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I am an Indian student in Germany. Recently, I had applied for a tourist visa for the US and had it refused under 214b. I do not have any travel history either apart from some of the Schengen countries for which I have no proof in my passport. So it is completely blank and only has my Schengen residence permit for 2-3 years.

I thought of applying to the UK to visit my sister and also go to Ireland but it turns out the UK, Ireland and the US share information. I do not know as to whether this will create a problem in me getting a UK visa. Because both UK and US do not have system to appeal in case of refusal of visit visa. The same applies for Canadian, Australian visa, etc. I have friends in these countries too and I would like to visit them some day and tour the country. I do not wish to get a reject from Australia, Canada or the UK or a country with strict visa policy but I do wish to visit them someday.

In such a case, how do you go about getting stamps/visas on your passports from different countries and create a travel history so as to show the officer that you are a traveler and you are not a potential immigrant? Do countries like the UAE, Sri Lanka, add to credibility? Also what about the countries in Europe where Schengen visa is not applicable?

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    If you were refused a US visa under 214(b), lack of travel history is probably not the primary issue, and having a travel history probably won't help much. – Michael Hampton Mar 21 '16 at 22:31
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    I know that is not the primary issue. But a lot of posts I read on the internet states, having a travel history helps to an extent. It may not be the deciding factor, but then again, something is better than nothing. – trollster Mar 21 '16 at 22:32
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    The best thing to do is to figure out what went wrong, and address that. Blind guessing is expensive, and multiple visa refusals begins to look bad. – Michael Hampton Mar 21 '16 at 22:33
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    The best thing to do is to immediately ask the consular officer during the interview, when he tells you that you are being refused, what were the specific problems with your application. I guess that you did not do that. The two main reasons for a 214(b) refusal are that the officer did not believe you could afford your trip, or did not believe that you had strong ties to your home country. – Michael Hampton Mar 21 '16 at 22:39
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    This has gone far off track now. It's probably best if you ask a separate question specifically about your US visa refusal. Include in your question which documents you provided to the US consulate, and the questions you were asked in the interview. This will help you understand what you need to do to be approved for a visa for the US, and will be mostly applicable to the other countries you named as well. – Michael Hampton Mar 21 '16 at 22:46
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You build a travel history by doing the obvious: travelling!

Because you're ultimately seeking to enter certain developed western countries, I am going to recommend that you travel to other developed western countries, which have relaxed or no visa requirements for your nationality. This list, unfortunately, is quite short.

For a quick reference you can check Wikipedia's list of visa requirements for ideas on where you might travel, but as it can always be out of date or incorrect, you should verify before you make travel plans.

The places which stand out as good possibilities are:

If you just need a holiday on a warm beach, there are many island nations, mostly in the Caribbean, which offer visa-free access or visas on arrival to Indian citizens. Your only problem with these is, depending on which you choose, transiting the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, all of which will require you to have a transit visa. This will require some very creative searching for flights, but it can be done. Alternately, transit visas are often much easier to obtain than tourist visas, and there are many people who have been denied US tourist visas who have successfully obtained US transit visas.

If you go this route, the one that stands out to me is the British Virgin Islands, which requires no visa and can be reached fairly easily from Europe without transiting the US (sample routing: MUC-CDG-SXM-EIS). There are several other countries you might choose from as well.

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If you really were refused under 214(b), it means that you failed to convince the officer of your intent to return to Germany; and it doesn't have much to do with your travel history.

As you are student, you have limited ties to Germany (there is nothing of substance preventing you from becoming a de-facto immigrant to the US) and you are a high risk applicant.

While conducting visa interviews, consular officers look at each application individually and consider the applicant's circumstances, travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside of the United States that will ensure the applicant’s departure after a temporary visit.

In your shoes, I would consider applying from India where you can demonstrate family ties.

  • Demonstrating ties to Germany might help, too. Do you have a paid post-doc position? – o.m. Mar 22 '16 at 6:24
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    Well, from what I have heard, I need to apply from the country of residence if I have been staying there for while, say six months or so. So applying in India might not work. I do know how far this is true. Some say you can, some say you can't. And yes, I did have a Working Student job at the time of application and had mentioned that. I carried the letter and contract but sadly I was not asked for it. So how exactly do I show "ties" – trollster Mar 22 '16 at 7:18
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    @trollster the US doesn't require applications to be submitted in the country of residence. They recommend it because the consulate there is more likely to be able to judge the application effectively. As a student, you might well be better off applying in your country of citizenship, if you can indeed show ties there. – phoog Mar 22 '16 at 13:34
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Only way to build the travel history is by of course travelling like Micheal told you.

