Your Visa was Denied: Now What?

You worked hard over the last few months to have your visa application prepared, reviewed and submitted. You walked into the interview confident, organized and equipped with all the right answers, but after a torturous 30 minute interview you’ve been given a 221(g) notice or were outright denied your visa. Now what?

The first thing you need to do is sit down and take a deep breath. Stressing over something that has already come to pass will not help you get your visa any quicker. The important thing to realize is that getting a 221(g) hold or a denial is not the end of the world. Visa applicants make many of the same mistakes during the application process without even knowing it. One of the most common mistakes that applicants make is submitting incomplete documentation, which, could result in a 221(g) hold on your applications until the proper documents are provided for.

Visa applicants who are denied their visa the first time around shouldn’t despair. There are ways to remedy the situation. In order to assess where you may have gone wrong you need to ask yourself:  Was I really prepared for this interview? Did I submit all necessary documents and supporting documents? Did I give my interviewer the wrong impression? Did I have a mock interview with an attorney of good repute and in-depth knowledge of the visa interview process? If the answer to any of these questions are no, then you need to contact the law offices of Keshab Raj Seadie at 212.571.6002 for a consultation today.

With few exceptions, every visa applicant is interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After all available information is reviewed, the application is approved or denied based on U.S. immigration law.

There are many reasons why a visa application may be denied. In some instances, the application is denied because necessary information or supporting documents were not submitted by the applicant. In other instances, the application is denied for more serious reasons. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.

If denied a visa, the applicant is given a reason based on the section of law which applies. Visa applicants are also advised by the consular officer if they may apply for a waiver of their ineligibility.

If your non-immigrant visa such as H-1B, L-1B, L-1A, B-2 (visitor visa), B-1 (Business Visa) have been denied by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, You must retain the services of highly qualified and experienced immigration law firm like Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C. which has  successfully processed tens of thousands of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. 

 

Several of the most common reasons for visa ineligibilities are explained below. For more information, review the complete list of visa ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and amended laws.

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

(1) Health-related grounds. -

(2) Criminal and related grounds. -

(3) Security and related grounds. -

(4) Public charge.-

(5) Labor certification and qualifications for certain immigrants.-

(6) Illegal entrants and immigration violators. -

(7) Documentation requirements .-

(8) Ineligible for citizenship .

(9) ALIENS PREVIOUSLY REMOVED. -

(10) MISCELLANEOUS.

(11) Lack of actual specialty occupation or specialized knowledge/managerial position in the United States for H-1B or L-1 workers

(12) Suspect degree or past experience of H-1B or L-1B workers

(13) Negative information originating from the USCIS or DOL Site visits

(14) Past unauthorized stay in the U.S. by virtue of benching or illegal work.

Visa refusal under section 214(b), 221(g) and administrative processing are difficult to overcome as the consular officer has determined that there's insufficient evidence in the case to warrant issuance of a visa. The visa applicant has to provide evidence of strong ties to a residence abroad, or the bona fide of the relationship to the US citizen in fiance visa K1 cases, and overcome any suggestion of a sham marriage or finding of fraud.

Visas to the US are routinely denied for a variety of reasons. The US consular officer reviews the documents, investigate the individual's background, and conduct a personal interview to evaluate whether the individual is eligible.

When an immigrant visa case is not approved the applicant is issued a 221(g) or "blue sheet" indicating the evidence submitted was insufficient. When a non-immigrant visa is not approved, it's basically due to the requirements of section 214b, wherein the applicant did not have evidence of strong ties to a residence abroad to compel the applicant to return home after a short, temporary visit. Administrative processing is sometimes equivalent to a 221(g) refusal as the consular officer was unable to approve the case based on the evidence submitted, or a discrepancy was discovered requiring additional time to investigate. Administrative processing cases may languish in visa purgatory for a long time.

214(b)
Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Most visa applicants apply for a tourist visa or a student visa in this category. To qualify for a visitor or student visa, a prospective visitor or student applicant must meaningful evidence of funding, valid purpose of the trip, and strong ties in a residence abroad to compel the applicant to return to after the visit.

