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Why could the USA deny my visa request?

Although hundreds of thousands of people get visas and green cards each year to enter and live in the United States, in some cases applications may be rejected on the grounds of inadmissibility.

The United States can deny any foreigner entry to the country for one or several causes, and consider a person “inadmissible.” Immigration authorities must verify that the citizen does not pose a danger to society due to his or her state of health, financial affairs, security, violation of immigration laws or criminal motives.

There are more than 20 reasons why a citizen can be considered “inadmissible” to obtain a green card in the country:

• To suffer certain types of contagious diseases or to lack certain vaccines.
• Suffering from physical or mental illnesses in such a way that can cause harm to yourself or others.
• Alcoholism
• Being a drug addict or being convicted of violating any law that regulates illegal drugs, whether in the United States or any other country in the world.
• Being a drug dealer or participating in that type of crime in any way.
• Being a spouse or children of a drug trafficker, if they have received money from drug trafficking in the last five years.
• Having been convicted of an immoral offense.
• Having two or more crimes with a sentence of five years or more.
• Having been convicted of an aggravated felony.
• Exercising or having practiced prostitution or requesting the services of a prostitute (or, if applicable, the male version). This applies for ten years.
• Pretending to obtain immunity not to be processed in the US for crime and thus getting out of the country.
• Having carried out activities that compromise the security of the United States.
• Having committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense. Or being the spouse or child of such a person, only if they have benefited from that crime in the last five years.

Motives for which you could lose your visa or your permanent residence or ‘green card.’

• Performing or carrying out espionage work or participating in an attempt to overthrow the United States government.
• Performing any terrorist activity.
• Membership in a totalitarian party, in the communist or the Nazi party.
• Participating or having participated in genocide.
• Being a public charge or when there´s a high probability of being one in the future.

• Having participated in money laundering in any way or attempting to enter the US to develop such criminal activity.
• Being a doctor or health worker who lacks the proper qualification or certification.
• To be in the United States already have entered the country illegally crossing the border. Meaning, there was no immigration control at a land office, at a port or an airport, and therefore no immigration officer admitted or granted parole to the foreigner who is now applying for the green card.
• Failure to appear in court when summoned during a deportation process • Using a false identification document.
• Falsely asserting that you are a citizen of the United States.
• Having reached the US as a runaway.
• To have violated the conditions of a student visa.

Some other need-to-know facts about the tourist visa

Eligibility Requirements for a Tourist Visa: Foreigners wishing to visit the United States for leisure or tourism are usually eligible to receive a B1/B-2 visa. These are “visitor visas,” and they are mandatory for citizens of countries not included in the Visa Waiver Program. However, even citizens of countries included in the visa waiver program need to have a valid B-12 visa if they plan to stay in the United States for more than 90 days, if they need to modify the status of their nonimmigrant visa, or change status to “Permanent resident” (Green Card), after entering the country.

Medical treatment with the B1/B2 visa: In addition to tourism and business, the government also issues B1/B-2 visas to people coming to the United States for medical treatment. The application process is similar to that of a tourist visa, but there are additional documents that must be submitted to establish that the applicant qualifies for a permit.

The term of the visit with the B1/B2 visa: People admitted to the United States with a B1/B-2 tourist visa usually have permission for a 6-month stay. That is the maximum length of a visit for visitors with a tourist visa. The immigration officer determines how long each visitor is allowed to stay in the country. Most visitors have their passports stamped with a 6-month stay authorization; however the immigration officer is entitled to issue a shorter visit based on each case. Upon entry into the United States, the foreign visitor has the right to request an extension of the stay.

Modification of Visa Status: Individuals who enter the United States with a B1/B2 visa are generally eligible to change their status to permanent resident (Green Card holder) if they qualify (H-1B, H-2B, E-1, E-2, E-3, etc.), student (under F-1 Student Visa), or another nonimmigrant status, such as temporary worker. Individuals who enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are not eligible to change their situation. The option to change status is the main advantage of having a nonimmigrant visa, such as the B1/B2 visa if you are part of the Visa Waiver Program.

