Rights of Visa Applicants

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You have rights.  Yes, if you have been denied a visa, you have rights.

The Department of State’s Customer Statement lists only some of those rights, as follow:

We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:

  • We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
  • We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
  • We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
  • We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
  • We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
  • We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
  • We will provide information on nonimmigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on https://travel.state.gov.
  • We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
  • We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.

Those are your basic rights.  Beyond those basic rights, you also have specific legal rights.

Visa applicants are entitled to “every reasonable opportunity to establish eligibility to receive a visa.”  This applies to all visa applicants.

For those refused for making a material misrepresentation (Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), the consul must be “receptive” to new documentation and information.  The consul must review any new documentation and information that you present to challenge this life-changing and draconian decision to permanently bar you from the United States.

Every denied immigrant visa applicant is entitled to request reconsideration of a refused application. This means that if you have additional documentation or information that calls into question the decision to deny your immigrant visa, you have the right to submit it and have the consul review this new evidence.  For parents of a US citizen applying to immigrate but found to be inadmissible for making a material misrepresentation, there is no waiver available. Given their expressed immigrant intent, they also will most likely not qualify for a nonimmigrant waiver. Therefore, the stakes cannot be any higher in challenging the accuracy of this decision.

While the actual reason behind the decision to deny a B visitor or F-1 student visa under Section 214(b) may be difficult to receive from a consular officer, you have the right to learn the rationale behind a denial of an immigrant visa. By learning the rationale behind the denial, you will better understand the reason and be in a better position to challenge that decision.

If you were denied a visitor or student visa, you do have the right to re-apply for a visa – without time limitation (the next day, one month later, six months later, etc…).

Finally, visa decisions must be made in “good faith” and be “bona fide”. This means that the consul cannot deny a visa just to punish you; there must be a valid factual and legal rationale to do so.

By not asserting your rights, you are in essence agreeing or reconciling yourself with the decision.  No one has had a negative visa decision overturned or overcome by doing nothing.  If you would like assistance in asserting your rights, please contact us.