22. IMMIGRANT VISA DENIED BY AMERICAN CONSUL

Why was it denied?

It is not always easy to tell. American Consuls have a pre-printed Form which lists a few Grounds for Denial.

These reasons for denial are expressed in very general terms, but they never relate to the facts of the case.  For example: The Consul may tick off the ground for "visa fraud" or "misrepresentation", but the Consul would not specify the facts: When did the applicant lie?  What did the applicant misrepresent?

When a Consular interview ends with a denial of an immigrant visa, it is advisable that the applicant write down - as soon as possible - a detailed description of the interview.  This should be in the form of a Q + A, trying to recreate the interview as a series of questions and answers:

  • What was the name of the Consul?
  • Was the interview conducted by an American Consul - or by a local staff member?
  • Was an interpreter used? If not - was an interpreter needed?
  • What did the Consul ask?
  • What did the applicant answer?
  • What documents were presented?
  • What was the attitude and what were the comments of the Consul?
  • Was the decision made immediately, or at a later date?
  • Was any oral explanation of the denial given?

All this should be communicated to an immigration lawyer in the United States as soon as possible. The difficulty faced  by the denied applicant - and even the immigration lawyer - is that a Consul's denial is usually not subject to administrative appeal. Also, because the applicant is not in the United States, he or she do not have the right to sue the government in Federal Court.  Still, a review of the denial by an immigration lawyer in the United States is worthwhile, because:

  • The Consul's denial could be correct, due to some defect or flaw in the paperwork which is easily correctable if the petitioner in the United States files a new petition;
  • The Consul's denial could be in error, due to a misunderstanding which could be clarified by a better explanation coming from the immigration lawyer in the United States;
  • The Consul's denial could be due to a misreading of the law, and the immigration lawyer in the United States could use the internal advisory system of the U.S. Department of State to change the Consul's mind;
  • The Consul's denial is supported by superiors in the Department of State, but it is so wrong legally that the U.S. petitioner, always an American citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, (not the denied applicant) has a basis to sue the Department of State in Federal Court.

Sometimes the Consul's denial is correct - based on the facts of the case and the law applicable to the facts of the case.  In such a case, the service an immigration lawyer in the United States provides is to convince the petitioner and the applicant not to invest any more time and money in this particular case.  The applicant could, may be, pursue a different way to immigrate.

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