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Are US Tourist Visa Applications Often Denied by the US Embassy?

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today, we are going to discuss a topic that I have discussed fairly frequently on this channel but I never really made a specific video where I just get right to the point of it. 

This question comes up frequently out here.  Why do tourist visas often get denied to Thai Nationals? And I would say that that is actually something of a misnomer. I don’t think that tourist visas often get denied to Thai Nationals. I think that tourist visas often get denied to Thai Nationals who have a relationship with an American Citizen or lawful permanent resident for that matter. And basically, what am I talking about here?  Well there are many Americans who come over to Thailand to live, work, or for recreational purposes. They meet someone in Thailand and they want to bring them over to the United States and they want to show them around the US. Sometimes, people can be romantically involved with these individuals, it seems to be more often than not that that is the case but I have done cases for folks that weren’t necessarily romantically involved with anyone. It was more just a friendly kind of a thing.  

Pursuant to what’s called Section 214(b) of the Immigration Nationality Act, which I specifically discuss at length on another specific video called 214(b) of the Immigration Nationality Act. We discuss the analysis the Consular Officers have to make with respect to strong ties to the country, namely Thailand, or a third country outside of the United States and weak ties to the United States.   A relationship, romantic or otherwise, with an American Citizen can trigger certain mechanisms in a Consular Office’s analysis of an application for a US visa which can cause them to basically scratch their heads and say “Hey, does this constitute a relatively strong tie to the United States?’ A strong romantic relationship I think clearly does. Things like fiancée and marital relationships clearly constitute a strong tie to the US and in those circumstances, the American citizen needs to just show that they in fact are tied to Thailand especially like a married situation, you know a work permit in Thailand, something like this can go a long way in showing their strong ties to Thailand which will show that that individual Thai that may be married to an American citizen is going to come back. 

That being said, pursuant to the Doctrine of Consular Absolutism, or non-reviewability a Consular officer in the context of 214(b) analysis, have wide discretion with respect to making factual decisions on the ground and  their factual decisions and their interpretations of the law arising therefrom, is going to be virtually considered non-reviewable. It is non-reviewable in fact. It is not subject to an appeal or anything. So basically, yes it’s unfortunate in so far as you do see a fair number of denials, especially for those Thai nationals who have a relationship with an American citizen but based on 214(b) and based pm the legal and policy tools granted to Consular officers who are adjudicating visa applications in Thailand, they’re operating well within their bailiwick in denying such applications and I shouldn’t say unfortunately but I do, for those who don’t understand how this legal analysis works, it can be very frustrating because they simply think “well I applied, and we presented documentation and we were just sort of summarily denied”. There’s a reason for that, there’s a framework under which these consular officers have to operate, have to analyze cases and under that framework, and with the tools that they are given, they are going to very often, in fact it’s my experience, kind of more often than not, are probably going to find that those Thai nationals with relationships to American citizens don’t meet the test under 214 (b) and therefore, need to be denied pursuant to the Immigration Nationality Act.