About US Visa Renewals: B1/B2 Visas cannot be renewed or extended in every embassy or consulate. Some of those embassies or consulates don´t have a formal application for “visa renewal.” If your visa has expired, you must apply a new one. Many applicants think they can easily renew or extend an American Visitor Visa because they already had a previous visa. However, this is not the case always, since many US embassies and consulates consider renewals or extensions of a visa the same as a new visa application. Usually, the same requirements and application procedures apply. However, some US embassies and consulates have “Procedures for re-use and reissue of visas” which makes it easier and faster to request a new visitor visa.

Eligibility and Requirements for Visa Renewal: Anyone who previously had a valid visa or has a permit about to expire has the right to apply for a new visitor visa for the United States. There is no specific process to renew the visa en some embassies and consulates, so you must submit a new visa application; however, some US embassies and consulates have special procedures that are available to applicants who previously had a valid visa or have a permit about to expire. Some people call this process “Visa Reuse and Reissue Procedures.” One of the main advantages of visa renewals is that the applicant may not be required to attend the interview for the visa, especially if the person has had a US visa for several years, has entered and exited the States United States and never exceeded his stay in the country.

Can I travel with a valid visa on an expired passport? Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if you have a US Visitor Visa on an expired passport, you can use it along with a new, valid passport to travel to and enter the United States.

Some things you need to get straight about the visa application procedure

The occasional rumor or incorrect idea tends to take over people interested in applying for a visa for the United States. Those false conceptions happen primarily because many individuals don´t check the information provided by the embassy themselves or they are misguided by others who apparently have inaccurate or outdated information. These are some of the most common questions asked by baffled applicants:

Do I need to have knowledge of the English language for the interview?

You don´t need to know English since all the officials in the embassy are bilingual.

Is it more difficult to obtain the visa if I am single?

Your marital status doesn´t affect the fact that you´re eligible or not. Many single men and women get their visa approved every day.

Can I answer the questions in the DS-160 form in my native tongue?

All the questions in the form must be answered in English and with characters in English. The only exception is when they ask you to write your name in your native alphabet. Any application that is filled in a language different than English will be denied, and it could be necessary for you to apply again. Take into consideration that even though all answers must be written in English, you can find the translation of questions of the DS-160 form, throughout the internet. You can use those translations as a guide, for completing your application. If you don´t master the English language, someone that does can assist you, like a friend, relative, official translator, agent, etc. Keep in mind that only you can sign the application in the end.

Should I buy plane tickets to the US before applying for the visa?

Don´t buy transportation tickets to the US by any means before you have your passport with a valid visa inside. Don´t buy them even if the embassy already has your passport with them and has told you that your permit has been approved. Buy transportation tickets only when you have your passport with you and with a valid visa.

Do I need to have a lot of money for my application to be successful?

Applicants with different economic, social or demographic conditions can get their visa approved. Having tons of money or financial stability is no guarantee your permit will be accepted. There are a series of standardized factors of analysis that are considered by the officials in embassies or consulates.

If my visa application was denied in the past, does it mean that I´ll never be eligible for one?

If you already applied in the past and your application was denied that doesn´t mean that the same thing will happen the next time you ask. In fact, if your visa application was rejected, you should have gotten a letter explaining the motives for the rejection. If you consider your conditions have changed and that you are now eligible for obtaining your visa to the US approved, you can apply once again and get it right this time.

What happens to my application if I lose connection to the internet, if time runs out or if a technical mistake occurs? Do I need to start over?

Information is saved each time you complete a page so you won´t have to start over from scratch if any technical mistake occurs. It is necessary for you to have the application ID number and that you respond to additional questions for you to retrieve the application correctly. Once you have recovered your form it will begin on the last page you completed. You can modify previous items if you need to.

Is the support from a third party necessary for the visa application procedure?

It is not. Nonetheless, if you don´t speak English, it is recommended that you find someone that does, especially for filling out the DS-160 form, this is a service we provide in Visa USA Now, get started today.


Some student visa privileges

Can I change my visa category from F2 to F1? This is a question that many people have probably asked themselves. Nevertheless, a general response is not always possible since each case needs to be considered individually. Applying to university or higher education programs, as we have mentioned in other articles, requires a particular type of visa, the F1 visa. If, on the other hand, you apply to vocational centers or institutions that offer art or improvisation courses, for example, you must request an M1 visa.

