There is unfortunately no guarantee that your visa application to come to the United States will be approved.
Consular officials often provide foreign nationals with reasons for visa denial. If a reason is provided, only the applicant will be able to see this information. Some of these disqualifiers are easily resolvable, while others may permanently bar you from being allowed to enter the U.S.
If you were denied a visa, you may be able to fix the issue and re-apply, though you will not receive a refund for your first application and may have to pay the processing fee for the second application as well.
Below are some of the main reasons consular officials deny visa applications.
1. The application was incomplete
Depending on the visa you are seeking, there may be a laundry list of documentation you must provide alongside your application.
You must provide your passport, a recent photograph, a completed application form and payment for processing fees. Additionally, you may be required to submit documentation such as:
- A letter from your employer that proves your job position and salary
- Documents proving property ownership or investments in the U.S.
- Bank letters demonstrating your financial situation
- Diplomas and certifications that may be required for employment-related visas
For situations where you are simply missing documentation, you may have one year to supply the documents and have your application re-considered. If you take longer than a year, you must re-apply.
2. You did not demonstrate financial stability
For your visa application to be approved, you need to show that you have the financial means to live independently in the United States.
Employment-sponsored visas show consular officials that you have a job and salary lined up for when you arrive. If you are not sponsored by an employer, you will have to either prove that you have sufficient personal funds available or file an Affidavit of Support showing that you have a family member or another individual financially sponsoring your stay.
If a consular official believes you will become a public charge (someone reliant on the government for financial support), they will typically deny your application.
3. You did not qualify for the visa you applied for
The U.S. offers a variety of visas depending on your reason for applying. Each visa has their own unique requirements that you must meet in order to be approved.
For example, O-1 visas are reserved for those with “extraordinary ability or achievement” in science, art, education, business, athletics and entertainment. If you fail to provide evidence of this ability or recognition of your achievement, you will likely be denied this kind of visa.
An attorney can help you identify the required documentation for a specific type of visa, or can help you determine the most suitable visa for your needs.
4. You’ve been staying in the U.S. unlawfully
It may be tempting to move to the United States before your visa application is approved. But if you are found to have been residing in the country unlawfully, you will likely be denied a visa and may be barred from applying for an extended period of time.
This occurs when consular officials see you either stayed in the United States without prior authorization, or you overstayed a previous visa without receiving authorization for an extension.
If you stayed in the U.S. unlawfully for anywhere between 180 days and a year, you will be barred from applying for a visa for 3 years following your departure. If you were staying unlawfully for over a year, you have to wait 10 years after you leave to re-apply.
5. You misrepresented fact on your application
If officials find that you are lying on your application in order to obtain your visa, your application will be denied. Not only that, but you may receive permanent visa ineligibility for misrepresenting facts or committing fraud on your application – meaning you could be denied every time you re-apply.
Get your application right the first time
When applying for a visa of any kind, always remember to be thorough, prepared and honest in your application. Never take a chance by lying on your application or altering documentation. With patience and proper legal guidance, you can minimize the potential for a denied visa application and enjoy legal residence in the United States.