• I'm a Canadian permanent resident, and citizen of a country that does not qualify for the US visa waiver program, but isn't otherwise problematic in terms of diplomatic relations
  • I'm finishing up graduate school in Canada (so I still have student status)
  • I recently became employed full-time as an independent contractor in software for a US company

I'm looking to apply for a B1/B2 visa for two purposes:

  1. Visit a sibling
  2. Attend an academic conference related to my graduate studies (on a separate trip)

I have no interest in working while I'm in the US, and each trip will only be a week long.

As I see it, there is a variety of information I can offer at the interview when asked what I do and why I want to visit the US. My understanding is that one should be honest but offer a minimal amount of information, and convince the interviewer that I'm not looking to immigrate or work illegally in the US (which I'm not).

What is the optimal combination of information I should provide, and which of the above pieces of info can be safely avoided / should not be brought up?

  • When asked what I do, I could truthfully say I'm a grad student and leave it at that. However, they are bound to ask about my graduation timeline, which is technically November (convocation), so it may look like it's an optimal time for me to be looking for jobs in the US.
  • I could truthfully say I'm working full-time, but when asked where I work, it will inevitably become known that it's a US employer, and I'm worried they'll think I'm going to go and just work in the US (although I have my employment agreement which explicitly states I'm working remotely from Canada as an independent contractor).

My situation is related to the question here, but it sounds like that person actually wants to work in the US, and / or already has a B1/B2. The related question here gives some hope but does not mention whether the chances of being denied a visa are higher in this scenario, and the questions here and here are somewhat unrelated because the OPs actually want to work in the US / do work-related things.

For background, I've been granted US visas in the past as a student for the purpose of going to conferences, but I was never this close to graduation, nor was I working full time for a company. Those visas each expired after a year, so here I am, back again.

Edit Note also that my girlfriend (Canadian citizen) is currently working in the US but only for the next couple months. Bringing that up seems totally unnecessary to me - is that fair?

Thank you.

  • 1
    Nobody can guarantee anything, but none of this seems particularly problematic. The only way to know with absolute certainty if you'll be granted a visa is to apply for one, of course.
    – mlc
    Apr 5, 2022 at 4:50
  • 1
    I understand, I'm just wondering how to strike a balance between supplying "just enough" information and not being construed as hiding anything...while maximizing my chances of approval :)
    – josh_eime
    Apr 5, 2022 at 4:55
  • 1
    @xngtng No I was on a student permit on those previous occasions.
    – josh_eime
    Apr 5, 2022 at 14:35
  • 3
    If you are an independent contractor you are not an employee of the US company. You are self-employed, and one of your customers is the US company, which you are quite allowed to visit. The difficulty is that since you just started you don’t have much evidence of the viability of your own “company”.
    – jcaron
    Apr 5, 2022 at 16:53
  • 1
    @jcaron Since I'm not actually planning to visit my customer, I'm wondering if my self-employment needs to be brought up, especially since I also have the alternative equally-honest answer to "what do you do": i.e., I'm a student. As I said, I'm just not sure how much information is too much, and at what point might it be considered "hiding something".
    – josh_eime
    Apr 5, 2022 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


In case it helps someone in the future, here's what I did:

  • When asked for the purpose of my trip, I provided both reasons.
  • Since they already knew I was a student from previous applications, they simply confirmed whether I was still a student (which I am), and asked for a brief summary of the topic of the conference. My employment never came up.
  • I was not asked about my graduation timeline.
  • They seemed to approve the visa (at least, they held on to my passport).

Update: visa was issued.

  • Thanks. Please report back and update your answer to let us know how this resolved. Apr 6, 2022 at 16:45

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