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US Visa rejection: Common reasons and how to avoid it
5 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

Imagine strolling through the bustling streets of New York City, experiencing the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, or marveling at the technological wonders in Silicon Valley. The United States combines diverse cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and endless opportunities for adventure and discovery. But you must get a US Visa before packing your bags and setting off on this exciting adventure.

We’ve prepared this guide to help you in this journey. Learn the common reasons for a US Visa rejection and how to avoid mistakes to ensure your trip doesn't hit an unexpected roadblock. Let’s get into the details.

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Qualifying for a US Visa

To qualify for a US Visa, applicants must fulfill all eligibility criteria under all applicable US laws for the visa category they are applying for. Key points include:

  • You must meet the requirements specified in US immigration laws for the specific visa category.

  • An immigration officer will conduct a visa interview to assess your application.

According to section 104(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, immigration officers are the only ones who have the final say on visa applications.

Common reasons for a United States visa rejection

When applying for a US Visa, particularly the US B1/B2 visa for tourism and business, you must keep in mind what can lead to a rejection. Let’s delve into some of these reasons and insights on how to avoid them.

  • Incomplete visa application or missing supporting documentation - INA section 221(g): Failing to provide a complete visa application or all the necessary documents is a common reason for a US Visa rejection. To avoid this, ensure your application is fully completed and accurate, and double-check that all required documents are included.

  • You aren’t eligible for the visa you applied for or don’t prove your intention to not immigrate to the United States - INA section 214(b): Applicants must demonstrate that they qualify for the visa category and do not intend to immigrate permanently. This involves showing solid ties to your home country and a clear purpose for your visit to the US.

  • You’re convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude - INA section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I): A conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude can lead to visa denial. This means you may have your visa application denied if you committed a crime or offensive act that can be defined as vile or insulting to one’s moral compass. You must disclose such convictions and provide relevant documentation during your application process.

  • You’re convicted of a drug violation - INA section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II): Drug violations are taken very seriously. Applicants with such convictions will likely face rejection unless specific waivers are available.

  • You have two or more criminal convictions for which the total sentence of confinement was five years or more - INA section 212(a)(2)(B): Multiple criminal convictions with significant sentences are a red flag in the visa application process. Be prepared to discuss these issues openly and provide necessary explanations or documentation.

  • You didn’t provide an adequate affidavit of support when one was required (denied under public charge) - INA section 212(a)(4): If an affidavit of support is required, failing to provide one that meets the necessary criteria can result in a visa denial. Ensure that your affidavit of support meets all the requirements.

  • Misrepresented a fact or committed fraud to attempt to receive a visa – INA section 212(a)(6)(C)(i): Honesty is crucial in your visa application. Misrepresentation or fraud can lead to visa denial and have long-term consequences for future visa applications.

  • Previously stayed longer than permitted in the United States - INA section 212(a)(9)(B)(i): Overstaying a previous visa can significantly impact your chances of getting a new one. You must adhere to the terms of your visa to avoid future complications.

Consequences of a US Visa rejection

A US Visa rejection can have several consequences:

  • Delay in travel plans: A visa denial can lead to significant delays in your travel plans, affecting work, education, or personal commitments.

  • Financial implications: The visa application fee is non-refundable, and a rejection means incurring additional costs for future applications.

  • Impact on future visa applications: A visa rejection can impact the outcome of future visa applications, as it becomes part of your visa history.

How to appeal a US Visa rejection

“Visa status: denied”. No one wants to receive this outcome, but it can happen. Sometimes, you can appeal the decision.

The appeal process for a US Visa rejection varies depending on the reason for denial:

  • INA Section 221(g): If denied due to incomplete application or lack of information, submit further documentation within one year of the refusal.

  • INA Section 214(b): There is no appeal process for this reason. However, if circumstances have significantly changed, you can reapply with a new application.

  • INA Section 212(a)(4): Overcoming a public charge denial involves demonstrating adequate financial support through personal funds, a job offer, or sponsorship from a US resident. Non-immigrants must present sufficient funds to support their stay in the United States.

  • INA Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) - This ineligibility is permanent, but you may apply for a visa waiver in some cases.

  • INA Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i) - Denial due to a previous overstay carries a 3-year or 10-year visa ineligibility period, depending on the duration of the unlawful stay.

Can I reapply if my US Visa was rejected?

After a visa rejection, you can reapply in the future. However, except for 221(g) refusals, this requires a new application and fee.

  • Improve your chances of getting a US Visa after rejection: If you’re applying for a business or tourist visa (B1/B2), you can choose our service and receive expert visa guidance throughout your application process.

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For other visa types, consult the nearest US embassy for detailed information about how to reapply.

Is it possible to know the reason for a US Visa rejection?

Yes. For most visa denials, applicants are informed verbally and in writing about the basis for the denial during their interview.

How do you avoid a US Visa rejection?

To avoid a US Visa rejection, consider the following tips:

  • Complete the application accurately: Ensure all sections are filled out correctly, and all required documents are included.

  • Provide proof of ties to your home country: Demonstrate strong ties to your home country to dispel any doubts about your intentions to immigrate.

  • Prepare for the interview: Be well-prepared for the visa interview with clear answers about your travel purpose and plans.

  • Follow visa rules and conditions: Adhere to the terms of your visa, including duration of stay and purpose of visit.

What is the US Visa rejection rate?

Use our tool to find your nationality's US Visa approval rate. Just answer the questions below:

Contact us for further information on the US B1/B2 Visa

For any questions or assistance with your US B1/B2 visa application, contact us via our online chat or email us at [email protected]. Our customer service team is dedicated to guiding you through a smooth and error-free application process, ensuring your travel plans are on track.

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