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Visa Refusals
 
  1. What to do if refused a visa?
  2. My application was refused under Section 214(b). If I bring in more documents will I receive a visa?
  3. What does a consular officer look for during a visa interview?
  4. I am a legal resident of Costa Rica. Why don't I qualify?
  5. Why didn't they tell me when I called that I would not get a visa?
  6. Why can't I have my money back?
  7. May I appeal a visa refusal?
  8. I have had difficulties during my travel screening at transportation hubs, such as airports and train stations, or crossing U.S. Borders. Whom may I contact?
  9. I have a valid U.S. visa in my old passport, but I just renewed my passport. How can I pass my visa to my new passport?
  10. I want to renew my visa, but I don't see the instructions for how to renew on the website. What should I do?
  11. Who can accompany me to my visa interview?
  12. How long will I wait in line for my visa interview?
  13. How long is the average interview?

 

1.    What to Do if Refused a Visa?

If your application for a nonimmigrant visa has been refused, you will be told why at the interview and provided with a written explanation. The most common refusals are under Section 221(g) and Section 214(b) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Under Section 221(g) additional legal requirements must be met before the visa can be authorized.

You will not have to pay another application fee if the legal requirements are found to be met within one year.

Section 214(b) of U.S. Immigration Law presumes that applicants for nonimmigrant visas are intending immigrants and must be denied visas unless they provide convincing evidence of family, social, and economic ties to a residence abroad. Refusals under Section 214(b) mean that you have not overcome the legal presumption that you are an intending immigrant.

The fact that you were refused under Section 214(b) does not mean that you will be refused again in the future. A refusal under Section 214(b) means that, at this time, under your present employment, social or other circumstances, the consular officer was not satisfied that you had met U.S. visa requirements.

If you reapply after being refused under Section 214(B) INA, you must complete a new application and pay another application fee.

2.    My application was refused under Section 214(b). If I bring in more documents will I receive a visa?

Applying for a non-immigrant visa is not primarily a document-based process. The main issue in determining if an applicant qualifies for a visa is intent, and documents alone can not establish intentions. In some cases, documents can help establish an applicant’s intent to return to Costa Rica by showing that the applicant is well established here. In other cases, the circumstances are clear enough that documents are unnecessary. If your visa application has been refused it is highly unlikely that any document you could provide would alter the consular officer’s decision.

3.    What does a consular officer look for during a visa interview?

In addition to U.S. security, the officer considers the applicant’s personal travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside the United States that will ensure his\her departure after a temporary visit.

4.    I am a legal resident of Costa Rica. Why don't I qualify?

Many recent immigrants to Costa Rica cannot demonstrate sufficiently strong ties here to qualify for a non-immigrant visa to the United States. There is no magic formula that will work in each case. In general, you must be able to show that you have settled in Costa Rica and that this is, and will remain, your permanent home. In reviewing your application, the consular officer considered many aspects such as: How long have you been at your current address? How long have you been at your current job? Are you, or are your children enrolled in school? What commitments do you have here that would compel you to return to Costa Rica? What social ties do you have in Costa Rica? Often it is a question of time, and the best way to qualify for a visa is to reside in Costa Rica for a longer period of time and to build further social and economic ties here.

5.    Why didn't they tell me when I called that I would not get a visa?

Each visa application is thoroughly examined and evaluated on its own merits. Since it is impossible to obtain all relevant facts without seeing your passport and completed application, we are unable to tell you by phone whether you will receive a visa. Our telephone information system, as well as information distributed on the Internet, is designed to give general information regarding the visa application process and suggest types of documents that might help demonstrate eligibility for a U.S. visa. However, in no circumstances is someone able to guarantee in advance that you will receive a U.S. visa.

6.    Why can't I get my money?

The fee that you paid is an application fee. Everyone who applies for a U.S. visa anywhere in the world must pay this fee, which covers the cost of reviewing your application. As the application form states, this fee is non-refundable regardless of whether you are issued a visa or not. If your application was refused under Section 214(b) and you choose to reapply for a visa, whether at this Embassy or elsewhere, you will be required to pay the application fee again.

7.    May I appeal a visa refusal?

Visa interviews are conducted by commissioned officers of the United States Government, and they have broad discretion in visa matters. Their decisions in visa cases, while subject to review by supervisory consular personnel, are final. There is no right of appeal. Refused applicants who believe they qualify for visa issuance may reapply- see Question 1 for information on the procedure.

8.   I have had difficulties during my travel screening at transportation hubs, such as airports and train stations,or crossing U.S. Borders. Whom may I contact?

If you have had difficulties with your travel screening, and possessed a proper visa at the time of your travel screening, you should contact theTraveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP).

9.    I have a valid U.S. visa in my old passport, but I just renewed my passport. How can I pass my visa to my new passport?

It is not necessary to renew the visa until it expires. You may travel with both passports. However, if you wish to renew, you must make an appointment, pay the interview fee, and apply as if it were the first time. See the section entitled "non-immigrant visa application process."

10. I want to renew my visa, but I don't see the instructions for how to renew on the website. What should I do?

The process is the same as if you were applying for the first time. See the section entitled "non-immigrant visa application process."

11. Who can accompany me to my visa interview?

No third parties will be admitted to the Consular Section to accompany nonimmigrant visa applicants.  This includes U.S. citizen or LPR family members, attorneys, employers, or sponsors.  The sole exceptions are as follows:

 Applicants under the age of 18 may be accompanied by parents.

  • Elderly or disabled applicants may be accompanied if they require assistance to walk or communicate.
  • Interpreters may be admitted on a case-by-case basis as decided by the NIV line manager, but generally should not be necessary.  Consular Section employees speak many languages.  Guards may direct questions via the NIV LES supervisor, who will inform them of the officer’s decision.

12. How long will I wait in line for my visa interview?

On a typical day, the Embassy schedules 250-350 visa interviews. Our goal is to interview everyone within three hours from the time of entry onto the Embassy compound. For example, if you have an appointment at 8:00 AM, you will be permitted to enter the compound at 7:30 (30 minutes before the scheduled time), and you should be interviewed before 10:30. During this time, an employee will assist you with the automated queueing system, your application will be reviewed for completeness and entered into a database, and your fingerprints will be scanned by a digital reader. The wait time could vary - shorter or longer - depending on a variety of factors. The Embassy provides chairs and restrooms for those waiting in line, and a vendor sells drinks and snacks. Due to the long wait, we recommend applicants bring something to read.

13. How long is the average interview?

On average, the interview will last 3-5 minutes, but can vary depending on the complexity of the case. The interviewers must complete mandatory checks of the database (name and date of birth, fingerprints and photo recognition) for each applicant, and enter notes into the system. All interviewing officers are American citizens and commissioned officers of the Foreign Service of the United States.

Contact Information

If you have any additional questions please contact at mailto:consularsanjose@state.gov

General Questions