Why Was My Tourist Visa Really Denied?
By Patricia Elizee, Esq.
The number of people who want to visit the United States is increasing every year. You need to apply for a tourist B1/B2 visa at the U.S consulate that is closest to you. You will find the details of the process on the consulate’s website. Pay close attention to the requirements and process described on the consulate’s website because each consulate is different.
To be eligible for a tourist visa, you must show that you have a residence in a foreign country, that you have no intention of abandoning your residence, and that you plan on visiting the United States for a temporary trip. To meet the requirement of having a foreign residence, an immigration officer at the U.S consulate will want to see evidence of permanent employment, meaningful business or financial connections, close family ties or social or cultural associations. Taken together they will indicate whether you have a strong inducement to return to your country after your visit to the United States. You must also have the funds to support yourself during your trips to the United States.
If you are refused a tourist visa under section 214(b) of the immigration law, it means that you did not provide sufficient evidence to show to the consular officer that you qualify for the visa and that you did not overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. While conducting the interview, the consular officer will look at each application and consider your individual circumstance, your travel plans, your financial resources, and your ties outside the United States that will ensure that you will return to your home country after you come visit the United States.
There are a lot of reasons for visa denials. It is important to understand that the overall economic situation of your home country is one of the most important determinative factors. For example, countries like Haiti, Laos, and Nigeria who are economically and politically unstable have a higher refusal rate. It is also important to understand that the consular officer has very broad discretion as to whether they can refuse or approve a tourist visa application. Here are the top 5 reasons why your tourist visa may be denied:
1. Not enough ties to your home country: If you are not married, have no long-term employment, no children, no assets, no extended family members in your home country. This may also be the case where the majority of your family members have already migrated to the United States. The consular officer may believe that you do not have enough ties to your home country and that you will not return home if you are granted a tourist visa.
2. Long visits to the U.S.: If you previously had a tourist visa and spent long visits in the U.S. The consular officer may believe that you used your tourist visa to reside or work in the United States violating your tourist visa. The consular officer will therefore not issue a renewal of your tourist visa.
3. Giving birth in the U.S: While immigration law does not prohibit you from having a child in the United States on a tourist visa it is very common for consular officers to deny a tourist visa to a pregnant woman and to refuse to renew a tourist visa for both parents if a child was born in the U.S while the parents had a tourist visa. It is common for officers to ask for evidence that all of the hospital’s bills were paid for or for evidence that the U.S government was reimbursed for birth related expenses before renewing someone’s tourist visa.
4. Currently pending or previously denied immigrant applications or petitions: If you currently have a pending application for a green card or you were previously denied a green card can be a reason for the consular officer to deny your tourist visa. Your green card applications show that you have an intent to come and reside in the United States permanently which is contrary to the tourist visa intent.
5. Lack of travel: If you have never traveled to another country then the consular officer may deny your tourist visa application. Having a history of traveling to other countries and returning to your home country is a positive factor for a tourist visa application.
The above reasons are not the only reasons that the consular officer may use to deny your case. What happens if your tourist visa was denied?
If the consulate made a legal error in denying your application, you may point out the legal error to the consulate for reconsideration. If you believe that you have additional evidence to support your application, you can always file another application and try again.
Keep in mind that you may be denied a tourist visa if you are not legally eligible for the visa. This may be the case for someone who committed a crime in their home country or was deported. If that is your case, you may need to file for a waiver with your application for a tourist visa. Please contact our firm if you would like to discuss your immigration options.