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What if my B1/B2 visa gets denied?

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What if my B2 visit visa gets denied? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law here in St. Louis, Missouri, and throughout the United States. We have a lot of web visitors ask us about, "What can I do if my mom or dad's or some other relative or friend's B2 visit visa is denied?"

The B1/B2 visit visa is a very frustrating process. We actually, in our office, don't handle very many visit visas. The reason for that is that there is just no way to predict with certainty which visas get approved and which visas get denied. The reason for this is because the State Department has a tremendous amount of discretion in deciding who gets to come and who does not get to come. In fact, that discretion is pretty much not even subject to review.

If you have someone who is overseas that applies for a visit visa and they get denied, you're not going to have a chance to appeal it to some higher authority. You're not going to have the chance to talk to a supervisor. It's a very quick process, and it's pretty much up to the decision of the consular officer. We have talked in other videos about ways that you can improve your chances of getting a visit visa, but what happens when the visit visa gets denied?

The first thing you need to think about is, why was it denied? Many times visit visas are denied because the foreign national does not have sufficient ties to the home country to show that they intend to return. The State Department is concerned about people coming to the United States and never leaving. When you get a B2 visit visa, or a B1 for that matter, you get six months on most of those visas to stay in the United States. The State Department wants to be very sure that at the end of those six months, you have a reason to come back to your home country. So how can we show this?

One way we can show it is by demonstrating a job, family connections, money in your bank account, these kinds of things, to demonstrate that you are sufficiently tied to your home country. That's one of the reasons why it gets denied. So if it has been denied for that reason, I think you're going to have a hard time re-establishing that or convincing them otherwise. When you're denied, you have to reapply. One of the things we tell people, even though we usually don't get involved with visit visas, is you have to let the dust settle. You have to wait and give the State Department time to process the case and to not just jump right back in and file a whole new application, because when you do that it makes it look worse, not better.

We always tell people that you should take some time in between applications. If your B2 or B1 visit visas have been denied we would suggest waiting at least six months, and preferably a year, before you reapply. Constantly reapplying does you no good. It just digs you a bigger hole. We have people that visit us on the website that say, "Jim, I have applied three times for a visit visa and I've never gotten it." I say, "What is the time frame of those three denials?" They say, "I applied once a month, over and over." People really do themselves a disservice when they do that. They think they are going to convince the officer of the proof that they really are intending to come back home. That's just a bad idea. You're just annoying the State Department. You're annoying the consular officials.

The other thing you can do if your case has been denied is to think long and hard about why it was denied. You can put together more evidence to show why you intend to come back. If you have a job, you can show that your job requires your presence. If you're traveling for work, you can show them that you have a short itinerary and that you have every intention of coming back. You can't just be reactionary and clicking on applications and paying filing fees and thinking, "Oh my gosh. This time it's going to be different."

In the case of family members, if the person that is applying for the visit visa has the opportunity to a just status within the United States based on their familial relationship with a U.S. citizen, I think you're going to have a really hard time getting a visit visa. My advice to you is to stop clicking on the application and applying over and over and over. What do I mean by that? The State Department has procedures for people that want to sponsor their mom or their dad to come to the United States on a permanent basis.

What they are concerned with is that your mom or dad, if you apply for them for a visit visa, are just going to try to get a green card once they get here. It's sort of an end run around the process by which people sponsor their mom or dads for a visa. Even if your parent is not intending to do that, that's the view that they look at this through. They think that everybody wants to come to the United States. So it's important to keep in mind that just because you have good intentions, just because you have no plans to have your mom or dad stay and get their green card, if you are a U.S. citizen it's going to be really hard to show that that is not the case.

Visit visas are tricky. We don't really get involved with them very often. We're trying to send out these videos to show that you really need to be careful in applying for it. You don't want to just be obnoxious and reapply, reapply, reapply. You want to think through why it was denied. You want to let some time settle and then, if at the end of the day you think you have a strong position, then file again. But make sure that you have addressed the issues raised in the original denial to the extent that you know them. We're sorry it's so frustrating. We're sorry that you can't get more certainty in the process. It does cost money to apply, and we know that's frustrating.

If you have any other questions about any part of the immigration process, give us a call: 314-961-8200. Or you can email us: [email protected]. Thanks.

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