Anthony writes, "I am currently pursuing a masters program in Australia and have been accepted to a Ph.D. program in the United States. With the massive aid package that I am receiving along with my own savings, I am good with financial support documentation. My concern is that because I have not lived in The Philippines (my home country) for many years, it is hard for me to demonstrate ties there. At the same time, since I live here also on a temporary basis, I do not have strong ties to Australia. Will this be a problem while being considered for the student visa? How can I prove my intent not to live permanently in the United States?"
Yes, your situation is extremely tricky, but whatever ties you want to show, you want them to be in your country of birth (the exceptions are for those individuals who, for example, have employers in another country who will offer them a job after graduation from Ph.D, or a spouse of that country or some other solid proof of returning to that country like property ownership). So you need to provide proof of ownership of property in The Philippines or that all your family is there (your task may become a lot harder if you already have close family members in the United States). Be prepared to be questioned about your plans after graduation. For example, make sure you know the answers to questions like what would you do in The Philippines once you graduate ("I plan to become a researcher at the University of Manila and work on technologies that will solve the persistent drinking water problem in the country."). Your probability of being given a visa is extremely low, but you should try.