Why Was My U.S. Visa Denied?

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™

Why Was My U.S. Visa Denied?

Why Was My U.S. Visa Denied?

Consular officers aren't required to properly explain why you are refused, and they aren't even required to tell you what you can do about it. The truth is that they are pretty much the only ones with the authority to shut you down unless you are able to get a review. Their decision to approve or deny you is subjective to their personal judgment call, and it is not based on any particular scientific method. On top of this, the Supreme Court has determined that decisions by consular officers are exempt from judicial review, with very rare and few exceptions. The only option is for a supervisor to review the visa refusal, and it may be possible to submit additional info.

Since each application is looked at on a purely individual basis, not all guidelines can be generally applied to all applicants. This is why seeking legal assistance with the visa process can be extremely helpful, but unfortunately, it is often overlooked, despite how vital it is to the immigration process. Why?

  • You can't appeal a refusal.  
  • Lawyers can't be present at your consular interview,

Still, an immigration lawyer may prove to be a lifesaver, particularly if they are well-versed in consular processing, and it can save applicants from some major potential issues down the road.  

How to Learn Why You Were Rejected

The law limits the applicant's ability to learn why they were rejected, and there may be restrictions on this information depending what the rejection was for. However, there may be some things you can do. To understand why you were rejected, it can be very beneficial to have a qualified attorney to help you with this because they have dedicated a significant amount of time to learn the ins and outs of this process. Also, they can help you to understand what you can do now, despite your visa denial.

Possible Reasons for Visa Rejection

There are rules that prohibit a person from approved entry into the U.S. It is worth noting that the consular officer is instructed to presume all visa applications are for straight-up immigration, rather than for a temporary visit (which requires a nonimmigrant visa).  

For any visa application, it could be:

  • Criminal history
  • Medical history, medical status
  • Security issues

For Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV), it could be:

  • Failure to prove an unabandoned foreign residence or intention to return home (this is known as "nonimmigrant intent"). You don't have to tell the consular official that you intend to go back to the place that you lived prior to your intended trip, but you must prove that you do intend to go somewhere else that is not within the U.S.. In other words, as the song by Semisonic goes, "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."
  • Inability to provide proof that the trip is intended to be temporary (required for many types of nonimmigrant visas)
  • Inability to show consistency between the purpose of the trip and the length of the visit. The officer will need to be satisfied with a predictable timeline.

BE WARNED: If the applicant doesn't disclose the true purpose of the trip and if this is found out, this is legal grounds for deportation and it may permanently prohibit someone from ever returning to the U.S.

What You Can Do if You are Rejected

Know that any request for reviews should be made immediately—as in, the same day you learn of your rejection. In fact, it is in your best interest to communicate if you would like to submit any other evidence at this time.


You will not have to reapply, but you will need to make an official Motion to Reconsider with the help of a professional attorney. Depending on why you were rejected, the lawyer may be able to help you to find exceptions and apply for waivers. If you aren't eligible for a waiver, it is possible that it is because you simply need to show a change in circumstances that will better satisfy requirements.  


Your only option is to start over completely with a new application unless you were refused under a 221(g), then your application. Under a 221(g), the application and fee may still be good, but you will need to provide specified information within a year. If the U.S. Government is at fault in this instance and causing a delay in the process, then the time limit is indefinite. Again, legal support is strongly recommended.

How to Make Your Visa Application Appealing to Consular Officials

Attaining a visa can be a complicated process, but if you haven't applied for a visa yet, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by having an attorney help you out from the beginning. There are some particular things that you can do to encourage the consular official to approve your visa, and a lawyer can ensure that you take advantage of the best options available for you and your circumstances. Furthermore, a lawyer will be able to help you to quickly respond to whatever requirement the American Consulate may have, and they may be able to work on your behalf to communicate in the re-interviewing or re-adjudication process. With their help, you can determine the best strategy for your particular situation as well as get adequate preparation for the visa interview. Click here to find an immigration lawyer near you.


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