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Guide On How To Handle A US Visitor Visa Denial

Guide On How To Handle A US Visitor Visa Denial

In most countries, if you wait long enough in front of the United States embassy, you are likely to meet someone willing to tell you the secret to getting a US visitor visa. The truth is, there is no magic formula. A consular officer is legally required to assume that every US visitor visa applicant wants to move to the US.

It is up to you to persuade them otherwise. In most countries, getting a US visitor visa is a major challenge. Every year, hundreds of thousands of individuals receive what is commonly referred to as a tourist visa. However, many applicants also apply and are denied.

The US visitor visa allows individuals to visit the United States for a maximum of six months for pleasure or medical treatment. While the United States is eager to attract visitors, even for economic purposes, it has some legal reasons to deny some visa applications.

The basic principle is that the United States may find visa applicants “inadmissible” for many reasons. Are you waiting in front of a visa officer, eager to answer all their questions, hoping to see a bright slip that says, “Your US visitor visa is approved?”

But everything doesn’t always go according to plan. You answer all their questions and wait for the results, only to see a dreaded “Your US visitor visa has been denied” slip. Visa denial is one of the most frustrating and perplexing experiences.

You may ask yourself, “Why did the consular officer reject my US visitor visa application?” and “Is there any way I could have presented more evidence to convince the consular officer to reconsider my application?”

While US consulate and embassy procedures do not allow a reconsideration of an application, you can take steps to understand better why your US visitor visa was denied and decide when it is time to apply again. There is nothing worse than that.

If your dreams of getting a US visitor visa have been dashed and you are disappointed, you should understand what to do next by reading this post.

Why the US is careful to grant a visitor visa

The US government wants to ensure that your visa is used only for the purpose for which it was issued and that you don’t stay past the expiry date of your permitted stay (typically shown on your Form I-94). For a US visitor visa, this is typically no more than six months.

The length of your stay in the United States will depend on when you arrive at a legal port of entry. Once in the United States, you can extend your stay for up to six more months. However, if your stay exceeds this total length (one year), you will officially overstay your US visitor visa and potentially face serious immigration penalties.

But these consequences alone aren’t enough to stop millions of immigrants from illegally entering the United States. The US government doesn’t want to monitor and arrest immigrants who enter the country irregularly constantly. That is why US immigration authorities have a ‘security posture.’

It is designed to make sure that immigrants who are a danger to the US aren’t always admitted to the country, regardless of what visa they are applying for.

Reasons for a US visitor visa denial

There are many reasons why you may be denied a US visitor visa. Fortunately, most can be avoided with proper preparation and visa processing right from the start. Anyone with a valid passport or travel document can apply for a US visitor visa. However, this does not mean everyone applying for a US visitor visa will be approved.

You are not guaranteed to be approved for a US visitor visa. However, you can be the strongest candidate by understanding the grounds for refusal and being prepared to avoid them.

1. Issues with your application form.

One of the most common reasons for refusing a US visitor visa is not properly completing your application form (the DS160 form). The visa officer will refuse your visa if the form is incomplete regarding information. The visa officers will see the visa form before they interview you, so the information you provide on the form is crucial.

Your visa will also be denied if the information you provide during the interview does not match the documents you provide. Therefore, you should carry all documents and proof during the interview. For example, carry the documents if you use your investments or property as financial proof; otherwise, the visa officer will deny your visa.

2. Having the wrong travel intent.

While the US visitor visa application process is relatively simple, the US government doesn’t want this to become an easy way to enter the country for those who want to work (which is against the law for US visitor visa holders) or live and work there permanently.

That is why every US visitor visa applicant must demonstrate “nonimmigrant intent” or show that they intend to travel as a tourist and arrive and depart on time. To do so, the State Department requires proof that:

  1. You are traveling for pleasure (or for medical treatment);
  2. You intend to remain in the United States only for a limited period;
  3. You have enough money to cover your costs while in the United States;
  4. You have strong social and economic connections in your home country (e.g., a job, education, family, etc.);
  5. You have a residence outside the United States (i.e., a house, apartment, or other residence);
  6. You have other binding ties that guarantee your return once your permitted stay ends.

3. Fraud or criminal record.

When considering the list of things you must include in your US visitor visa application, some applicants may be tempted to lie or withhold certain information. For instance, they may deny having a prior criminal conviction or having family members who are American citizens in the US.

However, this is visa fraud and will result in a denial once discovered. If you have a history of lying about the US visas you have applied for or received, it could also become a problem in the future. Discuss the impact of falsifying information on your immigration application with an immigration lawyer.

If you have been convicted of a crime, have a history of espionage, or have ties to terrorist organizations, your visa application to the United States will likely be declined. While not all crimes are grounds for denial, many are on the list, and it can be hard to understand them all. You will want to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer.

4. Disobeying immigration rules in the past.

If you have exceeded your allowed, stay on a previous US visa, or if you have resided in the United States for an extended period of time without authorization, it may be difficult for you to convince the consular officer examining your US visitor visa application that, likewise, you will not violate this visa.

If your unauthorized stay in the United States exceeds 180 days, you will face an automatic entry bar of three years. If your unauthorized stay exceeds one year, your entry bar will rise to ten years.

What to do after a US visitor visa denial

1. Know the reason for the denial.

After a visa denial, you should first try to understand why your visa was denied. It is common for applicants to receive a denial letter after the end of a visa interview. This letter contains details to help you understand what went wrong with your visa application.

If you receive a denial letter, don’t be surprised if it says your visa was denied based on section 214(b) INA. This is one of the most common reasons for a visa denial. This means the Consular officer did not believe you could return to your country of origin after visiting the US.

This is not a “permanent” refusal; you may be eligible to apply for a US visitor visa again if you can demonstrate stronger financial and/or social ties with your home country. However, there may be a more compelling reason for denying your visa. See if the consular letter listed any other law section as the cause of denial.

Some of the most common reasons for denying a US visitor visa include:

  • Prior removal from the United States;
  • Undocumented presence in the United States;
  • Criminal convictions.

However, there are many more reasons, as stated earlier.

2. Know how long you are ineligible.

There are different types of visa ineligibility. Some are temporary, while others are permanent. You will need to thoroughly review the section of the law that your US visitor visa was denied under or have an immigration lawyer review it for you.

If your consular officer suggests it and you have shown enough ties to your home country to qualify for a waiver, you may be eligible under certain circumstances. Waivers aren’t usually granted for recent or significant violations.

3. Reapply after a year.

While it is not required, many US embassy and consulate staff recommend that applicants wait at least one year before reapplying for a US visitor visa. That is because it is unlikely that your circumstances will change significantly enough to affect a visa decision in less than one year.

4. Note how your situation has changed since your last application.

When you reapply for a US visitor visa, your consular officer will likely review the notes from your previous visa interview. They may only ask you to discuss changes since your last interview. Be prepared to explain that you have graduated from the university, been promoted, changed your travel purpose, or other changes.

You may request a different officer at the start of your interview if you feel that the officer who denied your visa was unfair or didn’t explain your denial properly. This request may not be accepted but asking won’t hurt.

Get help!

News of a US visitor visa denial can be sad and frustrating, but you can salvage the situation by talking with an immigration lawyer. With the help of an experienced immigration lawyer, you can turn your visa denial around. At Gehi and Associates, we understand how delicate dealing with a US visitor visa denial is.

We can help you through this phase of your case and make you smile at the end of the day. Contact our skilled immigration lawyers today to know what went wrong in your case!

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