Integrity Legal

6th September 2009

Being denied for a visa to the United States of America is certainly not something that people researching the immigration process wish to think about. However, visa denials do occur and by understanding the reasons for denial it may allow prospective immigrants to make more informed decisions regarding their immigration strategy.

When it comes to American Family Immigration a common miscalculation involves applying for a US Tourist Visa on behalf of a foreign loved one. For example, if an American Citizen has a Thai fiancee and he attempts to assist in obtaining a US Tourist Visa for her, it will very likely result in a denial of the visa application. This is not due to some sort of malevolent feeling on the part of the United States Consular Officers, but it is rooted in American Immigration law.

It is probably best to simple quote the US Department of State website:

“Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:

‘Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status…’

To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the U.S. at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.”

Overcoming the presumption of immigrant intent has always been a somewhat major obstacle, but visa denials under this section of the law became more prevalent after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. After 9/11, there were some changes made in the way that non-immigrant visas were processed. A particularly critical change was the requirement that the applicant for a United States tourist visa be interviewed in person. This requirement, combined with increased scrutiny and heightened security concerns lead to more Tourist visa denials. In many cases, the denials were based upon section 214 (b) because the applicants failed to show that they were going to return to their home country, or, at the very least, leave the USA.

Where the foreign applicant is a loved one of a US Citizen, particularly where the Citizen primarily resides in the USA, it is unlikely that the tourist visa application will be approved unless that applicant can show sufficiently “strong ties,” to their home country. However, to forestall needlessly wasting of time and resources, it may be wise for a couple to look into the prospect of submitting a K1 visa application or seek to obtain a K3 visa. The K1 visa is a travel document which allows a temporary stay in the United States, but leaves room under the Doctrine of Dual Intent to allow for the visa holder to adjust status to US permanent residence.


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