Micheal has answered this extensively , However I wanted to give you my tips to do this as I have done the same thing in last 7 years.

Travel History is NOT everything to get a US Visa, Sometimes TOO MUCH travel may actually make Consular believe that you do not have enough ties to home.

Like you I believed it is Huge reason so here is how I accomplished it if you want to build some confidence.

I was rejected for B1 visa to USA on 2009, 2010 and 2012 all due to 214B lack of ties to home.

Looking to build travel history I applied for Schengen visa to Belgium on 2011 & France on 2013 and both rejected me as well and every visa denial was all related to the ties to home. This was a huge mistake to apply immediately to another Western country after a rejection. I learnt it tad late

So I started travelling to the obvious destinations for Indians first like Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand then I went for slightly harder ones like HK, China, Phillipines,etc Then I completed almost ALL of SE Asia without spending huge money as AirAsia/Tiger helps you with that.

Then I went for Japan. They have one of the decent visa programme 500 INR for visa which is refunded on the refusal and its straight forward.

After I got the Single entry Japan visa which allowed me to also go to Taiwan on ETA , I traveled to both Japan/Taiwan.

Then I applied tourist visa for Australia and I visted there , then I applied for both UK/Canada at the same time and I got those visas as well.

I applied for Schengen now again that I have quite a few visas, got approved and I visited France/Belgium/UK.

Then finally I went for the USA Visa and I got that approved as well.

Now to answer your question I would ask you to go with HK visa free then / Japan then to UK OR Australia then with some travel in your passport go for USA visa.

During all this visa experiences of mine and friends , I came to know that Travel history is not that big of a deal compared to other ties to home when it comes to USA.

They even reject people that have visited Canada/UK/etc before.

most USA consular don't even look at your old passports or any documentations so things that help are the things you can mention on the DS-160 which prove your ties like you are married/have kids / have a business/ have a decent pay/etc .

Travel history DOES help you with acquiring visas for most other countries just not as much for USA Visa compared to others..

However along with the travel history I would advise you to prove/build your ties to Home and Enjoy travelling as a whole and not just for the travel history.

  • Thanks a lot. Building ties is where I probably failed. I am a student. I had a part time job and the contract stating I work there. But I was not asked proof for both. So I do not know how exactly should a student studying abroad ties back home. – trollster Mar 26 '16 at 18:29
  • They will NEVER ask for it, they sort of 'assume' by looking at you/your application form and we have to some how over come their 'assumption' that we are not intending immigrant. In the form there is no way to even say you have Kids or assets so its bit hard to add those information indirectly . Its part luck as I have seen people having NO ties and history get visas at times. However I would not let you rely on luck and try and get more ties/more travel and more money which all will give you confidence and success even if that didnt get you a visa. – paimpozhil Mar 27 '16 at 19:26
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If you want to build travel history with a reduced risk due to potential visa rejections, consider less developed countries. Many such countries do have online visa application processes, such as Myanmar and Cambodia (both are nice places to visit, too). These processes are often inexpensive (under 50 EUR), fast (less than one week), and can be done in parallel (because you need not submit your passport initially).

Between online visa applications and visas on arrival (also possible for you in e.g. Cambodia as well as other countries like Indonesia which does it for free now), it should be practical to build an itinerary in South East Asia using your Indian passport. Several of these countries also insert big pretty visa stickers in your passport, or at least stamps.

Also note that your passport comes from a member nation of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. The list of nations there may be useful as well, because you are afforded some amount of special status in many or all of them.

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    I own one of the 10 worst passports, and many visa/entry stamps are really helpful. As for an Indian, I can also recommend Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore as well. You can easily get visas, and can travel between countries cheap as well. South Asian countries won't probably work because Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives are very nearby countries and come with a very small stamp for the officers to notice. – Ayesh K Mar 22 '16 at 14:51

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