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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawAmerican Tourist Visa Denial at the US Embassy in Laos

American Tourist Visa Denial at the US Embassy in Laos

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing a US Tourist Visa, also called a B1/B2 Visa; sometimes just called a B2 Visa to the United States. We are specifically discussing the US Tourist Visa in the context of a Visa applicant who is of Laos nationality. To preface this video I am talking about this Laos National who has a significant other who is an American, so that can be a boyfriend or girlfriend, a fiancé or a husband or wife who is an American citizen. 

I bring this up because the thrust of our channel oftentimes is to discuss fiancée and marriage based visas from Southeast Asia. Now the folks seeking a Tourist Visa may not have an American counterpart and so this analysis may not necessarily apply directly to you although the statutory scheme that is cited is all the time used with respect to Tourist Visa applications so it might be of some use to general viewers. 

Pursuant to section 214 B of the Immigration Nationality Act the adjudicating officer for a tourist visa has to determine that the in this case Laos National applying for a Tourist Visa has strong ties to their home country or a third country outside the United States which often times can be Thailand, we see that rather frequently where we see Laos nationals obtain a Tourist Visa or are denied for a Tourist Visa to the United States, they oftentimes have stronger ties to Thailand even than their home country of Laos because perhaps they live and work over the over the Border in Thailand or down here in Bangkok. But they need to show strong ties outside of the United States and weak ties to the United States. So I bring up an American counterpart be that an American spouse, American girlfriend or boyfriend, or American fiancé because the mere existence of that spouse mitigates against weak ties to the United States. Having an American spouse is in and of itself is a strong tie. Having a relationship with an American, romantic or even pre-romantic if you will, may be considered a strong tie to the United States and for that reason oftentimes these cases are dismissed out of hand.  I find many of the American counterparts in these matters are rather less than thrilled about it because oftentimes no further questions will be asked other than "do you have an American boyfriend?' or "do you have an American girlfriend?' or "are you married to an American?" and then the visa is just denied. That is because that Consular Officer is using what is called their prerogatives under the Doctrine of Consular Absolutism or Consular Non-reviewability to make a factual determination that the applicant is not eligible pursuant to 214B of the Immigration Nationality Act and that factual determination is not subject to review. It cannot be reviewed. It cannot be appealed if you will. 

Now you can you can refile and try to seek another Tourist Visa but if you have been denied once and there is nothing that has materially changed in your case, you are going up against an uphill battle.

Now for those who do have a relationship with an American for example a fiancé, it is not a bad idea, if you are watching this video before seeking a Tourist Visa and you have an American fiancé, it may not be the wisest course of action to seek a Tourist Visa because the Fiancé Visa is probably the more accurate or a more appropriate visa category for you. If you have been denied for a Tourist Visa and subsequent to that denial your intentions change and you do end up having an American fiancée or down the road an American spouse, the prior Tourist Visa application will be looked at in a subsequent application for different visa benefits but it is probably not a terrible idea under any of the aforementioned circumstances to contact a legal professional because there is a lot going on with these. It can get rather complex and understanding the law and how they work is not a bad idea. 

So the thing to take away from this video, denial of a Tourist Visa may not be the end of the road. It may be possible to get a Fiancée Visa depending on circumstances or another type of visa to get to the United States that more appropriately fits a given applicant's circumstances.