Whoever requests and gets one of these two visas approved has some benefits or rights that he/she can exercise if certain conditions are met. For example, if you have a wife or children, you can request a visa for them so that they can accompany you during the study period. Those individuals that the owner of the F1 or M1 visa categories can invite to the United States will have to carry out a process that will grant them the F2 or M2 visa status.

However, what happens if a person that has the F2 visa and resides temporarily in the United States decides that he/she would like to get a job or carry out vocational studies legally. In that case, the person must request a change of status but must also carefully consider the requirements and conditions of the visa. Failure to do so may result in a serious infraction with serious consequences.

The person with the F2 or M2 visa must remember that with this visa he/she can still study as long as the study plan does not generate any certificate of graduation or diploma of any kind, and its intensity is less than eighteen (18) hours per week. However, as far as work is concerned, everyone interested must bear in mind that this visa status does not allow working legally in the United States for any reason. If the person wishes to get enrolled in a college, or a university, or work legally, they will have to make the request and go through the corresponding process.

The application for the change of status from F2 to F1 will require a process similar to applying for the F1 visa for the first time. It´s necessary for authorities to carry out an assessment of the admission documents, with a minimum of 120 days in advance, in addition to the necessary financial inquiries that demonstrate that the student can endure economically in the United States.

There´s something you must keep in mind if you do request a change of status. The M1 visa forces the student to leave the country within a maximum period of thirty days after finishing the curricular program. This implies that if the person´s spouse or parents must remain in the country for a longer period of time because of their own study program, he/she will have to separate from them due to the nature of the visa.

The thing is that nobody can have two types of visas at the same time so you will need to cancel the F2 or M2, in order for it to be replaced by an F1 or M1 visa. The first step is to be admitted to an academic institution before the process of status modification. The admission certificate will be required by authorities and must be attached with the forms.

Universities, colleges and community colleges, which should I choose?

With a student visa, you can access a higher education in the United States and thus develop your knowledge and increase your chances of a better future. However, it´s necessary to take certain things into consideration since not all educational centers offer the same services or have the same requirements. There are at least three different categories that can be mentioned in terms of academic institutions.
You could choose to attend a university, for example. They are generally big educational centers, in which all the faculties are congregated. These are pretty much the institutions we´re used to seeing on Hollywood films about fraternities or sororities. In these centers they offer intermediate courses with a duration of two years, you can also find undergraduate courses, that last about four years, and also postgraduate and master’s degrees which last around three years. You could say that universities are, in general terms, the most complete educational institutions since their curriculum is very thorough. Some renowned universities are Harvard, Stanford or Yale.
Colleges, on the other hand, are institutions that specialize in programs that correspond mainly to undergraduate or intermediate careers. Keep in mind that the studies that you will carry out here will be somewhat different and less intense. You can also find specialized colleges in different areas, either in the liberal arts or in the sciences, for example, marine or geological studies, etc. You could say that in colleges the educational orientation is more pragmatic than in universities, and many students decide to attend a college first and afterward apply to a university.

The other option is to study in a community college in which programs last around two years. This is the lightest and least demanding option regarding schedule, but also the one that offers the slightest chance of a future professional or undergraduate career. These institutions are more accessible if you´re looking to study abroad since their requirements for being accepted are less demanding. For example, the minimum score you need on English tests such as TOEFL, to be accepted in a community college, is not as high as it would be if you wanted to study a postgraduate degree in a university.

Each of these general categories could be subdivided into other categories if the economic element is taken into consideration. For example, costs could vary if the educational center is financed publicly or privately. This meaning that some universities or community colleges will be much more expensive than others, even if they offer the same courses.

If you decide to study in a United States university, college or community college, we can assist you with the visa application process so that you can We are available to Making a well-informed choice like this will obviously take some time, and you could make the best choice if you have some sort of guidance about the subject. This way you won´t have to waste your money or make mistakes you could avoid due to your lack of experience. is a platform that specializes in these issues and has the ability to help you in these crucial subjects. We could give you the guidance you need regarding the type of visa and also which academic institution suits you the most, according to your specific situation and desires. So get started on your visa application process today and get a quality higher education in the United States of America.

