My U.S. tourist visa was "refused." What can I do?

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Question:

I went to interview for a B-2 tourist visa at the U.S. consulate, but received a denial letter saying that I was ineligible because I couldn’t show strong ties to my home country and that my intended activities wouldn’t be “consistent with the visa status.” It said that I can’t appeal. What can I do now? I really want the chance to go back to the United States.

Answer:

You were found to be ineligible for a B-2 tourist visa under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act because you didn’t convince the consular officer that your visit to the U.S. would be temporary. This is called “immigrant intent” and the burden is on you to prove that you have enough ties to your home country (such as a job, schooling, home, close family, and other long-range plans) and that you truly intend to make only a temporary visit. To learn more about tourist visas, see Nolo’s article “A B-2 Visa for Visiting the U.S. as a Tourist: Do You Qualify?”

There could be many reasons why your visa was denied. If you traveled to the U.S. in the past and overstayed your visa or extended it, this might indicate to the consular officer that you do not intend to comply with the visa requirements. If you made a very recent U.S. visit or stayed for a long period the last time, the officer might question why you need to return so soon. Or it could be that you haven’t provided enough evidence to show you have a permanent home, job, or established life in your home country. You should take an honest look at your life situation and your U.S. immigration history to determine the reasons why you were refused a tourist visa.

While you can’t appeal the consular officer’s decision, the good news is that the decision is not permanent and you can reapply for a visa at any time after your refusal. However, you shouldn’t just reapply immediately on the hope that you will give a more convincing interview or draw a more sympathetic official to handle your case. The chances are great that you will be denied again unless at least one of the following applies to you:

  1. You can provide further evidence of your established life and your home country and your nonimmigrant itinerary in the United States.
  2. Your circumstances have changed in a favorable way that would make you eligible for a visa. For example, you have a new job, recently bought or leased a home, or can show a compelling reason why your visit to the U.S. would be temporary OR you can show that you want to travel for a specific event: “a family member’s wedding,” rather than simply “on vacation.”

Some people assume that if they are refused a visa it is just a matter of bringing more documents or evidence the next time they apply. Unfortunately, it may be that no matter how much proof you provide the consular officer, he or she just does not believe that you are coming to the U.S. on a temporary visit for pleasure. If you are having trouble obtaining a tourist visa, you may want to consult an immigration attorney who can assess your individual case and advise you on how to proceed.

 

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