Why Was Your Visa Denied? Because I Said So. That’s Why.

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Father’s Day is approaching in America. A chance to celebrate dad’s ability to answer any question thus: “I’ll tell you why. Because I said so. That’s why.”

The U.S. Consulates in China are equally cagey. Most persons denied nonimmigrant visas are given a form letter saying that the visa was denied under section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. That section of law essentially requires that an applicant for a nonimmigrant visa prove that … he is entitled to a nonimmigrant visa.* Duh!

The form letter goes on to explain that the “most frequent” reason for refusal is that the applicant failed to prove she has strong enough ties to China that she doesn’t intend to immigrate to the U.S.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that a person denied a visa doesn’t want to know the “most frequent” reason for refusal. Instead, she wants to know the specific reason why she was denied.

I plan to test this theory. Next time I punish my son by sending him to his room, when he cries “why?”, I’ll tell him that it’s because he’s violated “one of” daddy’s rules and I’ll give him a list of the “most frequently” violated rules. Think that will do the trick?

Of course, the U.S. Consulates hands out form letters because otherwise telling each person why he was denied a visa could be an onerous burden. Similarly, I like to keep my explanations to my son simple: “Because I said so. That’s why.” That does the trick.

More seriously, if you are refused a visa, it may be wise to politely ask the officer to explain why. Or it may be wise to ask your lawyer to contact the Consulate to find out why. Knowing this will help you figure out how best to reapply.


* Section 214(b) reads: “Every alien … shall be presumed to be an immigrant [i.e., ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa] until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a visa … that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)” (the section of the law setting out the requirements for nonimmigrant visas).

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