Planning on studying English in the USA? Here´s what you need to know

Every year thousands of students enter the United States with the goal of learning English as a second language. Summer is usually the busiest season for English learning institutions. Studying English in the US is, without a doubt, a good way to get to know the country. There are also many people that have already studied English in their home countries but wish to strengthen their skills in a country where English is the national language.

There are thousands of English academies spread throughout the country. These institutions are dedicated exclusively to language teaching, focusing on English for foreigners or native speakers of other languages. It´s of the utmost importance that they are authorized by the government to issue a document known as I-20, since without this documents you cannot get a student visa.

There are also other options at your disposal such as studying at a college or university, you could also spend a high school academic year enrolled in a public or private school, or you could also hire a private teacher. This last option is only possible for people who have a type of visa that allows them to reside in the US, temporarily or permanently, while attending classes.

Many academies also offer specialized classes, such as private speaking lessons, accent improvement or preparation for specialized exams such as the TOEFL, which many schools request. The programs to study English as a second language are very diverse. Nonetheless, there is a schedule that could be considered standard which is 20 hours of lessons a week of overall English. These classes usually include time dedicated to grammar, conversation, vocabulary, and writing.

As we have mentioned in past articles you need an F-1 visa to study in the USA. In order to obtain it, the academy to which you want to apply needs to issue a form known as I-20 and must be authorized by the American authorities to enroll foreign students. The SEVIS is also necessary. If you feel disappointed by the academy you chose, for any reason, it is possible to request a visa transfer to another academic institution.

Visa procedures can take some time and we don´t recommend that you buy plane tickets or pay tuition fees if you don´t have your visa in your possession. Remember that you cannot study English for 20 hours a week or more with a tourist visa since that would be considered a migratory violation. F-1 visas have a very strict policy regarding what type of work can be done in very specific situations. Accepting paid work such as waiting tables, babysitting, etc., is prohibited and is also considered a violation of the visa.

It´s very common that citizens from countries included in the Visa Waiver Program travel to the US for periods of less than three months and simultaneously enroll in English academies to receive classes. However, this may constitute a violation of US laws and could mean serious consequences, such as the impossibility of obtaining a visa when one is requested. Always remember not to exceed 19 hours of classes per week to avoid any kind of problems.

You should also know that some J-1 exchange programs are perfect for practicing English and living the US experience, for example working as summer camp staff or applying for a visa to work and travel in the US in the summer. The latter are legal ways of working in the USA, directed towards university students from other countries. Get started on your visa application today for further guidance on these subjects.

What happens in case I need to go through a second inspection at the border?

The vast majority of people who need to pass a secondary inspection at the border will have no problem and will be allowed to enter after a short delay. It´s also possible that in certain cases a foreigner is authorized to enter the country but is given an order to appear before an immigration judge.

This only happens if the immigration officer decides so (it´s not the foreigner’s right) and as a prerequisite, it´s necessary to at least have a valid visa. This means this does not apply to persons authorized to travel without a visa, including those in the Visa Waiver Program, which will not be sent to a judge if problems surge.

Could an immigration officer ban my entry to the US and send me back home even with a visa?

This is a possibility, approximately 210,000 people a year are banned from entering and returned to the place where their trip originated.

In these cases two situations can occur:

  • That the immigration officer accepts a withdrawal of the request to enter the US, which is the most convenient.
  • That immigration authorities order an immediate expulsion, with which the affected person is prohibited from returning to the United States for five years. In addition, your current visa will be canceled. And if it´s a person on the Visa Waiver Program, this individual will not be able to travel with the ESTA and will need to previously request a visa to travel.

You must take into consideration that in order for a foreign person to enter the United States, he or she must meet two conditions: be eligible and be admissible. Having a valid visa or being from a country that allows traveling without a visa is not enough.

What should I do if they always send me to a secondary inspection? What if there´s wrong information about me in the system?

The DHS has a system to communicate these sorts of complaints in order to attempt to correct possible errors. What you need to understand is that foreigners don´t have a right to enter the United States, even if they have a valid visa; therefore, there is no violation of a right that doesn´t exist. You cannot sue since there is no right to demand. Yes, you can try to fix mistakes or let time pass in case you were punished for certain actions.

