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Visa Refusals and Denials

A visa refusal is the denial of a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa application by a U.S. consular officer. The reason for the denial, or ground for ineligibility, is given to the visa applicant at the conclusion of formal review. The table below shows the top 25 reasons for non-immigrant visa denials, with the number one being INA 214(b) - failure to establish entitlement to nonimmigrant status, which is commonly known as the "214b - immigrant intent denial":

Non-immigrant Visa Denials - Fiscal Year 2008
No. Grounds for Refusal Under INA Visa RefusalsPercentage
1214(b)Failure to establish entitlement to nonimmigrant status148147170.32%
2221(g)Application does not comply with provisions of INA or regulations issued pursuant thereto589418 *27.98%
4212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II)Unlawfully present 365 or more days (within 10 years)78490.37%
5212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)Crime Involving Moral Turpitude53080.25%
6212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II)Controlled Substance Violators28410.13%
8212(a)(2)(C)(i)Illicit Trafficker in Any Controlled Substance16070.08%
9212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I)Unlawfully present 181-364 days (within 3 years)15090.07%
10212(a)(9)(C)Unlawfully present after previous immigration violations11890.06%
11212(a)(6)(C)(ii)Falsely claiming citizenship9810.05%
12212(a)(4)Public Charge7430.04%
13212(a)(9)(A)(i)Ordered removed upon arrival4940.02%
14212(a)(9)(A)(ii)Ordered removed or departed while removal order outstanding4810.02%
15212(a)(3)(B)Terrorist Activities4010.02%
16212(a)(2)(C)(ii)Spouse, Son, or Daughter Who Benefited from Illicit Activities of Trafficker3810.02%
17212(f)Presidential proclamation3730.02%
18212(a)(1)(A)(iii)Physical or mental disorder3290.02%
19212(a)(2)(B)Multiple Criminal Convictions3090.01%
20212(a)(1)(A)(i)Communicable Disease2190.01%
21212(a)(3)(A)(i)Espionage, sabotage, technology transfer, etc.2120.01%
22212(a)(1)(A)(iv)Drug Abuser or Addict1890.01%
23222(g)(2)Alien in illegal status, required to apply for new NIV in country of alien's nationality1440.01%
24212(a)(9)(A)(ii)Ordered removed or departed while removal order outstanding multiple removals890.00%
25212(a)(9)(A)(ii)Ordered removed or departed while removal order outstanding convicted aggravated felony660.00%
 All others3510.02%
 Total Grounds of Ineligibility:2106894100.00%

* Majority of refusals under 221(g) are later overcome. "Overcomes" are cases in which an initial decision to deny a visa or suspend processing in a visa case is overcome by the new information or changed circumstances that establishes an applicant's eligibility for the visa (and the visa is then issued).

Source: U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Statistics

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