The Consulate Refuses the Visa

Depending upon the nation, when a foreign national wants to visit the United States, she or he may need to obtain a visa from an American embassy or consulate. The United States issues two types of visas: nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas. When reviewing a visa application, consular staff examine the application and apply criteria to the facts. After deciding that a foreign national qualifies for a visa, the diplomatic post grants the visa. A valid visa will authorize the applicant to travel to the U.S. and apply for admission at an immigration checkpoint. However, sometimes a consulate refuses to issue a visa.

Under certain circumstances, the consulate will refuse a visa to an applicant. When a consulate refuses a visa, this unfortunate act happens because the consular staff determine that the applicant does not qualify for a visa, or the applicant’s past includes an act making the person inadmissible or ineligible. Inadmissible means that U.S. law does not authorize a foreign national to enter the U.S. or receive an immigration benefit. American law includes multiple reasons and factors why a consulate may refuse a visa. For example, a consulate may conclude that a visa applicant is ineligible for American citizenship, someone who entered America illegally or who previously violated immigration law, or may become a public charge. Consular staff may refuse a visa application for additional reasons.

When a consulate refuses a visa, the officer generally must provide a written notice to the visa applicant. This written notice must express the officer’s determination and identify the regulation justifying the officer’s inadmissibility decision or reason for refusing the visa. Should a foreign national give up if a consulate refuses a visa application? Perhaps not. If a consulate finds a foreign national inadmissible, the visa applicant may be eligible for an inadmissibility waiver. Indeed, when a consulate refuses to grant a visa, the consulate must tell the applicant if American law authorizes a waiver from the inadmissibility reason used by the consulate for visa denial. Thus, a visa applicant may wish to consider pursuing the waiver.