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221(g) You have been found Ineligible, Visa Denied !

What should you do and what does it mean when you receive the following after your failed Fiance or Spouse Visa interview?. One of the scariest moments your fiance might have is when she is handed a letter with the above message during or immediately after the visa interview at the consulate.

221(g) Denial

The Consulate General is unable to issue a visa to you because you have been found ineligible under the following section (s) of the U.S. immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 221(g) of the Act prohibits the issuance of a visa to anyone who has failed to present documents required in connection with the visa application or who has failed to submit sufficient credible evidence to support the claimed petitioner relationship.

Section 221(g) is the most common refusal for immigrant visas.

The CRITICAL portion of a 221(g) refusal letter, are the next paragraph that comes after the above introduction. Either it lists what is MISSING from your application, offering you a second chance to provide them, or tells you the case is "on its way back to USCIS". I call these soft and hard denials.

There is another type of soft denial, when the consulate advises the case is being held for additional processing. This is called Administrative Processing, and I will talk about AP in a future newsletter.

You don’t want to get a 221(g) letter at all, but if you DO get one, you want a Soft denial. A soft denial means your petition is still in play, you still are in the running to be approved for the visa. You just need to carefully respond, IN FULL.

Missing documents could be something simple like a birth certificate, tax return or police clearance. Or might be something much more involved. You could get the all inclusive “provide evidences that prove your relationship is bone fide”. Of course, a convincing demonstration that your relationship is bone fide is the major objective of the front loaded presentations VisaCoach would have created for you if you were wise enough to hire VisaCoach at the start of your case. So far, no client who submitted a VisaCoach Front Loaded Presentation. has ever received a 221(g) letter asking for more relationship proofs.

It's Not Too Late.

If your DIY attempt was not of VisaCoach’s high standards, and you now need to “catch up” at the interview, it is not too late. Under 221(g), the consular officer has kindly offered you a second chance to show better proofs. "Kindly" is used, because he could just as easily given you a "hard" denial with no opportunity to respond. You usually have ample time to properly reply, BUT you have only ONE more chance. You must make this last effort count. It is far better to take extra time to do a thorough job and win your visa, then to rush to submit an incomplete answer leading to denial.

Back to Belinda. She called me to talk about her denied K1 Fiance Visa. She had known her Cuban fiance for a year, traveled to meet him, then waited two more years before submitting a fiance visa petition. USCIS received her petition just under the 2 year filing deadline. She had hired a “paralegal” to help her to fill in the blanks. What she and the paralegal didn’t understand, was that claiming you want to marry and spend a life with someone, but also allowing a long, extended separation, does not look particularly convincing vis a vis the bone fides of your relationship. Yes, it is within the eligibility rules to submit a petition, without having seen your fiance face to face for the past 23 and 3/4 months, however the appearance of being a genuine couple is sorely damaged.

221(g) Denial