To consider

It´s possible that a person who has never had any problem to enter the US faces trouble one day. That could be because certain elements can be interpreted and analyzed differently, according to the immigration officer that you get. It´s also possible that information, recent or old, contained in TECS requires a second inspection. We insist, an approved visa doesn´t mean you automatically get to enter the United States, you still need to pass border control, and you will have to answer another whole set of questions there. We know this whole procedure could seem aggressive or plain rude to many, but we also ask you to put things in perspective. A country has the right to protect its borders and, in the end, this is all for your own security too. Contact us at Visa USA Now for more information on how to get started with your visa application or any other concern you may have regarding tourist or student visas.

What information does the US immigration control have on me?

If you already have a visa or if you´re thinking of requesting one, you have probably asked yourself, what information does the US have on me? Will those crazy photos I posted from summer vacation blow up on my face when I´m attempting to enter the country? The truth is, through the TECS system, officers in immigration controls have access to broad information about foreigners who wish to enter the United States. But, what kind of information does TECS contain? What problems can surface?

TECS is a computer platform managed by the Border Control Police (CBP), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This is, in other words, a system where various agencies submit information about foreigners who want to access the USA so that CBP officers can verify it. Some of the agencies that provide information are:

  • The FBI
  • US embassies and consulates
  • Courts of Justice
  • The IRS, which is the United States tax office
  • The local and state police

What systems operate within TECS and how do they affect travelers?

US-VISIT. Upon arriving at the US Customs, a photo and fingerprints are requested to all foreigners. This system compares those fingerprints with those you provided at the time of applying for the visa at your local consulate or embassy. This is a way of preventing that anyone uses another person´s passport to try to enter the United States. It´s also useful for preventing foreigners with two passports from trying to use one of them when US authorities already denied their visa application with the other.

For example, if a Mexican who is also from Spain applied for the visa as a Mexican and the application was rejected, then this person cannot attempt to eventually access the USA with the passport from Spain, considering the fact that the citizens from Spain don´t need a tourist visa. With the US-VISIT system, the customs officer can recognize that he is dealing with a person whose visa was rejected visa and that this prevents this person from entering the country.

APIS is the system with which the airlines inform US authorities that a foreigner has bought an airline ticket and intends to travel to the United States. Among the information they convey is your name, surname, date of birth, gender, and place where the passport was issued.

Airlines also inform US authorities when a foreigner boards on one of their aircraft when leaving the United States. This way CBP can immediately know if the foreigner has exceeded the authorized stay. Remember that if you don´t leave on time, even if it´s only a few hours, authorities will cancel your visa and if you´re on the Visa Waiver Program you will no longer be able to enjoy that privilege.

IAFIS. This is a large database of fingerprints from the FBI, to which local and state police authorities have previously sent information. This way immigration control can know almost immediately if the foreigner who wishes to enter the United States has a criminal record, and can proceed to arrest or expel this person. Currently, IAFIS hosts more than 55 million records, it´s the largest database in the world of this kind.

In most cases, the whole process of accessing the US border will be very quick. Currently, more than 900,000 people pass through the US borders on a daily basis. An average of 32,000 daily cases will require a second inspection. From that last figure, about 15 people will be required to provide information from their electronic devices, such as cell phones, computers, cameras, tablets, etc. Nonetheless, these are very extraordinary cases and generally respond to issues related to national security, terrorism or horrendous crimes such as child pornography or drug trafficking.

Always remember that even if you already have the visa you still have to pass the US Customs control, and officers will ask you a whole other set of questions there, so you must be prepared. In Visa USA Now we are specialists on the whole visa procedure, so just contact us for professional and useful advice on this matter, and get started today.

Some pointers on how to complete the DS-160 form

It´s important that you´re prepared to complete the DS-160 form. Before entering the website to fill out the application, it´s important that you have some information ready including:

  • The valid passport of each applicant
  • Previous passports that include data from previous trips (to the United States or to other countries)
  • In case you already had a US visa, you should provide the corresponding documents
  • Information about the parents of each applicant (even if the parents are deceased) their dates and places of birth
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of relatives in the United States.
  • Information about where you´ll be staying in the United States (name, address, telephone number of the hotel or contact where you will be staying)

What should I keep in mind when completing the DS-160 form?

