Frequently Asked Questions about Visa Refusals
While there are several reasons for a visa application to be refused, most refusals fall under a key provision of U.S. immigration law. The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 214 (b), states that "every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until s/he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a visa, and the immigration officers, at the time of application for admission, that s/he is entitled to a non-immigrant status." Thus, applicants for a non-immigrant visa are required to overcome the presumption that they intend to immigrate to the United States. Overcoming this presumption can be done by establishing, to the consular officer's satisfaction, that you have sufficiently strong family, social, or economic ties to your country of residence to ensure that your projected stay in the United States will be temporary and that you will not work illegally. If your visa application is refused, the consular officer will give you a letter that specifies the applicable section of the law.
Below are some common complaints that we have received when a visa applicant has been refused under Section 214 (b).
"The Consul didn't give me time to explain."
The consular officer who refused your visa is well trained. In a very short time, a consular officer will look at several aspects of your case: your situation in your country of residence, your stated intent/reason for going to the United States, your previous travel history, work and financial situations, etc. Based upon the unique circumstance of your case, the consular officer asked you questions s/he deemed necessary. The consular officer weighed your answers to those questions with the specific facts of your case. The high volume of applications we receive demands that the consular officer examine your case only as far as it was necessary for him/her to make a determination whether you overcame the U.S. legal presumption of intending immigration to the United States. Unfortunately, visa applicants' stated intent often conflicts with other facts presented, and it is not possible for consular officers to take all applicants' statements at face value.
"The Consul didn't look at my documents."
Applying for a non-immigrant visa is not primarily a documentary process. Consular officers will look at documents in conjunction with what is said at the visa interview. What is at issue is intent. Documents alone never will establish applicants' intentions. Documents which demonstrate that applicants are well established in their own country can, in some circumstances, help individuals to establish that their intent is to return to their own country after a short visit to the United States. Depending on 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 intent. You were correct to bring documents with you, in case the consular officer would have needed to refer to them. If the consular officer made a decision in your case without a 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 have significantly altered the consular officer's decision about your intent.
"I want my money back."
The U.S.$160 that you paid is an application fee. Everyone who applies for a U.S. non-immigrant visa is subject to this fee. This fee is non-refundable and will not be returned if you fail to establish that you qualify for a U.S. visa. This office has no authority to refund an application fee. If you plan to reapply for a visa here or elsewhere, you will be required to pay a U.S. $160 application fee every time you apply.
"Why didn't they tell me when I called that I would not get a visa?"
Every application for a visa is based on its own merits. By telephone, it is only possible to give general information regarding the visa application process and suggest the types of documents that might help you to demonstrate your eligibility for a U.S. non-immigrant visa. We can't pre-adjudicate visa cases by telephone, because it is impossible to obtain by phone all relevant facts. The visa application instructions clearly state that there is no guarantee that you will receive a U.S. non-immigrant visa if you choose to apply.