Why Was My Travel Visa Denied?
by: Maury D. Beaulier
Why was my Travel Visa denied and what can I do now?
Hearing a consular officer say, "Your application for a temporary travel visa is denied. You are not qualified under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act," can cause great disappointment and sometimes embarrassment. Here is what a 214(b) visa refusal means and what applicants and friends can do to prepare for a visa reapplication.
What is Section 214(b)?
Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). It states:
Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status
To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.
Consular officers must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents.
What constitutes strong ties?
Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence, your possessions, employment, social and family relationships.
Consular officers are aware of this diversity. During the visa interview they look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is supposed to be accorded every consideration under the law.
Is a denial under Section 214(B) permanent?
No. The consular officer will reconsider a case, if an applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the United States. However, due to a person's particular situation, some applicants will not qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, regardless of how many times they reapply, until their personal, professional and financial circumstances change considerably.
A letter of invitation or support from a United States citizen may help. However, this does not guarantee visa issuance. Visa applicants must qualify for the visa according to their own circumstances, not on the basis of an American sponsor's assurance.
Review your situation and evaluate your ties. Make a note to yourself about what qualifying ties you think you have which may not have been evaluated at the time of the interview with the consular officer. You should review the documents that were submitted for the consul to consider. Although applicants may reapply for a visa, they will have to show further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying: 1) Did I explain my situation accurately; 2) Did the consular officer overlook something; and 3) Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties abroad?
Keep in mind that you will be charged a nonrefundable application fee each time you apply for a visa, regardless of whether a visa is issued.
Can anybody influence the Consular Officer to reverse a decision?
Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation, the United States Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether an applicant possesses the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at the Foreign Service posts to resolve. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new, convincing evidence of strong ties. Nevertheless, an Immigration Lawyer may be able to help you present your case in the best possible light.
About The Author
Maury D. Beaulier is part of a 29 attorney immigration law firm handling cases for clients across the United States and abroad. The firm and its members are recognized leaders in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization process including asylum cases, work visas, investor visas and family based immigration. You may reach Mr. Beaulier at (952) 746-2153 or through his immigration website located at www.workvisalawyers.com.