What to do if your visa is refused/denied (Part 2)
IMMIGRATION CORNER By Michael J. Gurfinkel Updated February 22, 2009 12:00 AM
In a previous article, I discussed some items or suggestions that could possibly increase your chances of obtaining a visa, avoiding a refusal, or overcoming a refusal. Here are some more pointers:
4. If you were refused a visa, make sure you understand the reason why you were refused.
Whenever a visa is refused, the consul provides an explanation to the person as to reasons that the visa was refused. In fact, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) states that, “Posts [the Embassy] must reveal information in visa records in communicating with a visa applicant regarding such matters as… reasons for findings of ineligibility, availability of waiver relief, etc..” So, if you were refused a visa, make sure you understand why you were refused. You cannot overcome the refusal (or prove your eligibility for the visa), unless you know the grounds for the refusal. I had a case where a person had been charged with alien/human smuggling. He was given a sheet of paper from the consul, noting the refusal for alien smuggling. However, the person told me he had no idea who he was supposedly “smuggling” or when it happened. Since he failed to get details at the interview, it would be extremely difficult to try to go back and obtain that type of information, as the Embassy may no longer have the file. I remember one case where a woman had been refused a visa for alien smuggling. After retaining us, it took several months to find out who she was smuggling. It turned out that the smuggling charge was based on her bringing her children to the US. While ordinarily, alien smuggling could be a lifetime ban, there is a waiver available if the person you are smuggling is your child or spouse. So, eventually, we were able to clear her name. It is therefore, very important that you understand the underlying facts upon which the refusal is based. In fact, the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual also instructs that, unless the information is classified, “The consular officer must inform all visa applicants orally about the section of law under which the visa was refused and the factual basis for the refusal.” The FAM also instructs consuls to attempt to explain the reason for the refusal in “plain English or in clean layman’s terms. ”
5. Don’t sign an affidavit/confession unless the information is “true.”
I have had many people come to me, crying that their visa was refused and that they had signed a confession, admitting guilt. When I asked them if the information in their affidavit was true, they said, “No.” I asked them why they signed the affidavit, and their response (or excuse) was that they were nervous, felt pressured, or just wanted to get out of the Embassy as quickly as possible and, therefore, signed anything that was put in front of them.
Please note that the consular officers do not force or pressure people into signing anything. They are only after the truth and simply want to determine a person’s eligibility for a visa. Trying to overcome a refusal with the excuse that you were forced or pressured into signing anything will never work. Instead, as previously stated, you should of course tell the truth, but should not sign anything unless it is true.
In future articles, I will discuss more items that can help you possibly avoid or overcome a refusal of your visa.
That is why it is so important that if your visa is refused, you seek the advice of a reputable attorney, who can evaluate your case, and advise if there is “hope” in overcoming the refusal, and assisting you in presenting your case to the consuls for reconsideration.
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