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I am a Software engineer since 2015 and Remote worker serving global startups since 2020, worked with remote companies from Germany, Singapore and US (Currently).

I got my US B1B2 Visa appointment rejected today with 214(B) clause (Not able to prove strong ties with his/her home country). Probably, the reason was that, I was unable to explain them what I do as a business person and why my physical presence is required for my client (US startup). But, I think It was predominantly because of the structure of my financial setup i currently have > I have a Private limited entity registered as IT services in India with 95% share holding (& rest 5% in my Mom's name) , I draw a nominal salary/director remuneration from the company as Director and try to make all business expenses from company's account ( helps me to manage my taxes better & helps in setting up Stripe for the MicroSaaS offerings). Questions asked by the officer (Lady in her late 40s):

Q. What is your purpose of visit?

As a Director of Engineering for Dripping coffee labs pvt ltd, a software consulting firm. My client has invited me to discuss roadmap of their upcoming deliverables with their engineering team and negotiate the terms of the consulting contract.

Q. What is your duration of your intended stay?

2 Weeks

What is the salary your are drawing?

*Shared

What does your client do?

They are developing mapping infrastructure for Self driving cars and vision based technology for ADAS system intended to provide SaaS offering to clients like Daimler and Ford.

So, what is your role & your company's role in this?

The Client outsource their API development requirement to Dripping Coffee labs and I work for them as consultant.

*Officer looked bit confused and said: "At this time and at your age it doesn't feel like you need to have a physical visit to US. So, I am rejecting your application this time. But, You are welcome to apply again"

I think I should have just tell them, I am a Remote Software Engineer working for US Based startup rather than going into the details of company as tech consulting business which further complicates the narrative.

Any food for thoughts?

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    214b means that they aren't sure you will come back because you have not a lot of things home. The fact that you work remote is a bad thing for visa officers as they'll think you'll stay illegally as you can work anywhere May 17, 2023 at 15:29
  • I was aware about major refusal in my country with 214b clause. So, I carried all my financial records, including my companies' balace sheet with all my asset document. But, they did not even ask for it. May 17, 2023 at 20:00
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    Financial records have mostly nothing to do with 214b, what you have under your name in India does (i.e. family, a mortgage, house, cars...) May 17, 2023 at 20:07
  • I am betting to apply again soon. Telling them, I will lose a major chunk of business for not being able to meet my client and proceed with the roadmap planning. I heard the Immigration officers are empathetic to you growing your career! Will share proof of my ties to the country on being asked the reason for previous refusal. And, also will try to explain my profession & business better. May 18, 2023 at 10:42
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    Be more specific about what you do. Will you be writing the APIs? Say so explicitly. Specifying something you actually do always sounds better than "work as a consultant". May 18, 2023 at 19:05

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You have a few different things working against you here.

  1. In today's world of web-based conferencing & calling, "to discuss roadmap of their upcoming deliverables with their engineering team and negotiate the terms of the consulting contract" is not a particularly good reason for needing your physical presence in the USA. That kind of thing can typically be done just as well using Zoom, Teams, or whatever your favorite app is.
  2. As pointed out in a comment on your question, the nature of your work means that you don't appear to need to return back home to India to continue to work for your existing customers.
  3. It's not stated anywhere in your question, but you don't give any details of other commitments which would encourage you to return back home to India. Things like family (spouse, children) & fixed property (house) are the kinds of things you're more likely to return to, so without those kinds of ties back home there's a higher perceived risk that you'll stay in the USA.
I was in a similar situation to you about 20 years ago. I operated an engineering consultancy business from South Africa and I was invited by a customer in the USA to visit for 10 days. However in my case I was also conducting training and information handover for some physical hardware I had designed & built for them, and back then the state of web-based conferencing was not nearly as seamless as it (mostly) is today. I was lucky in that the visa officer interviewing me considered me sufficiently trustworthy on the balance of probabilities so I was issued a B1 visa, but only for the specific 10 days I had asked for, and the company I was visiting was explicitly noted on the visa itself.
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  • I was keen to share the document i bought with myself to show them the Property, Assets and the established business i have here in my home country. But they did not even ask for it. The meeting got ended in 1-2 min with refusal lettor. May 18, 2023 at 10:48
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    Something that would help you in the future - have your client write a letter on official paper inviting you to visit and stating why they need you to be physically present. May 18, 2023 at 19:02
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    @BrewerIndieMaker Owning property is not a particularly good tie unless it's the home you live in. And if the "established business" is computer consultancy business that operates remotely that's also not a very strong tie. May 18, 2023 at 19:07

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