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Tourist Visa Denied: What Now?

Tourist Visa Denied: What Now?

During this vacation season, Florida is filled with Brazilians enjoying various shopping and entertainment opportunities. However, many had their plans frustrated—a denial at the American consulate in Brazil often becomes an invisible wall that separates Brazilians from the dream of visiting Orlando. The question we always receive is: Why does this happen, and how can the situation be reversed?

The tourist visa, also known as B2, is what is called a non-immigrant visa: that is, a visa to come and visit and then return without immigrating permanently to the country. What happens, however, is that a section of the federal immigration law creates a barrier that, for many, becomes almost insurmountable. Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that “Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for a visa, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status.” Thus, the immigrant has two important steps to fulfill: (1) first, demonstrate that they qualify for a tourist visa (e.g., have no disqualifying crimes, no deportations or immigration law violations, etc.); (2) and second, manage to overcome the so-called “immigration presumption,” which basically considers them “guilty” until proven otherwise.

In other words, the Brazilian who wants to obtain a tourist visa must prove that they have strong ties to Brazil, which serve as a guarantee of their return: a good job, studies, family, properties, etc. A person who had their case denied because of this presumption can try to reapply for a visa, this time with more robust evidence, including everything that can link them to Brazil, including health plans, cars, etc. It should be noted that invitation letters and declarations from family members do not help in this regard.

It is known that, unfortunately, many consular officers judge by appearance and simply deny the case without looking at it. This directly contradicts the guidelines of the law – however, the foreigner has no appeal options, as they do not have the right to sue the government in court in the United States. Thus, the Brazilian with their case denied has only two recourses: contact the “LegalNet” department of the American Department of State, which conducts a superficial review of certain requests alleging legal or factual errors; or try to resubmit their petition.

Finally, we remind you that many Brazilians resort to travel agencies or facilitators to file tourist visa petitions with the American consulate, which has caused serious problems. Many of these service providers make errors in the form, failing to include important data (such as a criminal record or previous visits to the United States), and worse: they do not include their names and contact information as the “preparers” of the form and send it to the consulate as if they were the applicant themselves. We have seen many cases where the American consulate or airport authorities prohibit the entry of Brazilians, alleging that they committed fraud in the visa application due to omissions or discrepancies. And this situation is not corrected with an “I didn’t know.” This is because it is the foreigner’s name that appears when signing the document, not the service provider’s.

Thus, taking the entire visa application process seriously, from the form to the evidence of strong ties to Brazil, guarantees better chances of success.