Looking for the way NOT to get an US work visa? Then watch The Proposal, a recent romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

In the movie, Bullock plays a publishing exec working in New York City. Similar to many foreign workers in the United States, she is facing deportation back to her home country of Canada once her work visa expires.

In order to extend her visa and keep her job, she orders Reynolds, her young assistant, to marry her. As he has long been a victim of her bullying, he agrees as long as she agrees to promote him to editor.

Bullock submits her visa application to the Unites States Citizenship an Immigration Service, but things begin to fall apart. She starts to feel remorse and admits to her crime during the wedding ceremony, which her US immigration caseworker is attending.

While this may be a perfectly valid plot for a popular Hollywood movie, this is a completely unrealistic scenario in real-life. There are 3 critical mistakes she made during her application process:

She made a snap decision. It is absolutely critical to stay calm throughout visa proceedings, especially when an expiration deadline is coming up. The USCIS will watch for erratic behavior in such situations. Education about, and familiarity with, all valid options for staying in the US can help reduce any stress.

She was not realistic. Each different type of visa has specific requirements, and part of the process for many immigrants is methodically planning how to check off all the boxes. Fake marriages should NEVER be considered a valid strategy.

She was emotional and acted on it. Going back to the first point, it is crucial to stay cool and collected throughout the entire process. While immigration can certainly be an emotional process, it is imperative to push those emotions down and be as methodical as possible. Be impersonal, and only provide answers to specifically asked questions.

There are hundreds of thousands of visa applicants each year, covering all possible walks of life. Applying for a visa can be a stressful endeavor, and if you ever find that you feel overwhelmed, it is worth looking into hiring an experienced immigration attorney.