„You are ineligible to get the visa. Your visa is denied,” the consular officer at the US Embassy told us with a straight face and handed over an excerpt of INA Section 214b visa rejection paper. What seemed to be a formality to us – to get a US Visa for visiting the USA, turned out to be a make or break of our travel plans for this summer.
How To Get A US Tourist Visa B2
Most citizens who want to visit the USA as a tourist need to apply for a B2 visa which includes filling out an online questionary and to attend a personal interview at the embassy. If you get the visa, it’s valid for 10 years and you can stay in the USA for up to 6 months at a time.
INA 214(b) US Visa Refusal
The consular officer has the sole authority to approve or deny a visa application on the grounds of the information he or she has about you, and what information you provide. They have to deal with a high amount of visa applications every day and the possible repercussions if irregularities slip their attention.
Nowadays it’s often more about convincing the officer not to deny your visa than the other way around.
After having watched several YouTube videos and read blogs about how to prepare properly for the interview, we’d prepared two files, one for each of us in case we would be questioned separately, with financial statements, proof of residency and properties in Europe, marriage certificate, travel itinerary, booked flight tickets etc.
It was to no avail.
Tourist Visa application process with an interview
Section 214b Visa Rejection
The officer denied – after only a few questions – without asking us about any documents to prove our ties to Europe or financial background. As a Swiss citizen, I wasn’t much of interest in this interview at all, as the questions were mainly directed to George who has family members in the USA, and who spent a lot of time in the States, spread over the last 40 years.
214 b Refusal Because Of Family In The USA
You would think it makes it easier to get into the USA when you have a proper record of getting in and out of the States and reason to visit your son who is a US citizen after all. But that’s not the case.
It’s actually a red flag for the consular officer.
Whereas George’s son can easily visit us with his American passport without being questioned, reciprocally we learned that it’s extremely likely that the visa of a parent wanting to travel to the USA gets denied.
Why is that?
214 b Refusal Reason
The child can “sponsor” a permanent resident visa/green card for its parent, and if she/he is already in the USA, there is no need to leave during the application process and, the application gets privileged treatment. This procedure is most likely to be changed in future but as per date, this is most probably the cause of our visa denial.
US Visa Rejection 214b Without Family In The USA
What makes me really angry is …
… that my visa was denied as well, although I don’t have any family members in the US and wouldn’t have any possibilities to stay in the US long-term anyway. I had to pay and apply separately for the visa and still, I was denied without any other reason as for the one that we actually wanted to travel together. This also is a red flag against my passport for future US visa applications.
No Explanation For US Visa Refusal
It’s not that the consular officer would explain why we are ineligible for a visa.
214b Denial Hand-Out – What It Does Say
The only clue we got for the denial is a hand-out with the stated article of law, in our case INA 214(b) which describes – next to being ineligible – that we can’t appeal the decision and that we are allowed to reapply but leaving us in the dark about if that would have any chance to be successful.
214 b Visa Refusal – Apply Again?
“Well, just apply again,” you may say. “Maybe you’ll be lucky with another consular officer.”
Yes, maybe or maybe not … The fact that our 4 hours trip to the Consulate in Paris with an overnight in a hotel and 360 USD application fees amount to a total of 700 Euros and an additional full day of preparing all documents for the interview and a previously denied tourist visa in 2016 dampen our optimism. On the other hand, we’d looked very much forward to our USA-road trip and the visit to George’s son and his girlfriend who we have yet to meet so that we might take the chance for a third time.
US Tourist Visa 180 USD / person
How To Avoid Section 214b Visa Rejection
But what could we do differently? What did we do wrong?
- Maybe we should have tried to write our intent to return to Europe somehow into the visa application form although not asked for.
- Maybe George should have asked separately for a visa and travelled to the USA alone to have more evidence as for his intention to return to Europe to his wife again.
- Maybe we shouldn’t have listened to the advice in YouTube-videos, only to answer questions short and accurate but try to elaborate answers to questions, and give information and evidence as to the intent to return to Europe unasked.
- Maybe we should have asked only for a two weeks holiday instead of 4 months.
Too many maybes have left a stale taste in our mouths. For the moment we have to bury our travel plans for the USA, hopefully not forever.
But we can’t be sure of that either!
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