Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘INA’

16th January 2011

There was a recent story on the Telegraph.co.uk website entitled, “Boy, 9, has Disney World trip ruined after US Immigration rules him a threat” it was reported that a 9 year old child was denied a US tourist visa to the United States. To quote directly from the article:

They said there was a risk he would not leave the US at the end of his holiday and refused his application under Section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

This blogger noticed in the title of the original article that the use of the term “US Immigration” may have been somewhat opaque as the visa application was likely filed with a US Consulate under the jurisdiction of the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom and not the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the USA. That said, the article describes the visa application of a child in the United Kingdom and the denial of the application. The child’s parents were attempting to surprise him with a trip to Disney World in the US State of Florida. To quote further directly from the article itself:

Micah [the proposed beneficiary of the US B-2 Visa sought] was born in Britain and has lived in Middlesex all his life with his mum Claudia Lewis.

He holds a South African passport because his grandparents Kathy and Edward, who have lived and worked in Britain since 1990, only got him a South African passport.

They are originally from South Africa.

A letter from Micah’s primary school was included in his visa application confirming he attended the school.

But the US Embassy’s rejection letter to Micah said: “Because you either did not demonstrate strong ties outside the United States or were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the US would be consistent with the visa status, you are ineligible.”

His grandmother Kathy, from Brixton, South London, said: “It was going to be a total surprise. He would have loved it.

This blogger highly recommends that those interested in this heartfelt story go to the Telegraph website and read further.

Section 214(b) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act is a provision which creates a legal presumption in the eyes of adjudicating Consular Officers at every US Mission abroad (US Embassy, US Consulate, American Institute, Visa Units, etc.) that an applicant for a United States visa is actually an undisclosed intending immigrant. Overcoming this presumption often occurs when a Consular Officer feels that, as opposed to the factual citing from the denial noted above, the applicant has shown “strong ties” to their country of origin, or another country abroad, and, simultaneously, “weak ties” to the United States.

In another section of the aforementioned article the author noted that the couple had spent a considerable sum of money purchasing plane tickets in anticipation of the proposed holiday in the USA. As noted in previous postings on this blog, it is not generally prudent in visa application proceedings to assume a particular outcome as issuance of United States travel documents to foreign nationals is not considered a foregone conclusion nor a “formality”. The circumstances mentioned above are unfortunate as they were unexpected and costly (in both monetary and emotional terms). Those foreign nationals wishing to travel to the United States should not make irrevocable travel arrangements until such time as a US visa has been issued and remitted to the applicant.

That said, the one major factor that could materially alter the outcome of another visa application in a case such as this: a UK Passport. As noted in the section quoted above from the US Embassy the applicant did not show “strong ties” to the UK or another country abroad. If the child always lived in the UK, but never possessed a UK passport and, as noted in the above cited section; never lived in South Africa, but was attempting to use a South African passport to travel to the US, then could it be inferred that the child’s ties to either country were attenuated? Possibly, and without knowing further about details, that may very well have been the reason for denial. However, as all cases are adjudicated based upon the unique facts under the circumstances any analysis of the aforementioned denial is merely an exercise in speculation.

It is generally imprudent to continuously resubmit American visa applications when there has been no material change to the facts of one’s case. However, when circumstances do change materially, then a subsequent application may not be frivolous. In the eyes of the law in many jurisdictions a change in nationality, the acquisition of nationality, the registration of nationality, or the naturalization to a new nationality all come with a host of different legal rights, obligations, and privileges not least of these may be a passport. Perhaps, after acquiring a UK Passport on behalf of the child, if eligible for such a travel document, another visa application would be approved? Better yet, upon acquisition of a UK Passport, the child in the article may be eligible for the visa waiver program, although his previous US visa denial would need to be noted in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) registration system.

Hopefully those thinking of applying for a US Tourist Visa in the future will take note of the fact that one’s nationality is an important facet of any immigration petition or visa application.

For related information please see: US Visitor Visa.

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7th September 2009

Under Section 214b of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a Consular officer can deny a non-immigrant visa (J1, F1, B1, B2) if they believe that the foreign applicant has not overcome the statutory presumption that they are actually an intending immigrant. In some cases, a consular officer may grant a tourist visa application, but the foreign national will be refused entry upon arrival in the United States of America.

How can a foreign national be granted a visa and still be denied entry to the United States? There is a common misconception that visa application approval creates a “right” to enter the United States of America. In fact, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officers have the discretion to turn away alien nationals if they believe that there is a ground of excludability. If a CBP officer reasonably believes that an ostensible non-immigrant actually has immigrant intent, then they have the right to deny entry and it is further within the officer’s discretion to use expedited deportation to remove the prospective entrant.

The following paraphrases the INA:

According to section 212(a)(7)(A)(i) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), any immigrant who, at the time of application for admission:

is not in possession of a valid unexpired immigrant visa, reentry permit, border crossing identification card, or other valid entry document required by the Immigration and Nationality Act, and a valid unexpired passport, or other suitable travel document, or document of identity and nationality if such document is required under the INS regulations, or whose visa has been issued without compliance with the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act is excludable [from the United States].

A waiver is available under INA §212(k) where the Attorney General is satisfied that the exclusion was not known to, and could not have been ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence by, the immigrant before the time of departure of the vessel or aircraft from the last port outside the United States and outside foreign contiguous territory or, in the case of an immigrant coming from foreign contiguous territory, before the time of the immigrant’s application for admission.

The powers of CBP officers described above illustrate the reason for seeking a proper visa rather than attempting to circumvent the Immigration rules. For example, there are some Americans who have a Thai loved one and they wish to bring them to the USA for the purpose of marriage and adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence. Generally a K1 visa (also known as a fiancee visa) would be the proper travel document for this purpose. However, some opt to pursue a US Tourist visa because the K1 visa has a processing time of approximately 6-7 months whereas a tourist visa generally takes a few weeks to acquire if the application is approved. Even if the visa application is approved, denial at the port of entry poses the risk of expedited deportation as well as the underlying monetary loss due to the fruitless visa application as well as travel expenses to get to the port of entry and be turned away. Removal from the United States can later be used to bar admission particularly if an Immigration officer finds that the entrant was intentionally misrepresenting themselves. In a situation such as this, the only way to remedy the inadmissibility could be the use of an I601 waiver.

Entry denial does not automatically lead to expedited deportation, the CBP officer has the discretion to allow the prospective entrant to withdraw their request for entry and leave at their own expense, but improper usage of non-immigrant visas does include the inherent risk of removal and those seeking entry to United States of America should bear this in mind when researching US Immigration issues.

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