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USA Visa Denial and Section 214(b)

An Overview of U.S. Visa Denial

Not everyone who applies for a U.S. visa is approved. There are always cases of applications being denied by the consular office and the reasons are varied.

U.S. visa applicants are normally required to have an interview with a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country or country of residence. Every applicant needs to set an appointment for interview which in routine cases does not last a remarkably long period of time. The decision to approve or deny is made after the officer reviews the documents submitted by the applicant. One can be denied entry to the U.S. based upon any number of provisions set forth by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Reasons for Tourist Visa Denial

In the vast majority of cases, those applying in the non-immigrant visa categories tend to seek tourist visas, business visas, or student visas. U.S. law has set out many situations under which a nonimmigrant visa application may be denied. Denial is possible in certain circumstances such as when the applicant fails to submit all the necessary information required, he or she is not qualified for the visa category for which he or she applied, and/or the information provided shows the applicant is inadmissible pursuant to the legal grounds of inadmissibility outlined in the INA.

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that before a non-immigrant visa is issued, the applicant must prove his or her strong ties to his or her home country (or country of residence) and relatively weak ties to the USA. One must, therefore, show no intention to leave his place of residence and stay longer than required in the U.S. One's financial situation can back this up by showing that one can afford to go to America without the need to seek employment therein. Long-term employment in a foreign company. Social and filial relationships with non-US foreign nationals may also be compelling evidence of strong ties abroad.

When a visa is denied, the applicant is notified by the officer at the consulate or U.S. embassy who conducts the visa interview. Denial based upon section 214(b) or legal grounds of inadmissibility may be cited, but no matter the reason for the denial the result will be non-issuance of the visa. It should be noted that the visa interview is non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the interview.

It should be understood that some refusals are permanent while some can be overcome by the applicant either due to material changes in the applicant’s circumstances or via an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility. 

One can still reapply for non-immigrant visa benefits even if previously denied under section 214(b). However, the previously denied applicant should make sure to present evidence of material changes in their situation.