It´s crucial to respond clearly and completely, with accurate and honest information. Answering “not applicable” is not acceptable if you don´t answer the question (for example, answering “not applicable” to the question “child’s name” (if you have children) would not be sufficient and would cause delays in the procedure.

If the answers on the form are not complete and accurate the applicant will face delays on the day of the interview. The applicant will need to complete a new application and return another day. If the applicant doesn´t answer every question that has a direct relation to their cases, their request may be rejected. Keep in mind that in every application you need to prove strong economic and social ties outside the United States.

Are there any questions in Spanish? Can my answers be in Spanish?

No, but you can look for the help of a professional translator or use a digital translator.

All the answers to your DS-160 form must be in English, using characters in English only. DS-160 forms that are answered in any other language other than English may be rejected so you may need to complete the entire process again.

What happens if I need to fill out information in my native language?

Although the form should be answered in English and you need to use English characters, you must use data in your native language when the DS-160 form asks to provide your address, your full name or any information in your native alphabet.

It should be noted that letters such as ñ, é, ü etc., are not recognized by the system. For example, names like Peñalosa and González, should be written Penalosa, and Gonzalez.

Are all the fields of the DS-160 format mandatory?

The vast majority of fields in the DS-160 format are required. You can leave empty only the fields that say “Optional”. Some fields can also be filled with the “does not apply” option. If the information of any field isn´t applicable in your case, you may check the box “does not apply”. The rest of the fields must be completed; the digital application won´t let you advance in the process if the boxes marked as mandatory are empty. In this case, an error message will be displayed on your computer screen and you must answer those fields to continue with the next questions. If you do not answer questions that apply to you, your request could be rejected.

Should I save my application before sending it?

Yes, unlike the old DS-156 form, the DS-160 form lets you save the information in order to be reused. Save as often as possible. If for any reason, the internet connection is interrupted during the process, you can re-enter the site and recover the information already loaded without having to start from scratch. We also recommend you save the application yourself, on your computer. So fill out the form and get started on your visa procedure right away!

What is a non-immigrant visa exactly?

Non-immigrant visas allow a foreigner to visit, study, invest or work for a specific time in the United States. The general rule is that foreigners who want to temporarily enter the US need a visa, although there are exceptions. Non-immigrant visas are different to immigrant visas, which become residency cards.

Which countries don´t need a visa to temporarily visit the United States?

For visits under 90 days to the United States as a tourist, citizens of any of the countries included in the US Visa Waiver Program may enter the country without a visa. These individuals need to fill in an ESTA electronically before starting their trip. If your application is rejected, you must go to the corresponding consular office and request a visa. Also, if your visit is for work or study reasons, then you must apply to the corresponding visa, even if you´re going to stay in the US for less than three months.

Canadian citizens also don´t need a visa, except for very limited exceptions, such as having previously violated their immigration status, being the spouse of a permanent legal resident or of an American citizen. The same applies to citizens of the British territory of Bermuda, as long as their stay is less than 180 days.

Finally, Mexican citizens and permanent legal residents in that country who live along the US border can cross over to the United States using the Border Crossing Card, known as a laser visa, which must be issued by a consular office in Mexico. Every person not included in the previous groups need a visa to visit, study, do business, receive medical treatment or work temporarily in the US.

Examples of nonimmigrant visas

Multiple types of visas are included in this category, the most common ones are these types of visa:

  • B1 / B2, tourist, pleasure or business.
  • F1 / M1 student or vocational.
  • G4 for employees of international organizations based in the United States such as the IMF, the UN or the OAS.
  • J-1 for professionals in exchange situations, academics, nannies, etc.
  • Or for people with special abilities in the Arts, Sports, Education, Science or Business.

Visa USA Now specializes in tourist and student visas, which are included in the non-immigrant visa category.

You must keep in mind that in the case of non-immigrant visas, the immigration officer at the airport or any port of entry has the decision of letting you in or not in their hands. The officer may deny the access to the US to the holder of a valid non-immigrant visa if he suspects that the foreign person is actually looking to remain in the US permanently.

Should I be present when applying for the visa?

Except for very specific exceptions, such as applying for a G-4 to work in international organizations, all applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must go to the consulate the day they are called for an interview. Minors or elders, as a general rule, use the services of a courier company approved by the Embassy to carry out all their procedures.