Denials can be delivered at the end, in the middle, or right at the beginning of your interview but whenever you hear them it’s important not to over-react for two reasons.
We’ve covered various issues regarding applying for a US visa, and now we are going to discuss what happens if you get denied.
It may seem like your world has come crashing in around you. You may feel personally blighted by the US officer that interviewed you. Perplexity and extreme emotion will probably figure into your state of mind after you hear those two words that cut through you like a knife:
Denials can be delivered at the end, in the middle, or right at the beginning of your interview but whenever you hear them it’s important not to over-react for two reasons. The first reason is that, although devastating, your life has not irrevocably come to an end. Worse things can happen. The second reason is that you will be expected to leave the building in an orderly fashion. Any hint of a disagreement or ‘over-reaction’ with the decision will result in you being frog marched out of the US consulate by security. The level of frog marching will depend on the level of ‘disagreement’!
The visa officer will provide you with a letter that states the reason you’ve been denied a US visa. The letter will tell you that you are ineligible under section 214(b) for a US visa at this time. The section that refers to your particular reason of ineligibility will also be marked on the letter. Read this letter carefully. It is with this letter that you will be able to deduce, to some degree, what went wrong and what you need to change before you can apply again. Notice that I say, “before you can apply again?” There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for a US visa. Of course nobody is saying you won’t be denied again, but you at least have the chance to prove you have made significant changes to fix your ineligibility.
Reasons your US Visa may be Denied
There are a few reasons for denial of your US visa application. The most common one is that you do not show sufficient ties to the country that you are coming from to visit the US. Basically, in the officer’s eyes you are not going to leave the US once you are there. Harsh, I know, but as I’ve said before you must put yourself in the shoes of the US visa officer. They have a duty to guard their country and it’s their job to filter out the people who they feel would harm the US.
The other common reason for denial is if you are intending to study in the US and they don’t believe you qualify for the non-immigrant visa for that purpose, or if you have previously violated the terms of a non-immigrant visa. This would be in the form of any illegal activity or over staying when the visa expired. This sort of denial reason will frequently lead to having to apply for US Entry Waiver which is a different application entirely.
Reapplying for a US Visa once you have been Denied
So you have been denied and you have picked yourself up and want to try again. You MUST show that you situation has significantly changed from the last time you applied. If you applied for a US visa and were denied because you had only been in Canada for a few months, you need to reapply after you have been in Canada around 6 months longer. If you were denied because you had no job, you need to find a job and work there for a few months before you reapply. It’s very simple really – Improve your situation; improve your chances of a getting a visa.
It’s strongly advised that you wait for a few months before reapplying. It’s not mandatory and reapplying immediately is allowed, but the officer who interviews you will be thinking, ‘How could this person have significantly changed his situation in 4 weeks?” It’s possible, yes, but not very likely.
It’s also a common misconception that if you are denied in Toronto then you could try in Ottawa and get a different officer that may approve you. The officers do all share information, and most obvious of all, when you redo your online application form DS-160 you will have to state why you were denied a US visa previously. Believe it or not, they do read the applications,so don’t think that by changing the location you change the decision. The best way to get a US visa is to make sure you do qualify and can show the changes you have made since you last applied.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! And while you are trying, let your friends and family know that Canada is also a very nice place, and they’re welcome to come visit you here while you are waiting to reapply for your US visa!
Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.