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What to Do if Your U.S. Tourist Visa is Denied

Learn what next steps to take and how to re-apply if your travel visa is denied

So you’ve applied for your U.S. tourist visa and prepared for your interview — what’s next? At the end of the process, It is always at the discretion of a consular officer to either approve or deny your travel visa based on the evidence provided in your application and during your interview. Unfortunately, tourist visa denials do happen for a variety of reasons and it can be stressful to figure out what to do next.

In this guide, we’ll cover what to do if your B1/B2 visa is denied and important steps to take before you reapply in the future.

Applying for a B-1/B-2 visa is never a guarantee, but Boundless can help you file the strongest application possible. Our software assesses your risk of travel visa denial based on your specific situation and our experienced team helps you avoid common mistakes. Get started today!

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Immigrant Intent Denials

In most cases when a travel visa is denied, the U.S. Embassy or consulate provides the applicant with the reason for their denial and what section of immigration law applies.

Many B visa denials are issued under INA Section 214(b), a law which applies to nonimmigrant visas and requires that applicants are able to prove strong ties to their home country and that they don’t intend to remain in the U.S. permanently if their visa is approved.

If your travel visa is denied, it is not possible to appeal the decision, but you can reapply in the future. If you choose to reapply, you will need to submit a new travel visa application (Form DS-160), pay the filing fee again, and attend another visa interview. If you were originally denied due to a lack of strong ties to your home country, you’ll need to present new evidence and prove to the U.S. Embassy or consulate that your circumstances have changed since your last application.

It can be difficult to overcome the assumption of immigrant intent and prove that you intend to use your B2 visa for temporary travel only, which is why Boundless put together a guide on how to prove strong ties to your home country and increase your chance of visa approval.

Missing Documentation

Another common reason for travel visa denial is missing documents or incomplete information on your application, as outlined in INA Section 221(g). This means that the consular officer was unable to determine if the applicant is eligible for a travel visa because the application is incomplete and pending further action. In this case, applicants are generally given a letter stating the application has been denied under 221(g) and informing the applicant of what is missing and how to provide it to the embassy or consulate.

If your travel visa is denied for incomplete or missing information, be sure to provide the missing evidence (either documents or additional information) as soon as possible. According to State Department guidelines, you have one year from the date your visa was denied to submit the missing information. Once you provide the missing information, the U.S. Embassy or consulate can revisit your tourist visa application to determine whether you qualify for a B1 or B2 visa.

If you’re unable to provide the missing documents or required information within one year, you will need to reapply for the tourist visa (file a new DS-160 and pay another application fee). Whether you’ve already received a 221(g) denial or you’re just starting the U.S. tourist visa process, be sure to read up on the travel visa document requirements so you can provide a complete, accurate application to the U.S. government.

Understanding Administrative Processing

Another aspect of the visitor visa decision process to be aware of is “administrative processing.” Administrative processing occurs when a consular officer determines that additional information from sources other than the applicant themselves is needed before the B visa can be approved.

If your travel visa case is placed in administrative processing, you’ll be given a letter from the embassy or consulate stating this and what to expect after the administrative processing is complete. This step takes additional time after your visa interview, and processing times will vary case by case. If you have questions about administrative processing, what this means for your travel visa case, and how soon you can expect a decision, it’s best to reach out to the embassy or consulate directly.

Understanding Waivers of Ineligibility

Let’s say you’re found “ineligible” for a tourist visa. What do you do next?

In most cases, if a consular officer determines that you are ineligible for a B1/B2 visa, they will inform you whether or not you can apply for a waiver of inadmissibility.

An ineligibility waiver may help you successfully apply for a travel visa in the future, however there is no guarantee that your waiver will be approved. It is always at the discretion of the U.S. government to issue a waiver, and it is at the discretion of the consular officer who found you ineligible to recommend that you receive one. You can learn more about the waiver of inadmissibility process and how to apply in Boundless’ guide.

How Soon Can I Reapply?

There’s no set rule or specific timeline for when you can reapply for a U.S. tourist visa after being denied, but there are some things to keep in mind.

If you were denied due to ineligibility, it’s important to understand the waiver process mentioned above before trying to apply again. You’ll need to first qualify for and receive a waiver before you can seek out a tourist visa for the second time.

If you were denied due to a lack of strong ties to home, you’ll need to gather stronger evidence and prove to the U.S. government that your circumstances have changed before applying again. It is likely that you’ll be denied if you apply again soon after, with no additional proof of strong ties to your home country or new ways to show you will use the tourist visa for its intended purpose. Likewise, if your denial was based on a lack of sufficient finances, it is generally best to wait until your financial situation improves and you’re able to fund your trip to the U.S. before reapplying.

Travel visa denials can be stressful, and in many cases, it may be possible to avoid them in the first place with some additional preparation and awareness. Read Boundless’ list of the most common reasons for tourist visa denials, so you can avoid mistakes and apply with confidence.