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What To Do If Your US Tourist Visa Is Denied

June 01, 2023

If you plan to visit the United States for tourism, you will likely need to apply for a US tourist visa, commonly known as a B-2 visa. 

The process of obtaining a B-2 visa involves various stages, including completing an online application, scheduling a consular interview, and gathering the necessary documentation.

This blog will examine the steps you can take if your visa application is denied and the reasons why the denial may have occurred. 

We will also look closely at what a tourist visa is, how you can apply, the documents you need, and how to prepare for your consular interview. 

What is a US tourist visa?

A US tourist visa, often referred to as a visitor visa, is a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to enter the United States temporarily for:

  • Tourism
  • Visiting family or friends
  • Medical treatment
  • Participating in other activities unrelated to employment or study
  • Attending professional conventions and trade shows

Upon entry to the US, the Customs Officer will determine for how long you may stay in the US. This is known as the period of legal presence and is typically granted for a period of up to six months, but may sometimes be less.

However, if needed, a B-2 visa holder may apply for an extension of this time period if an application is filed before the expiration of the period of legal presence. It is important to note that the maximum period of time a person may remain in the US on a B-2 visa is up to one year.   

How to apply for a US tourist visa?

Below, you will find a list of the actions you must take to apply for a US tourist visa.

  • Determine if you need a visa: Citizens of certain countries may be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows them to travel to the US for up to 90 days without a visa. View a list of the countries covered by the VWP here.
  • Complete the online application form: Complete the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) on the US Department of State website. Make sure to provide accurate information and answer all questions truthfully.
  • Pay the visa fee: The visa application fee must be paid online through the US Department of State website. This fee is non-refundable, even if your visa application is denied.
  • Schedule an interview: Once you have completed your online application, you must schedule a consultation at the US embassy or consulate in your country. Waiting times for visa interview appointments can vary, so applying early is best.

Attending your visa interview

Attending a consular interview for a visa can be an overwhelming experience, but being well-prepared can help alleviate some of the stress. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Dress appropriately: Dressing professionally and conservatively for your interview is important.
  • Arrive early: Ensure you arrive at the embassy or consulate early for your interview. This will give you ample time to go through security and find the correct location.
  • Answer truthfully: Answer all questions honestly and provide accurate information. Do not try to hide any information or provide false information, as this can lead to a visa denial. 
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your travel plans and ties to your home country: Ensure you have a clear understanding of your trip’s itinerary and be prepared to provide proof of your connections to your home country, such as a job, property, or close family relationships.
  • Bring all required documents: Bring all the necessary documents with you on the day of your interview.

Documents needed for a US tourist visa application

To apply for your US tourist visa, you’ll need the following documents: 

  • A valid passport: your passport must not expire for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the US.
  • Printed confirmation page of your online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160).
  • Visa application fee receipt.
  • Appointment confirmation page.
  • Supporting documents that show your ties to your home country and your ability to financially support your trip, such as bank statements and employment letters.

Does a US tourist visa guarantee access to the US?

Obtaining a B-2 visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. Upon arrival, you will still need to pass through US Customs and Border Protection, who will determine whether you meet the criteria for admission. 

What to do if your US tourist visa is denied?

Being denied a US tourist visa does not necessarily mean you will never be able to obtain one. By addressing the issue that led to the denial and presenting a solid case, you may be able to successfully obtain a visa in the future. 

You must take the following steps: 

1. Determine why your application was rejected

You will generally be notified of the reason if your visa is denied. This can help you understand why your application was not approved and what steps you can take to address the issue.

Common reasons why a US tourist visa might be denied include the following: 

  • You did not fully complete the visa application and provide all required supporting documentation.
  • You failed to establish eligibility for the visa category being applied for, or you did not overcome the presumption of being an intending immigrant.
  • You do not have enough money to support yourself for the duration of your stay.
  • You intend to work in the US.
  • You were previously convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.
  • You were previously convicted of a drug violation.
  • You have two or more criminal convictions for which the total sentence of confinement was five years or more.
  • You did not provide an adequate affidavit of support when one was required.
  • You misrepresented a material fact or committed fraud to attempt to receive a visa.
  • You previously remained longer than authorized in the US.

You can see a comprehensive list of all visa ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) here.

2. Reapply

You can reapply for a visa after addressing the issues that led to your denial. 

However, if your denial is related to ineligibility for a visa or a permanent bar, reapplication may not be possible.

It’s recommended to wait a reasonable amount of time (6-12 months) before reapplying, as submitting a new application immediately after a denial without any significant changes or improvements will likely result in another denial. 

3. Seek legal assistance

If you have difficulty understanding the reason for the denial or addressing the issue, you should seek assistance from a qualified immigration attorney. 

Get help from Meimaris Law

If you are struggling with your US tourist visa application or have had your visa denied, don’t give up hope. Seeking legal assistance can help you understand your options and increase your chances of success.

At Meimaris Law, we have years of experience helping clients navigate the US immigration system. Our team will guide you through the visa application process, provide advice on preparing for your visa interview, and help you overcome a visa denial.

Contact us today to book an appointment with a member of our experienced immigration attorneys.

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