoog Aug 20 at 11:01
  • I don't remember exactly the place, but the school is "Glendale Community College", California. It's about 11-12 years now. The current circumstances is good, I have a good job, earning good money, have a house. I also can prove to the US that I have no intend to illegal stay whatsoever. – Hai Hoang Aug 20 at 11:01
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    @Traveller careful usage maintains a distinction between "assumption" and "presumption." The latter is more appropriate in legal contexts. – phoog Aug 20 at 11:02
  • @phoog I might as well have, but I don't remember exactly, it's too long ago now. – Hai Hoang Aug 20 at 11:02
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First, you've written in a comment that you do not remember whether you had instructions to report to the embassy, so it's hard to know the answer to your first question. In general, it's not necessary, but the fact that you are asking about it suggests that you may have been told to do it.

I don't know much about such requirements, and I haven't been able to find much about it on the internet. I do remember reading about such a requirement in some cases, probably because someone posted something here or on Expatriates Stack Exchange that mentioned it.

Second, you wrote

Considering the officer at the airport knew exactly when and where I left the country.

This is not correct. The US does not have officers inspecting departing passengers. Instead, for departing air passengers, they rely on submissions by airlines. If a traveler has a paper I-94 form, the airline is supposed to collect it and send it to the government. These days, the I-94 "form" is an electronic record.

Since it seems to have been some time ago, you may not remember whether the airline collected your I-94 form. If your departure was after the automation of I-94 forms, this is less of a concern, but to be safe you may want to assume that the US does not know when you left.

Under that assumption, you should probably

  1. Gather whatever evidence you can to establish when you left the United States. A passport stamp from your return journey would be best. A boarding pass would be good to have, but if you do not have one then any other evidence of your presence in Vietnam will do.

  2. Apply for the visa. Regardless of any effect your history may have on your application, the only way to find out for sure whether you will be granted a visa is to apply.

  3. Bring the evidence in step one, along with the other evidence needed for the application, to your visa interview. If the officer asks you anything related to your return to Vietnam, especially if it has to do with reporting to the embassy, answer truthfully, and say that you have evidence to show when you returned.

  • Hm.. When I traveled to Korea or Japan, there were officers taken the passport and looked at my face, typed something on the computer, so I thought the same applied for the US (even before the electronic thing). Guess that I'm wrong then. Regarding the US does not know when I left, shouldn't there be any contact to my family home address in Vietnam then asking about it? Anyway, thanks for your answer. – Hai Hoang Aug 20 at 14:48
  • @HaiHoang what officers took your passport and typed something into the computer when you went to Korea and Japan? Where did that happen? Regarding the US (possibly) not knowing when you left, they do not follow up so closely on suspected overstayers. One reason is that the system has a lot of holes, so there are too many unmatched exits and entries to follow up like that. Another reason is that they can just ask you about it the next time you apply for a visa. If you left less than 5 years ago you might try looking for your records at i94.cbp.dhs.gov. – phoog Aug 20 at 14:56
  • I think I'm out of luck as the time is possibly 12 years ago already. Anyway I will try search for evidence should I apply for the Visa (High school diploma degree one year after I left should be enough..) and hope that the US system was good enough to detect that I left the country all these years ago. Really want to re-visit the States a couple more times in the future. – Hai Hoang Aug 20 at 15:05

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