Although thousands of people are granted visas to travel to the United States each year, there are many others who are denied for a variety of reasons. U.S Customs and Immigration Services has a strict set of standards applicants must follow to be approved, and when that does not happen, petitioners can be refused admission.

Here are some of the reasons why a visa application may be denied.

  • Lack of appropriate documentation – Depending on the type of visa you’re applying for, you’ll need to furnish documents to support your case. For example, if you are a student who wants to study in the United States, in addition to a passport, you’ll need to have an admissions letter from an appropriate educational institution and be able to document financial resources to pay for your living expenses and educational costs. Pay close attention to the documents needed for your particular situation to increase the possibilities of being approved.
  • Fraud – The USCIS uses a variety of databases and research tools to verify an applicant’s intent and the information they provide on their application. Lying or covering up facts on an application is considered fraud and will result in a denial. Even if you tell the truth on a current visa application, if you’ve committed fraud in the past, that may be held as a determining factor against you.
  • Criminal record – If you have a record of committing major crimes in your native country, or you have a history of associating with terrorist groups or in acts against a government, there is a strong chance your visa will be denied. Minor criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify a person from approval. It may be best to seek the services of an immigration attorney if you fall into this category.
  • Previous visa violations – If you have already been in the United States under the auspices of a visa, and you have violated the terms of that visa, then you may be denied when applying for another. For example, if you over stayed your previous visa by 6 months or more, you face an automatic denial of entry for three years. If you over-stayed your visa and your unauthorized presence was for a year or more, you face an automatic barrier to entry for 10 years.
  • Health issues – If you have a communicable disease such as tuberculosis, you may be inadmissible to the United States. This also extends to other mental or physical problems that can create significant public health issues, including things like drug addiction or drug abuse. Denial may also be based on a failure to have all vaccinations recommended by U.S. officials. In some cases, waivers for health issues may be granted, especially if a health situation changes.

If you're unsure whether one of these issues might apply to your situation, learn how to check the status of your visa application here.

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