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Opinions of Saturday, 3 December 2016

Columnist: Acheampong, Emmanuel Opoku

U.S. visas: Some options to consider when you are refused a visa

By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong

Part 1

Introduction

U.S. immigration law classifies visa applicants into immigrants and nonimmigrants. The visa classification and the reasons for the refusal will determine the options that may be available to you. This article attempts to discuss some of the options you may consider if your visa application is refused. It must be emphasised that no right of appeal exists against the decision of the consular officer (CO) to refuse a visa.

Reapplication for a visa

Most nonimmigrant visas are refused under INA 214 (b). A refusal under this section means that you failed to satisfy the CO that you have sufficient ties to your home country to justify entitlement to the visa classification. In assessing your ties, the CO will consider your permanent employment or business, meaningful financial and economic connections, close family ties, social or cultural associations and any other factor that will induce your return to your home country.

You may reapply any time after your refusal. However, you must satisfy the CO that your circumstances have changed since your previous application or have provided information not submitted in your original application. You must complete a new Form DS-160, pay visa fee, and appear for a personal interview. In considering whether to reapply, you may consider whether you explained your situation accurately at the interview or whether the CO overlooked something in your application. You may also consider whether you have any additional information you can present to establish your ties.

Advisory Opinion from LegalNet If you have been refused a visa, you or your authorised representative may pose a legal question by email to LegalNet@State.gov. This medium is available only for case-specific questions on the interpretation or application of immigration law. LegalNet is not an avenue for reviewing factual determinations made by a CO, including a refusal under 214(b) in a B visa application.

You may pose a legal question about a specific case when you or your representative has attempted to contact the consulate at least twice without receiving a final response, and where 30 days have passed since the second inquiry. In this case, you may pose a question for determination whether the consulate’s refusal to respond to your inquiry is in accordance with law.

You may also submit legal questions about a specific case in which you or your representative has received a final response from the consulate, but believes it to be wrong as a matter of law. For example, if you were refused on grounds of misrepresentation under INA 212(a)(6)(c)(i), you may pose a legal question arguing that the basis for the finding does not meet the legal threshold of “misrepresentation”.

You may also pose legal questions about specific cases involving T visas, U visas, Diversity visas, or adoption visas.

Among others you must provide a summary of the factual situation and the legal contention supporting your case. Within 7 business days of submitting an inquiry that meets all requirements, you or your representative will receive a notice that the inquiry has been received and is being processed. The time frame for substantive responses depends on the complexity of the matter and availability of essential information but usually within 30 days.

Since the submission of a legal question must conform to particular and technical specifications, it is advisable that you consult an immigration lawyer to advise you on how to explore this option.

Reconsideration of Visa Refusal

If you are refused an immigrant visa, you may within one year from the date of refusal adduce further evidence tending to overcome the ground of ineligibility. This remedy applies only to immigrant visas. However, it should not be used as a conduit for filing frivolous and vexatious requests.

The request must be professionally presented and must include relevant legal arguments and documentary evidence pointing out any legal or factual mistake made by the CO. You must state new facts and support them by affidavits or other documentary evidence. If you resubmit previously provided evidence or assert a fact without providing supporting documentary evidence, your request will not succeed.

You must file your request with the consulate that refused your visa without paying any fee.

To be continued…

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on U.S. immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information.

The writer is an immigration law advisor and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works for Acheampong & Associates, a law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on acheampongassociatesgh@gmail.com or www.acheampongassociates.com