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. Evidence of "strong ties" may be illustrated by consistent and steady history of employment, sufficient collateral or property ownership to cover travel expenses, and a succinct and sincere reason for the visit. These are compelling factors the consular officer consider when evaluating an applicant's eligibility for the visa. The brief interview with the applicant is also valuable in the consular officer's decision to approve or deny the visa.

221(g)
U.S. consulates abroad have been known to deny visas based upon INA Section 221(g) even after the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved a petition for the visa application.

In a 221(g) case, the consular officers determine that the requirements for a petition-based visa are not met by an applicant. They can refuse to issue the visa under Section 221(g). When they do so, they also request that the USCIS revoke the petition that was approved earlier.

Even though the USCIS has the primary authority to determine whether or not a person meets the requirements for a particular, petition-based visa classification, the consulate may reach a different conclusion and request that the USCIS reconsider its original approval of a petition. What can happen is that new, negative information can come to light at the time of the interview and the interviewing consular officer may conclude that the visa applicant either does not appear to meet the requirements of a fiancé/e. Essentially the fiance(e) did not convince the consular officer that the relationship is bona fide and possibly a sham marriage entered into to circumvent US Immigration law. Cases issued 221(g) are equivalent to a denial, however, some languish in visa purgatory similar to administrative processing.

Administrative Processing
In cases pending in Administrative Processing (AP) the consular officer may need more time to review the case before determining whether the applicant is eligible for the visa. In immigrant visa cases such as the fiance(e) visa, the consular officer may conclude at the interview that there's not enough convincing evidence to deny the case nor approve it, there may be some red flag issue, or a discrepancy in the case to warrant a secondary review. Cases in AP may take months to conclude, however, in this writer's experience, providing additional compelling evidence of the bona fides of the applicant's relationship to the American petition may assist the consular officer in making a definitive decision in the case.

AP is a state of flux that leaves applicants frustrated and confused as there's no definitive guidelines as to what the immigration issues are and whether the applicants can do anything to compel the consular officer to issue the visa. It is within the discretion of the consular officer to hold the case and investigate it further, thereby leaving the applicant with neither an approval nor denial.

Whether the case is issued a 214(b), 221(g) or placed in administrative processing, a competent immigration attorney should be able to review the case and provide the best course of action based on the applicant's unique sets of facts. Consular processing attorneys are in a highly advantageous position to assist since they are able to inquire directly with the consulate and embassy where the applicant's case was denied.

With few exceptions, every visa applicant is interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After all available information is reviewed, the application is approved or denied based on U.S. immigration law.

There are many reasons why a visa application may be denied. In some instances, the application is denied because necessary information or supporting documents were not submitted by the applicant. In other instances, the application is denied for more serious reasons. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.

If denied a visa, the applicant is given a reason based on the section of law which applies. Visa applicants are also advised by the consular officer if they may apply for a waiver of their ineligibility. Several of the most common reasons for visa ineligibilities are explained below. For more information, review the complete list of visa ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and amended laws.

 

Faqs

What is section 221(g)?

Section 221(g), of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a temporary hold or refusal on a visa

application. In order to receive a visa and enter the United States, an immigrant must attend a visa

interview. If a visa application needs further work or review, the application will be suspended under

section 221(g). When this happens, the visa petition has been approved by the US Citizenship and

Immigration Services (USCIS), but the consulate is not convinced that the immigrant is qualified to

receive a visa on the day of the interview.

Is my visa petition rejected?

No. By placing a visa application on hold through section 221(g) the consulate takes the time to obtain

and review additional documents and information to make sure that everything is valid before a visa is

issued to the immigrant. Section 221(g) enables the consulate to suspend the petition instead of rejecting

it.

How do I know that my petition is suspended?

When an immigrant’s visa petition is suspended, they will be handed a colored slip at the end of the

interview process. The paper explains that the application is on hold under section 221(g). There is no set

timeline for how long it will take for the consulate to reach a decision. It can take weeks, months, or more

than a year.

