What Are Common Reasons For US Visa Denial

The US visa is one of the most sought-after commodities on earth. Every year, thousands of tourists and immigrants vie for this precious little document. Although some get it, many don’t. But what are the most common reasons for US visa denial?

US visa

You’re here because you’ve been denied, fear that you may be denied, or have a loved one who’s been denied.

Receiving a US visa denial letter is always a disheartening experience. In this post, we’re going to be looking at the common reasons why the US immigration grants some visas and deny others.

1.   Not Having Enough Information on the Visa Process

The first common reason for visa denial is a mistake on the part of the applicant. As it is, most people don’t do enough research before submitting a visa application. As such, they end up submitting applications ridden with errors.

Expectedly, if a visa application is ridden with mistakes, the immigration authority is well within its right to issue a denial.

How to Resolve This Issue:  

Do your due diligence to gather the right information before applying for a visa.

Stuff like what visa type to apply for, visa requirements, passport requirements, and possible causes of denial are some of the things you need to figure out before applying for a visa.

For example, did you know there are other ways of entering the US besides a standard visa? Yes, one of them is the ESTA USA scheme. I got to know about ESTA when I was doing my pre-application research some years back.

Also, did you know some visa types – e.g., ESTA – requires you to have an e-passport before submitting an ESTA application? Yes, that’s correct. E-passports are different from traditional passports in that the former comes with a digital chip.

Furthermore, did you know some visa types require that you submit proof of personal assets, funds, or sponsors? Indeed, there’s so much to learn about the US visa system, which is why you have to keep your eyes out for the right information. You should search online forums, government websites, blogs, and other credible sources to gather information.

2.   Applying for the wrong visa

Did you know it’s possible to apply for the wrong visa type? Yes, that’s a possibility when you’re dealing with a country like the United States that has over 185 visa types.

With so many visa types on offer, many travelers make the mistake of applying for the wrong visas. If you make this mistake, you’ve already shot yourself in the foot, and the chances are your visa application will be denied.

You may be wondering how it is possible for someone to apply for the wrong visa. But the truth is people make this mistake time and again. For example, under the tourism category, a traveler can come in with an ESTA application or the traditional B-2 (visitor visa). While the former (ESTA USA) is applicable to citizens of a select few countries, the latter is applicable mostly to foreign nationals in general. If you aren’t aware of the difference between the two, you may end up applying for an ESTA when indeed, you’re not a citizen of a country on the US ESTA list.

Another example is an athlete coming into the US. There’s the P-type visa and the B-1 visa for athletes. However, while the former is generally tailored to athletes, artists, and entertainers in general, the latter is meant strictly for athletes coming to compete for prize money. Not knowing the difference between these two visa types can cause an athlete to be denied a visa.

How to Resolve This Issue:  

If you were denied on the grounds of applying for the wrong visa, find out what the right one is and reapply again. If you’re at the point where you want to apply, and you don’t know the right category to apply to, do your research first.

3.   Supplying Incorrect or Insufficient Information

Without a doubt, this is the most common reason for visa denials in the US.

As much as the US immigration service keeps on reiterating it, people still fail to heed the warning. Time and again, travelers still submit visa applications with incomplete information. Stuff like the wrong date of birth, omission of personal details, insufficient descriptions, and incomplete documents are just a few examples of people’s errors during visa applications.

Having unverifiable data or providing insufficient details is surely grounds for a visa denial. It’s almost inevitable that the visa officer denies your application if they cannot authenticate your provided details.

For example, one of the requirements of the ESTA USA application is a mention of your social media details. Failure to provide the right answers to this question or submitting unverifiable data can lead the visa officer to assume you have something to hide.

How to Resolve This Issue:  

The simplest way to resolve this issue is to double-check your application forms before submitting them. Check that you’ve filled the provided boxes, answered all the required questions, and attached all documents requested.

If possible, you can even work with a visa agent throughout the process. It’s always harder to make mistakes when you have a second eye scrutinizing your forms. For online applications like the ESTA, you can leave everything in the hands of the agent to avoid making mistakes on your end.

4.   Providing Falsified Information

Misrepresentation is not only a cause for visa denial but also a criminal offense, too. Yet, out of desperation, many US visa applicants still attempt to game the US immigration system.

When caught, these applications are usually turned down, and a travel ban is imposed on the applicants.

Common cases of misrepresentation involve a wrong declaration of age and nationality, fake passports, falsified financial records, doctored visa application documents, and so on.

Many a time, travelers who cannot meet the requirements of the visa type they’re applying for try to game the system by doctoring their credentials. Once the immigration officer discovers this, they’re left with no choice but to issue a denial.

How to Resolve This Issue:  

Two things can happen if you’ve doctored your US visa application in the past and you’ve been caught.

If the visa officer didn’t ban you from entering the US, you can reapply again – albeit this time with the right information. However, if a travel ban has been imposed on you as a result of your action, you will have to wait until your ban is served.

This is why we advise travelers not to be desperate to visit the US. If your current circumstance doesn’t favor a US visit, do not force it. Work towards improving your situation, and then apply when you’re qualified to do so.

5.   Not Acing Your Visa Interview

ESTA is the only US travel permit that exempts one from a visa interview. With ESTA, applicants are verified online, and an application approval/denial message is conveyed via the ESTA status check portal.

So, unless you’re applying for an ESTA, you will have to schedule an interview appointment with the US consular before being granted a visa.

Unfortunately, interviews are where many people miss out on approvals. Some people appear overconfident, some answer questions wrongly, some showcase a poor understanding of the English language, and some generally fail to assuage pre-conceived fears about them.

By and large, the US consular office denies some visas based on applicants’ performances during interviews.

How to Resolve This Issue:  

You want to prove to your interviewer that you’re calm, trustworthy, and reliable at your interview.

Depending on your country of origin, the US visa interviewer may have some preconceived notions about citizens of your country. For example, maybe citizens of your country have a terrible habit of overstaying in the US. You want to prove during your interview that you’re different.

In short, throughout the course of your US visa interview, sell yourself right.

6.   Not Making a Good First Impression

When applying for a US visa, applicants have two shots at making a good first impression. One is during the application phase, and the other is during the interview.

Unfortunately, many a time, most people fail at making a good first impression. And as such, they fail to convince the officer that they’re a good fit for the visa.

When an officer isn’t convinced you’re qualified for a visa, the chances are high that he will reject your application.

How to Resolve This Issue:  

For example, someone applying for a student visa will have to prove financial capability. This can be somewhere around $35k per annum. Such an applicant can prove their financial capability by attaching a bank statement holding, say, $50k. Merely looking at your bank statement, the question of whether you can fund your program is immediately eliminated from the officer’s mind. The next thing he’ll be worried about is verifying the authenticity of your statement.

In this illustration, you’ve won the officer’s heart by making a strong first impression.