Overcoming Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

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On average, more than a million visa applicants are rejected every year under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Nonimmigrant visa applicants, excluding H-1B and L-1 visa holders, bear the responsibility of demonstrating their non-immigrant intent. Under 214(b), applicants must not only qualify for the visa but also agree to adhere to its terms upon entering the US. For B visa applicants, proof of a foreign residence and temporary visit intentions for business or pleasure is necessary. F visa applicants additionally need to demonstrate both qualifications for studies and the intent to return home after completion. Employment visa seekers must exhibit qualifications relevant to their visa type. Notably, there’s no time restriction on invoking 214(b); for instance, prolonged previous stays in the US leading to suspected employment violations more than 10 years ago can prompt its application.

Consular officers commonly resort to visa revocation. This affects thousands annually due to “new information that came to light after visa issuance” that raises doubts about the applicant’s qualification for the visa, potentially invoking 214(b) or other ineligibility clauses.  Consular staff regularly conduct B visa validation studies on applicants who received visas: they check to see whether the visa was used, and if so, whether the person returned in a timely fashion.

Rejected nonimmigrant visa applicants receive standard letters citing reasons such as insufficient ties to their home countries or failure to meet the requirements of the visa category, although the actual grounds for denial vary significantly. Often, the actual reason might not be legitimate or valid. Some common reasons might be limited ties to home country, interview problems, inaccurate consular understanding of facts or law, among others. 

214(b) can be among the hardest refusals to overcome because of the broad consular discretion. An analysis of the underlying reason for the denial is imperative.  For example, an individual came to us after his ESTA had been revoked and visa denied under Section 214(b).  We did a deep-dive into his situation. We learned that having spent substantial time in the US and being young, unmarried, and lacking permanent employment in his home country, CBP revoked his ESTA and refused his entry under Section 212(a)(7)(A)(i). This incident left a black mark on his record, triggering a subsequent visa denial under Section 214(b). He then settled in a third country, had a serious American girlfriend, set up a small business, and established himself. He wanted to travel to the US to visit his girlfriend’s family. Initially, we examined his CBP Record of Sworn Statement (I-877) and collaborated with him to devise a strategy: when would be the best time to apply; how could he strengthen his ties; how can he present his case after the incident with CBP? We assisted him in completing his DS-160 form and prepared him for the interview. After a brief interview, he was granted the B-2 visa.

As can be seen, every denial is different depending on one’s circumstances. To see how we have helped individuals avoid 214(b) refusals or overcome 214(b) denials, please visit the Case Studies section. Please contact us to discuss your situation.