Visa Processing Issues and Denial at the US Embassy Thailand

by admin on February 5, 2010

A qualified US immigration attorney should be screening their cases and alerting clients to problems in their cases before accepting the case.  Some clients choose to file visa applications despite having a minimal chance of success.  Other visa applicants are misinformed that they qualify for visas when in fact they do not.  This report provides information on the common negative responses a visa applicant might receive when applying for a visa to the U.S. 

The US Embassy is Thailand uses the OF-164 form when it issues a visa denial.  The denial can be a serious matter, requiring a reply that includes a memorandum of law from an immigration attorney or can be a simple administrative matter that can be corrected in a few simple steps.

 The two most common visa processing problems are typically referred to by their numerical codes within the United States Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).   These are 214(b) visa denials and 221g visa refusals.  A visa application might also be placed in administrative processing or referred to the Fraud Prevention Unit.

214(b) Visa Denial

This type of denial usually occurs with non-immigrant visas, most commonly tourist visas (B1 and B2 visa categories).  However, the denial can occur with other non-immigrant classes of visas as well.  The basic meaning is that the US Embassy fears that the visa applicant will not return to their home country and will, rather, seek to reside in the USA.

Section 214(b) of the INA states that:

Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status…

Section 214(b) requires the consular officer to assume that every applicant for a temporary visa to the U.S. intends to remain in the U.S. permanently, even though the visa they are applying for is for a limited period of time.  Therefore, the applicant must convince the officer that they intend to return to their home country before the visa expires.

The consular officer uses the documents submitted with the application and the personal interview to determine if the applicant intends to abide by the visa rules.  If the officer is not fully convinced of the applicant’s intention to return to their home country he will refuse the visa request.  This is referred to as a 214(b) visa denial.

The applicant must convince the officer that they possess a residence in their home country that they have no intention of abandoning.  They do this by showing that they have very strong “ties” that would compel them to leave the U.S. at the end of their temporary stay.

“Ties” are the various aspects of the applicant’s life that bind them to their home country.  Unfortunately there is no simple rule or single determining factor that guides the consular officer’s decision.  The officers must use their training, experience and judgment to analyze, in totality, the ties presented.  Strong and convincing ties include, but are not limited to, substantial possessions, home ownership, a stable employment history, and strong social and family relationships and obligations.  Each case is examined individually.

An applicant receiving a 214(b) denial of visa may not appeal the decision of the consular officer.  The applicant will likely never learn the specific reason for the denial beyond the information that they failed to convince the officer of their intention to return to their home country prior to the expiration of the visa.  They will not receive a refund of the application fee.  However they may submit another application with additional supporting documents.

The 214 (b) visa denial is usually encountered by persons acting pro se (without counsel) or by applicant represented by unqualified practitioners.  A qualified immigration practitioner should be able to anticipate this risk and advise their client. . 

221g Visa Refusal

Due to the complexity of the visa application procedure it is not uncommon for a visa application to be incomplete, improperly completed, or to require additional administrative action.  If this is the case, the applicant will receive a 221g visa refusal letter.  This may also be referred to as a 221g visa denial.

This letter will explain the deficiency in the application and the steps required by the applicant to remedy the problem.  There is no additional application fee and often the visa can be quickly approved when the required documents are provided or the application is resubmitted as instructed.

On the other hand the 221g denial may request additional information or documents that may point to a larger issue, such as a criminal record or marriage fraud.  If the consular officer suspects there are grounds for denying the visa based on legal considerations, she may first request additional information according to 221g.  If the information or documents requested cannot be produced to the consular official’s satisfaction, this may lead to a substantive denial or a waiver situation.

Administrative Processing

Some visa applications may require additional processing time.  The decision to place the visa application into this category may come before or after the applicant’s interview with the consular officer.  The reason for an extensive application review might include such things as a name hit in a data base, missing or incomplete information, or a decision by the officer that the application needs further investigation.

Although some applications are processed within sixty days, it is difficult to predict how long a visa application will remain in administrative processing status and there are few options for the applicant during this time period.  The applicant will generally not be allowed to make any inquiries about the status of their application during the first sixty day period.

Fraud Prevention Unit

If the consular officer suspects that the applicant has submitted fraudulent information within the application or during the interview, the officer may refer the application to the Fraud Prevention Unit.  They will investigate the suspected fraud and refer individuals, as appropriate, for prosecution under local or U.S. law.  Immigration fraud is taken quite seriously and is a federal offence.  A conviction for marriage or visa fraud can have long lasting repercussions in the criminal justice system and in the immigration law system.   It is not unusually for federal indictments to issue for immigration fraud and there have been extraditions from Thailand.

For more information see:

US Visa Denial Thailand

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mordermi May 7, 2010 at 7:29 am

Your blog is very informative … keep up the good work!

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