This edition of Ask the Consul addresses common questions applicants ask when refused tourist visas at the U.S. Embassy. When applicants appear for an interview for a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) to travel to the United States for temporary business or pleasure, they are evaluated on two factors: (1) whether they will use the visa as stated, and (2) whether they will return to Guyana after their temporary visit to the U.S. The latter condition requires that applicants demonstrate their “ties” to Guyana, or simply put, specify what will make them return to Guyana after visiting the United States.
Q: I was refused a visa for “not demonstrating strong ties outside the United States.” What does that mean?
A: 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 nonimmigrant status.”
Applicants must establish to the consular officer’s satisfaction that they intend to visit the United States temporarily, that their intended activities in the United States are lawful, and that they intend to return home after a short visit. One way to demonstrate this is for applicants to show they have possessions, jobs, and family relationships and other “pull” factors in Guyana that they will not abandon. This requirement is the same for NIV applicants all over the world.
Q: How can I demonstrate strong ties if I am young and single, or older and retired?
A: 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 opportunities to form many ties, or older applicants who may have fewer ties than when they were working, consular officers may look at applicants’ specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within their country of residence.
Q: My family member was given a tourist visa, but I was denied. How is that possible?
A: 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.
Q: I had a visa that expired. I went to the Consular Section to interview for a new visa and was refused. Why?
A: U.S. law requires that consular officers consider the applicant’s ties to Guyana at the time of the interview. If an applicant’s situation has changed, the applicant’s eligibility for a visa may also have changed. For example, applicants who recently lost their jobs may not have the same strong ties they used to have. In addition, persons with prior visas will be refused new visas if it appears their activities in the United States may have violated U.S. law.
Q: I’ve been refused a tourist visa under section 214(b). Can I appeal this refusal? How soon can I re-apply?
A: There is no appeals process or waiver for applicants who are refused visas under section 214(b) of the INA. However, these applicants may reapply for a visa at any time. They must complete a new DS-160 form and pay a new application fee. When these steps are completed, they must demonstrate, during the interview, further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. Ultimately, applicants should not expect that a change in their situation entitles them to a visa as there are many factors to consider.
“Ask the Consul” is a bi-weekly 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 AskGeorge@state.gov. We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News and on our website at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov/ask-the-consul.html . Information about visas and travel can be viewed at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov, http://travel.state.gov, and at http://www.dhs.gov. 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 Information Service on telephone number 225-8732 or 703-439-2359 if you have procedural questions or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for case specific information.