Ask the Consul

Installment One Hundred and Ten

I Didn’t Qualify for the Tourist Visa, What Now?

This edition of Ask the Consul addresses common questions applicants ask when refused a Tourist Visa at the U.S. Embassy.

I was refused a visa for “not demonstrating strong ties outside the United States.” What does that mean?

According to section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), “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 non-immigrant status.”

In order to qualify for a Non-Immigrant Visa, applicants must demonstrate that they have strong ties abroad that will compel them to leave the U.S. at the end of a temporary stay. “Ties” are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, your employment, and your social and family relationships. Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, and individual to individual.

How can I demonstrate strong ties if I’m young and single, or older and retired?

During the visa interview, Consular Officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural, and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, or older applicants who may have fewer ties than when they were working, consular officers may look at the applicant’s specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence.

My family member was given a Tourist Visa, but I was denied. How is that possible?

Visa applicants must qualify according to their own circumstances, not on the basis of anyone else’s circumstances. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

I’ve been refused a Tourist Visa under section 214(b). How soon can I re-apply?

Applicants refused visas under section 214(b) may reapply for a visa at any time, but must complete a new form DS-160 and pay a new application fee. When they do, they will have to show further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. Applicants should not expect that a change in their situation entitles them to a visa, since there are many factors to consider.
“Ask the Consul” is a fortnightly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. If you have a general question about visa policy please email it to us at We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News and on our website at . Information about visas and travel can be viewed at,, and at Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information.

Other than the questions we select, we DO NOT respond to questions sent to Ask the Consul. Please contact the visa inquiries unit (email visageorge@state. gov or call 225-7965 between 8 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday) if you have questions about a specific case.

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Immigrant Visa applicants must register online in order to pick up their Visa and packets at DHL

The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce an initiative that will allow applicants more flexibility in picking up their visas and immigration packets. 

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Important Tax Filing Information for U.S. Taxpayers Abroad

Who Must File Income Taxes?If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns, and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States.

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Latin America’s time bomb: the ‘ninis’

There was a lot of despair in Latin America about a new International Monetary Fund forecast showing that the region’s economy will shrink by 0.3 per cent in 2016, but that’s something that could be reversed relatively soon.

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Ask the Consul…Interview Waiver and Personal Appearance Waivers for children under 14 years old

The United States Embassy is pleased to announce two initiatives to make renewing and applying for a visa easier and more efficient for children under 14.

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Ask the Consul…What to bring and how to prepare for a Non-Immigrant Visa Interview

On the day of your interview, please arrive at the Embassy at the time indicated on your printed appointment confirmation page.

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Ask the Consul Installment 155

This Ask the Consul article addresses photo requirements for non-immigrant visa (NIV) applications. In short, every NIV applicant must provide a front-facing, full-face photograph along with their visa application.


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