INA 214(b): You’ve Been Denied a US Visa!? What now?

US Visa Denial

Start in the right direction.

Which way is the best way?

We get a lot of calls from people who have been recently denied a visa at a US embassy or consulate. This can be a very traumatic experience and I hope this post will help explain what happened so you can proceed in the right direction.

The most common reason a US visa denial is issued is because a person cannot demonstrate that they have enough ties to their home country. The legal basis for this is Section 214(b) of the Immigration & 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 a visa, and the immigration officers, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status…

Ok, so what does this mean in plain English? Well, it means if the Consular Officer thinks you want to stay permanently in the US or you don’t qualify for the visa you are applying or it’s appears you are applying for the wrong type of visa.

Sometimes a visa applicant’s profile may be the reason for the US visa denial. While each case is decided on its own merits we find based on the calls we receive at our office that there are common characteristics to those who are refused a visa on the basis of INA 214(b) such as:

  • a non-British student studying in the UK on a British student visa;
  • a non-British worker who has is living in the UK on a British work visa who has only recently moved to the UK;
  • a British national of working age with no employment or works on a freelance basis;
  • a British national who wishes to invest in a US business; and
  • a British student who wishes to travel in the US for more than three months or to get to know their US citizenship boyfriend or girlfriend better.

These kinds of applicants are at risk of being denied because they haven’t established themselves well enough in the UK yet or it may appear that they are in fact applying for the wrong visa category.

Can I appeal? No, but time may heal all.

A non-US citizen does not have a right to appeal the denial of a US visa. The only remedy is to reapply. In general, if a person reapplies for a visa within six months or a year of a US visa denial, it is unlikely that the he or she will be able to show that anything has changed in their circumstances to make a Consular Officer approve the visitor visa.

With time you may become more established in the country where you live or your circumstances may change so that you may qualify for another type of visa.

The Consular Officer didn’t look at any of my documents!

While as an attorney I’m unable to accompany applicants when they apply for visas at the US Embassy in London I often hear reports that the applicant was not asked for or able to provide documents demonstrating their ties to their home country. The reason for this is that the Consular Officer makes his or her final decision primarily on the information submitted on the DS-160 visa application form and the verbal interview with the visa applicant. If the Consular Officer believes the applicant does not have enough ties in his or her home country, may have a US citizen boyfriend or girlfriend in the US, wants to work in the US no amount of documents will change the Consular Officers mind.

How can the US Visa Solutions help?

Most of the time I need to be brutally honest and tell you to not reapply at this time and just wait until enough time has passed (ie more than six months) to show that you have enough ties to your home country. I will also assess your case to see if the case was wrongly denied but this is very rare and often impossible because the decision was based on the discretion of the Consular Officer.

If after we have an initial chat I discover there may be something in your situation that would qualify your for another type of visa, then we can meet for a consultation to discuss alternative visa options that may be more appropriate for what you want to do in the US.

Please note this blog is for information purposes only. If you need advice relating to your specific circumstances, please call to book a consultation at 020 7092 6830.