My U.S. Tourist Visa Was Refused: Should I Reapply?

Denied a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa at the U.S. consulate? You might be able to apply again, even though you can't file a formal appeal.

By , Attorney Temple University Beasley School of Law
Updated 12/23/2022

Many would-be visitors to the United States get as far as attending an interview for a B-2 tourist visa at a U.S. consulate, but then are denied. One of the most common reasons for denial, as typically shown in a letter they receive from the consulate, is that they were deemed ineligible for failure to show sufficiently strong ties to their home country. That made their intended activities in the United States not "consistent with the visa status."

Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to appeal a B-2 visa denial. But what if you were to apply again for a B-2 visa? This article will help you:

  • evaluate the reason for the consular denial of the B-2 visa, and
  • prepare to apply again.

Take Another Look at Your B-2 Tourist Visa Eligibility

Let's say 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. The officer will, in accordance with this law, assume that your real plan is to stay permanently unless you prove otherwise. This is called "immigrant intent," and the burden is on you to demonstrate 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 the United States.

There could be many reasons why your B-2 visa was denied for immigrant intent. If, for instance, you traveled to the U.S. in the past and overstayed the time permitted under your visa or extended that stay, 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 also 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.

Take an honest look at your life situation and your U.S. immigration history to determine the reasons why you were refused a B-2 tourist visa. Once you've figured that out, it's time to consider reapplying.

How to Prepare a Better B-2 Visa Application When You Reapply

While you can't appeal the consular officer's decision regarding your B-2 visa, the good news is that the decision is not permanent. 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.

Chances are high 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 started a new job, recently bought or leased a home in your country, or can show a compelling reason why your visit to the U.S. would be temporary OR that you want to travel for a specific event, such as "a family member's wedding" rather than simply "on vacation."

Some applicants assume that if they are refused a B-2 visa it is just a matter of bringing more documents or evidence the next time they apply. Unfortunately, it might be that, no matter how much proof you provide, the consular officer just does not believe that you are coming to the U.S. on a temporary visit for pleasure. It's tougher in some countries than others; if your has a high rate of people who travel to the U.S. and not returning, then your task of showing that you'll be different gets even more difficult.

Getting Legal Help

If you are having trouble obtaining a tourist visa, you might want to consult an immigration attorney, who can assess your individual case and advise you on how to proceed.

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