The standard message on a suspension slip is:

“Your application for a nonimmigrant visa has not been refused. At present, your application must be suspended

under section 221g of the immigration and nationality Act, as amended (INA), for further review at the Department

of State or by another agency. Embassy xxxxxx will resume action on your application after we are informed that

this review is completed. Please be advised, however, we do not control the pace or scope of this review. When the

process is complete, we will contact you with further instructions or to advise you that your visa is ready for pick-
up.”

Why does the consulate question my visa petition?

The number of visa petitions placed under section 221(g) increases every year. The main reason is a

sense of national distrust towards immigrants. The idea that immigrants are “taking all of our jobs” has

tightened the immigration process. Although there is no specific policy against immigrant employment, the

Department of Security has made the process of employing immigrants harder. The establishment of the

Department of Homeland Security also increased the caution exercised by the government when granting

visa petitions. Section 221(g) is seen and used as an additional security procedure.

What does section 221(g) say?

Section 221(g) of the INA can be found on the U.S. Department of State website. The exact wording of

section 221(g) is as follows:

(g) No visa or other documentation shall be issued to an alien if (1) it appears to the consular officer, from

statements in the application, or in the papers submitted therewith, that such alien is ineligible to receive a

visa or such other documentation under section 212, or any other provision of law, (2) the application fails

to comply with the provisions of this Act, or the regulations issued thereunder, or (3) the consular officer

knows or has reason to believe that such alien is ineligible to receive a visa or such other documentation

under section 212, or any other provision of law: Provided, That a visa or other documentation may be

issued to an alien who is within the purview of section 212(a)(4), if such alien is otherwise entitled to

receive a visa or other documentation, upon receipt of notice by the consular officer from the Attorney

General of the giving of a bond or undertaking providing indemnity as in the case of aliens admitted under

section 213: Provided further, That a visa may be issued to an alien defined in section 101(a)(15)(B) or

(F), if such alien is otherwise entitled to receive a visa, upon receipt of a notice by the consular officer

from the Attorney General of the giving of a bond with sufficient surety in such sum and containing such

conditions as the consular officer shall prescribe, to insure that at the

 

221(g) Document Requirements

These basic documents are required at all visa application interviews:

  1. DS 160 barcode print out– on this form is will ask if you have been denied a visa before. If you have had a visa suspended previously under section 221(g), you must check “yes” that you have had a visa denied (a suspension is considered a denial).
  2. Appointment confirmation email print out
  3. I-797 – Notice of Action
  4. LCA – Labor Condition Application and Letter
  5. I-129 – Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker
  6. Passport– your passport validity mustbe more than one year. It is not recommended to appear at a visa application interview with only a few months left on your passport. If an individual is seeking temporary employment and the passport expires before the end of the employment period, the visa will only be good until the date that the passport expires.
  7. EVC/EV Model employee documents specifically Client Letter
  8. Supporting documents filed with USCIS at the time of the application.
  9. Resume
  10. Employer documents (employee lists, tax filings, company listings, etc.)
  11. Employer Annual Report
  12. Pay stubs
  13. Offer letter
  14. Job description (nature of work, technical details)
  15. Manager details
  16. Department and site information
  17. Information on projects
  18. Previous employment letters to verify prior work
  19. Timesheets
  20. W2s
  21. Tax Returns
  22. I-20s
  23. Educational documents
  24. Client letter
  25. Vendor letter
  26. Employer offer letter
  27. Contract information between client and vendor
  28. Employment contract
  29. Letter to USCIS at the time of initial submission
  30. LCA filing documentation

Additional Required Documents

There are a series of other documents that must also be presented at the visa application interview:

Documents Required for Contractors

Additional supporting documentation is required for immigrants who will be performing contract work. Contractors work for a different company than there employer. The required documents could include:

Also email us your Resume at visainfo@greencardmaker.com and mention the name you used for this application for thorough evaluation.

Send Email