Your Visa was Denied: Now What?

You worked hard over the last few months to have your visa application prepared, reviewed and submitted. You walked into the interview confident, organized and equipped with all the right answers, but after a torturous 30 minute interview you’ve been given a 221(g) notice or were outright denied your visa. Now what?

The first thing you need to do is sit down and take a deep breath. Stressing over something that has already come to pass will not help you get your visa any quicker. The important thing to realize is that getting a 221(g) hold or a denial is not the end of the world. Visa applicants make many of the same mistakes during the application process without even knowing it. One of the most common mistakes that applicants make is submitting incomplete documentation, which, could result in a 221(g) hold on your applications until the proper documents are provided for.

Visa applicants who are denied their visa the first time around shouldn’t despair. There are ways to remedy the situation. In order to assess where you may have gone wrong you need to ask yourself:  Was I really prepared for this interview? Did I submit all necessary documents and supporting documents? Did I give my interviewer the wrong impression? Did I have a mock interview with an attorney of good repute and in-depth knowledge of the visa interview process? If the answer to any of these questions are no, then you need to contact the law offices of Keshab Raj Seadie at 212.571.6002 for a consultation today.

 

With few exceptions, every visa applicant is interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After all available information is reviewed, the application is approved or denied based on U.S. immigration law.

There are many reasons why a visa application may be denied. In some instances, the application is denied because necessary information or supporting documents were not submitted by the applicant. In other instances, the application is denied for more serious reasons. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.

If denied a visa, the applicant is given a reason based on the section of law which applies. Visa applicants are also advised by the consular officer if they may apply for a waiver of their ineligibility.

If your non-immigrant visa such as H-1B, L-1B, L-1A, B-2 (visitor visa), B-1 (Business Visa) have been denied by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, You must retain the services of highly qualified and experienced immigration law firm like Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C. which has  successfully processed tens of thousands of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. 

 

 

Several of the most common reasons for visa ineligibilities are explained below. For more information, review the complete list of visa ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and amended laws.

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

(1) Health-related grounds. -

(2) Criminal and related grounds. -

(3) Security and related grounds. -

(4) Public charge.-

(5) Labor certification and qualifications for certain immigrants.-

(6) Illegal entrants and immigration violators. -

(7) Documentation requirements .-

(8) Ineligible for citizenship .

(9) ALIENS PREVIOUSLY REMOVED. -

(10) MISCELLANEOUS.

(11) Lack of actual specialty occupation or specialized knowledge/managerial position in the United States for H-1B or L-1 workers

(12) Suspect degree or past experience of H-1B or L-1B workers

(13) Negative information originating from the USCIS or DOL Site visits

(14) Past unauthorized stay in the U.S. by virtue of benching or illegal work.

Visa refusal under section 214(b), 221(g) and administrative processing are difficult to overcome as the consular officer has determined that there's insufficient evidence in the case to warrant issuance of a visa. The visa applicant has to provide evidence of strong ties to a residence abroad, or the bona fide of the relationship to the US citizen in fiance visa K1 cases, and overcome any suggestion of a sham marriage or finding of fraud.

Visas to the US are routinely denied for a variety of reasons. The US consular officer reviews the documents, investigate the individual's background, and conduct a personal interview to evaluate whether the individual is eligible.

When an immigrant visa case is not approved the applicant is issued a 221(g) or "blue sheet" indicating the evidence submitted was insufficient. When a non-immigrant visa is not approved, it's basically due to the requirements of section 214b, wherein the applicant did not have evidence of strong ties to a residence abroad to compel the applicant to return home after a short, temporary visit. Administrative processing is sometimes equivalent to a 221(g) refusal as the consular officer was unable to approve the case based on the evidence submitted, or a discrepancy was discovered requiring additional time to investigate. Administrative processing cases may languish in visa purgatory for a long time.

214(b)
Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Most visa applicants apply for a tourist visa or a student visa in this category. To qualify for a visitor or student visa, a prospective visitor or student applicant must meaningful evidence of funding, valid purpose of the trip, and strong ties in a residence abroad to compel the applicant to return to after the visit.

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 U.S. at the end of the temporary stay. Evidence of "strong ties" may be illustrated by consistent and steady history of employment, sufficient collateral or property ownership to cover travel expenses, and a succinct and sincere reason for the visit. These are compelling factors the consular officer consider when evaluating an applicant's eligibility for the visa. The brief interview with the applicant is also valuable in the consular officer's decision to approve or deny the visa.

221(g)
U.S. consulates abroad have been known to deny visas based upon INA Section 221(g) even after the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved a petition for the visa application.

In a 221(g) case, the consular officers determine that the requirements for a petition-based visa are not met by an applicant. They can refuse to issue the visa under Section 221(g). When they do so, they also request that the USCIS revoke the petition that was approved earlier.

Even though the USCIS has the primary authority to determine whether or not a person meets the requirements for a particular, petition-based visa classification, the consulate may reach a different conclusion and request that the USCIS reconsider its original approval of a petition. What can happen is that new, negative information can come to light at the time of the interview and the interviewing consular officer may conclude that the visa applicant either does not appear to meet the requirements of a fiancé/e. Essentially the fiance(e) did not convince the consular officer that the relationship is bona fide and possibly a sham marriage entered into to circumvent US Immigration law. Cases issued 221(g) are equivalent to a denial, however, some languish in visa purgatory similar to administrative processing.

Administrative Processing
In cases pending in Administrative Processing (AP) the consular officer may need more time to review the case before determining whether the applicant is eligible for the visa. In immigrant visa cases such as the fiance(e) visa, the consular officer may conclude at the interview that there's not enough convincing evidence to deny the case nor approve it, there may be some red flag issue, or a discrepancy in the case to warrant a secondary review. Cases in AP may take months to conclude, however, in this writer's experience, providing additional compelling evidence of the bona fides of the applicant's relationship to the American petition may assist the consular officer in making a definitive decision in the case.

AP is a state of flux that leaves applicants frustrated and confused as there's no definitive guidelines as to what the immigration issues are and whether the applicants can do anything to compel the consular officer to issue the visa. It is within the discretion of the consular officer to hold the case and investigate it further, thereby leaving the applicant with neither an approval nor denial.

Whether the case is issued a 214(b), 221(g) or placed in administrative processing, a competent immigration attorney should be able to review the case and provide the best course of action based on the applicant's unique sets of facts. Consular processing attorneys are in a highly advantageous position to assist since they are able to inquire directly with the consulate and embassy where the applicant's case was denied.

With few exceptions, every visa applicant is interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After all available information is reviewed, the application is approved or denied based on U.S. immigration law.

There are many reasons why a visa application may be denied. In some instances, the application is denied because necessary information or supporting documents were not submitted by the applicant. In other instances, the application is denied for more serious reasons. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.

If denied a visa, the applicant is given a reason based on the section of law which applies. Visa applicants are also advised by the consular officer if they may apply for a waiver of their ineligibility. Several of the most common reasons for visa ineligibilities are explained below. For more information, review the complete list of visa ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and amended laws.