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U.S.A. Visa Refusal and Re-Application Tips

There are many different types of ineligibilities for U.S. visas under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Below are three of the most commonly seen grounds of visa ineligibilities. There are others as well that are not mentioned here.

If you are refused a visa at one consulate, do not try your luck at another consulate. E.g., if you are rejected in Chennai, do not go to Mumbai or Delhi. You will be asked to go back to Chennai for reapplication. All of the applications, your answers, etc., are computerized and maintained centrally. Also, the same rules apply at all the consulates, and all officers are trained the same way with the same rules. Just because you get another officer at reapplication does not mean you will get a visa. They have access to your old records, will think about it the same way, and will give the same consideration as the previous officer. Of course, “luck” may play some role. If your application is rejected, the last page in your passport will be stamped “Application Received” with the date and location of the rejecting consulate. A consular officer will recognize this notation as meaning that some type of prior visa application has failed, and they will look closely into your application. If you think you are smart and try to overcome the problem by a getting new, unmarked passport, that would not work either because they have centrally computerized records.

As per “The Homeland Security Act – 2002”, it is compulsory to computerize all nonimmigrant visa applications. It is compulsory to enter all the details of rejection reasons in the applicant’s records. When the applicant applies again in the future, the consulate officer must review the prior notes for rejection reasons. If the officer decides to grant the visa this time, they need to justify the reasons for overruling the previous decision and note the same in the system.

Travel Agent/Visa Consultant Help:
It is not required to hire any travel agent or visa consultant for the visitor visa process under most circumstances. All the information you require for a visitor visa is right here on this website, immihelp.com. They charge a lot of money to fill out the forms, many of which are available for free on this website, and we have step-by-step guides to help you through the visa procedure. Many consultants make lots of false promises, such as being able to get early appointment dates, knowing people in the consulate and getting favors through them, advising applicants to give wrong or misleading answers for the interview. Do not fall into the trap of travel agents, visa consultants, or immigration consultants who tell you that they know someone in the consulate and will guarantee you a visa. While someone can legitimately help you prepare the necessary forms and documents, they can’t get any favors from the officers. Whether you use any consultant or not, you are responsible for your own application and answers. If the consulate officer finds out about any incorrect or misleading answers, you will jeopardize your chance of getting a visa, and it may also have an adverse impact on future attempts.

Congressman/Senator Help:
Many people think that if your visa is rejected, getting a letter from a congressman/senator will help. 
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Bonds/Assurances/Guarantees:
Some people ask whether they can sign a bond with the U.S. Consulate. In other words, they deposit a certain amount of money with the Consulate, and if they don’t return within a fixed period, the deposit will be forfeited. No such system exists with the U.S. Consulate. It is not possible to offer any bond for assurance of return unless the U.S. Consulate specifically asks for it, which they rarely do.

Many people who are inviting their relatives to visit the U.S.A. are willing to write a letter that indicates that the sponsor will make sure that the visitor will return to their home country after the authorized stay. Such letters or guarantees have no meaning and no value with the U.S. Consulate. This would not help getting the visa at all.

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Exerting Pressure:
The decision of the consular officer that interviews you is final. It does not help asking to get your case reviewed by the U.S. Consulate General, U.S. Ambassador, or those involved with affairs of the U.S. and the home country. These tactics don’t work. Instead, you are likely to create unwarranted paperwork in your case, and it may delay your case if you have a chance to get a visa under normal circumstances.

Do not try to offer bribes to anyone. That will just hurt your case, and you may lose your chance to go to the U.S.A. permanently. Also, do not try to influence the officers by contacting MPs, Ministers, or other politicians and asking them to refer or recommend your case to the consular officer. It does not affect the consular officer, and they are not required to listen to anyone, just to follow the rules and regulations.

Business visa holders cannot start doing business in the U.S.A. It is given for business-related activities, such as meeting potential businessmen and companies, taking or giving orders, taking part in a conference or exhibition, and so on. Business visa applicants must have a good command of English. In the absence of that, it would be very difficult to conduct business meetings.

