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Immigration Laws - Sections 214(b) & 221(g)

Thank you for your non-immigrant visa application.  We trust that even though your application was not approved, you were treated courteously and professionally during your visit to the U.S. Embassy.

Section 214(b)

We were unable to issue you a visa because you were found ineligible under Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.  Section 214(b) requires applicants for non-immigrant visas (NIVs) to show that they meet each of the requirements for a visa in their particular non-immigrant visa category.  All applicants for an NIV – a temporary visitor’s visa for business, pleasure, temporary employment, or study – must demonstrate that they are entitled to the type of visa for which they are applying and that they have a permanent residence abroad and intend to depart the United States at the end of the authorized stay.  Unfortunately, you have not shown that you have sufficient family, social, economic or other ties to a place of residence outside the United States to ensure that your projected stay in the U.S. would be temporary, or that your intended activities in the United States would be consistent with your visa status.

We hope that this page helps answer your questions about why you were denied a U.S. non-immigrant visa so that you can gain a better understanding of the process and our immigration law.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Nonimmigrant Visas

1.  What does “214(b)” mean?
Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act states:   “Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the officer, at the time of the application for a visa…that he is entitled to non-immigrant status.”  By law, the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that he or she qualifies for a visa in a non-immigrant classification and is not an intending immigrant.  The consular officer uses the interview to determine the applicant’s intentions and qualification for a visa under U.S. law.

2.  What are “ties to Nicaragua”?
 “Ties” are the aspects of life that bind people to their place of residence, including, but not limited to, possessions, family relationships, employment, education, social obligations and future prospects in Nicaragua. Because each person's situation is unique, there is no “one size fits all,” standard formula to determine what constitutes adequate ties.  Each application is evaluated on its own merits, within the framework of U.S. law and visa regulations.

3.  I completed all the documents, but my application was turned down anyway. Why?
Consular officers carefully review all standard visa application forms, which solicit nearly all of the information necessary to make a visa eligibility decision.  We refer to other supporting documents only if they can provide additional insight into the applicant’s unique case. If additional documents are necessary, the officer will let you know during the interview. The interview itself – how you respond to the officer’s verbal questions – is the most important tool for the consular officer to determine your eligibility for a visa in accordance with U.S. law.

4.  I am a student with an I-20 form, but my application was turned down. Why?
An I-20 Form issued by the school is one of several documents necessary to apply for a student visa.  It does not, however, determine your eligibility for a U.S. visa. If it appears a student's true intent is not to obtain an education that will advance their life or career prospects in their home country, but will instead allow an indefinite stay in the United States for themselves or their family, the student will not qualify for a visa. Student visa applicants are also required to show that they have sufficient funds immediately available to pay for the first year of school and a source of continued funding for the remainder of their education. In addition, students must have sufficient knowledge of English to pursue the intended course of study.

5.  Do letters of guarantee of return from a person of high stature help get a visa?
A letter or other assurances from a third party, even from a U.S. citizen, rarely help establish the applicant's ties to their home country. U.S. law requires each applicant to qualify for a visa in his or her own right.  There is no legal mechanism to hold a third party accountable, should you violate the terms of your visa, no matter how strongly that third party might guarantee they will ensure your departure from the United States at the end of your temporary stay.

6. Will it help my application if I present a letter from my relative's U.S. Congressman or Senator?
Such letters are considered, but the applicant's intentions are still the key to the adjudicating officer's decision.

7. Why are the visa interviews so short? I was asked only a couple of questions.
Each Consular Officer interviews dozens of applicants each day, and has previously made thousands of visa eligibility decisions.  Over time, officers develop skills that allow them to quickly focus on the information relevant to the visa eligibility decision, and a lengthy interview is generally not necessary unless there are complicating factors that need to be reviewed in a particular case.

8.  Isn't it better not to disclose that I have close relatives living in the U.S., that I have an immigrant visa petition on file, or that I have previously been denied?
Honesty and full disclosure are always best. Close relatives and pending immigrant petitions do not necessarily disqualify an applicant for a non-immigrant visa. Family ties are just one of many factors used in determining ties to one's home country.

9.  What happens if I conceal or misrepresent information or submit fraudulent documents?
If the consular officer uncovers any attempt to conceal or misrepresent pertinent information, the visa will usually be denied and the applicant may, in certain cases, be permanently barred from entering the United States, both as a visitor and as an immigrant.

10.  Is it possible to get my application fee refunded if my visa was refused?
No, this is a non-refundable fee to cover the cost of processing your visa application, regardless of the final decision.

11.  Do I have to pay another application fee to reapply?
Yes, a new fee must be paid each time you make a new application.

12. What if I would like to reapply for a non-immigrant visa?
Decisions may not be appealed.  However, you may reapply for a non-immigrant visa at any time. In most cases it is better to wait until your personal circumstances have changed significantly before reapplying. Quick re-applications based on the hope of finding a consul more inclined to issue a visa will likely result in a second refusal.

Section 221(g)

Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act is also a common reason for visa refusals.  A refusal under Section 221(g) means that the applicant failed to submit some information or a document, or that some further review by the Embassy is required.  When an applicant is refused under Section 221(g), the consular officer gives him or her a letter that explains what, if anything, the applicant needs to do.

If the letter asks the applicant to return to the Embassy with a particular piece of missing information (for example, birth certificate or job letter), the applicant may return to the Embassy any working day at 1:45 p.m., except on thursdays or Nicaraguan and U.S. Holidays.  

  • Administrative Processing

If the letter informs the applicant that the Embassy will contact him or her when "administrative processing" is complete, this means there is no action required of the applicant. To check visa application status visit: https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC/