The rules on obtaining a visa to stay in America are getting harder, but applicants should not give up hope. You may still get a second chance for your visa, depending on the reasons for the denial.

Foreign citizens who wish to obtain an immigration visa to gain entry into the United States must be sponsored, according to the US Department or State, though there are some specialized fields which allow for self-sponsorship. Eligible sponsors include US citizens, US lawful permanent residents, or a prospective employer. It is the sponsor who normally starts the immigration process by filing a petition on the foreign person’s behalf. The application is filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Most visas are based on a family relationship or an employment relationship. US citizens can sponsor spouses, children, parents, and siblings. US permanent residents can only sponsor spouses and unmarried children. US employers can sponsor applicants who are being offered permanent jobs.

There are limits on the number of visas that can be approved, depending on the type of visa, the country of origin, and other factors.

The request for reconsideration

The starting point for any visa denial is to read the reason for the denial, which should be set forth in the denial letter. Many applicants will be able to file a request for a reconsideration if they file promptly.

Denials are generally classified as soft or hard denials. “Soft denials” (refusals based on Section 221 (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) include a lack of complete documentation. Soft denials also include placing your application on hold while a clearance is obtained from some governmental agency.

The applicant will then need to obtain the correct documents. For example, you may need to:

  • Provide current tax information
  • A written confirmation of a job offer
  • An affidavit and proof that you will be able to support yourself or your sponsor will support you
  • Court records

Requests for reconsideration are generally allowed for these soft denials if they are filed within one year after the denial. The request for reconsideration allows the applicant to present the new documentation. The process can allow your lawyer to challenge the substance of the denial. For example, reconsideration requests can usually be used to:

  • Show a conviction was nor for a crime of moral turpitude
  • A marriage was not a sham but was legitimate – by introducing additional information
  • The defects in the application were not “material”

“Hard denials” (Section 212(a) refusals) generally require legal help to show that the refusal was improper for some legal reason or to request a waiver.

A denial of a visa application isn’t necessarily the end of the road. In many cases, the applicant will have a fair chance to submit new documents and to argue that the denial was in error. At LaFevor & Slaughter, our Knoxville immigration lawyers work to prepare your documentation correctly before you apply for an immigration visa. We work aggressively to challenge denials to the full extent current immigration law permits. To arrange a consultation, call us at 865.272.4454 or complete our contact form. Our lawyers represent clients who live in Knoxville, across Tennessee, and those who live abroad.