Some people mistakenly believe that if their visa application is rejected once, they get blacklisted, and if they get rejected once, they cannot apply again. You can apply as many times as you want. However, before reapplying, analyze the reasons for rejection and work on those. Some people mistakenly believe that there is a monthly or daily quota for visas, and after that, they just reject everyone no matter what. That is simply not the case, and there is no quota. Some people mistakenly believe that some officers are there just to reject visas. Others mistakenly believe that the person before them messed up, was rejected, and now the officer is upset, and even though their own application was correct in all aspects, it was denied because of that other person. These are just myths, so don’t believe them.

214(b)

The 214(b) Intending Immigrant Provision: Nonimmigrant visa applicants in almost all categories must demonstrate to the consular officer’s satisfaction that they have strong ties to a permanent residence outside of the U.S. which would compel them to leave the U.S. upon the completion of their authorized stay. The consular officer evaluates the applicant’s economic, social, and cultural ties to their residence in order to determine whether it is more probable that the applicant will return to his or her home country within the period of authorized stay in the U.S. or whether it is more likely that the applicant will remain in the U.S. There is no set “list” of documents an applicant should bring; rather, an applicant who can convincingly explain the reasons for travel, present believable business or personal documents to substantiate their ties to the home country, and can answer questions in an open manner is more likely to be issued a visa than someone who comes in with a huge folder of irrelevant or clearly questionable documents.

All application fees and service charges must be paid for each application.

Time, staffing levels, and growing lines outside do not permit officers to take phone calls on behalf of visa applicants.

Candidates can apply in person as many times they want. Consulates will not accept applications by postal mail.

This is a sample letter from a person whose mother-in-law’s visa was denied, later reapplied and got a visa the second time. While this does not, in any way, guarantee that your relatives would get a visa too if you write such a letter, it may be helpful for you to draft a letter like this.

Sample letter 2

You cannot provide a bond saying that you will definitely return unless the consular officer specifically asks for it.

Some ineligible applicants seek help from a “visa consultant”. Be careful. If you do decide to hire a consultant, remember that you alone are responsible for the accuracy of the information in your application. 

If you have been refused under INA Section 214(b), please indicate your previous refusals, with the dates, if you still remember them. The consular officer will review your application and inform you of the decision. 

Consulate officers also look at several factors, such as:

  • Whether the applicant has a good stable job or business in the home country with good income, as well as the nature of the work.
  • Whether there are other relatives in the home country, such as children, grandchildren, and a spouse that they would come back for.
  • Whether the applicant has traveled to the U.S.A. in the past, and if yes, how long they stayed. If the person extended the stay, they must carry the proof of the previous extension approval (or rejection). The officer also looks at how much time the applicant spent in the U.S.A. previously, and if the person applies again too soon, the visa may be rejected. A person on a visitor visa that is going to the U.S.A. just for tourism can’t stay in the U.S. for most of their time.
  • How often the applicant’s relatives in the U.S.A. visit family back in the home country.

Denial under this section is not permanent. If you think your circumstances have changed significantly since the last application, or if you have new information that was not presented to the consulate officer the previous time, you may apply again. You can reapply any time after 3 business days following the previous rejection. You don’t have to wait for 6 months or longer. However, it is very unlikely that your circumstances would change significantly within 3 days.

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No Opportunity Provided to Explain
Many people think that their visa interview was very short, the officer hardly looked at the documents, and the visa was rejected, which was very unfair. However, consulate officers handle thousands of applications, and they are very experienced. They can quickly figure out what questions they want to ask based on the overall application, and that includes several aspects of your case: your situation in your home country, your stated intent in visiting the U.S., your previous travel history, your financial situation, and many other factors. They will only ask what they think is necessary to make the decision. Most of the information they are looking for is already there in the application form.

Did Not Look at the Documents
Sometimes, even if you bring all the documents that you can think of, the visa can still be rejected. The consulate officer looks at the overall situation, and if that is not adequate to overcome the presumption of the intending immigrant, the visa still may be rejected. In other words, the problem is not the documents, but your overall situation (as supported by those documents). Applying for a nonimmigrant visa is not a documentary process. Consular officers never rely solely upon them, as they do not fully establish an applicant’s intentions. Documents can only help, but that is not everything. Depending upon the specifics of your case, the consular officer may or may not have needed to examine your documents closely to make a decision about your eligibility for a visa. You should bring the documents anyway in case the consular officer needs to refer to them. If the consular officer made a decision in your case without detailed scrutiny of your documents, it was because other circumstances of your case were clear. If your visa was refused, it is highly unlikely that any document you could provide would significantly alter the consular officer’s decision about your case.

No Refund of Fees
If your visa was rejected, there is no refund of any of the fees you paid.

Finding Reason for Denial
If you or your relative’s visa was denied, you may want to know the reason for it. Information may not be provided to third parties about a particular visa applicant, because under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), section 222(f), the records of the Department of States relating to visa decisions are confidential.

However, certain information may be provided to the petitioner in visa cases or attorneys representing a visa applicant, to members of Congress, or other persons acting on behalf of and with the permission of the applicant. Please send an e-mail to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate where the applicant was rejected.

Student Visa Applicants:
Some students are confused when, after presenting a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (I-20) from their chosen school in the U.S., they are ineligible for a student visa. Just as with visitors, Section 214(b) requires students to show that they intend to leave the U.S. after they finish their studies. An I-20 is one of several documents that allow you to apply for a student visa, but it cannot guarantee your eligibility. Students may be ineligible if it appears that their primary purpose is not to obtain an education that will advance their life in their home country but will instead facilitate an indefinite stay in the U.S. for themselves or their family.

221(g)

The 221(g) Ineligibility: If an applicant is refused under this section, it is because she/he is missing a document or some other piece of evidence which the consular officer needs in order to render a final decision on the applicant’s eligibility for the visa. Generally, the applicant will be told what types of documents might satisfy the consular officer. A new visa application form should be filled out; however, no new application fee is due for a period of one year following the initial 221(g) refusal.

If you have been refused a visa under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you may reapply at any time. At the time of refusal, you will be told whether you can reapply using the dropbox facility, whether you have to come in person after making an appointment, or if you can apply in person without any appointment.

If you reapply in person, please bring your refusal letter with the 221(g) stamp to the Visa Section entrance, and ask to re-apply.

If you are told to come in person without an appointment, you have to just appear at the consulate in the morning. You don’t have to fill out the DS-160 again. The old DS-160 filled at the time of the original application would still be valid. You do not have to pay the application fees again if you reapply within one year of the earlier rejection. Visa rejection under section 221(g) is not actually a “rejection”. It is a visa ineligibility. It means the consular officer is unable to determine the outcome of the visa application at that time. The possible reasons are missing documents or that a personal appearance was required. You have to pick up your passports at the consulate office the next day. This follows from the fact that the logistics fees paid at the time of application had been used for delivering the passports. They will not deliver the passports twice since the fees that were paid were for a one-time delivery only. Also, note that the application center will not provide any service since you did not have an appointment. If you want service, then you have to purchase tickets.

If you have been requested to wait until the consulate contacts you, please do not make an appointment. Your case requires further administrative processing, and the consulate will contact you once this has been completed.

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212(a)(6)(C)

The 212(a)(6)(C) Ineligibility: Applicants should be truthful in all areas of their visa applications. Applicants who willfully misrepresent material facts on their immigrant or nonimmigrant visa applications can be found permanently ineligible to enter the U.S. If you present forged, counterfeit, or otherwise false documents, you are likely to fall under this provision of the law.
Sample USA visa rejection letter

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