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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Various reasons Why Visa applications get rejected!

While some country passports are extremely powerful and lets you travel without visa across half the world, rest of us are not that privileged. We need visa for almost every country in the world and Visa processing can take few days to several weeks costing several thousands of rupees. Issuing or denying Visa is at the discretion of any sovereign country and VISA applications do get rejected at times for various reasons.
Representative image, intentionally blurred to hide data
Visa rejection can be devastating- it can spoil your travel plans, cost you money (paid for visa processing and rest of travel) and can even put future visa applications to additional scrutiny.  Embassies are not bound to disclose why they rejected your application. You are lucky if they give one. In this post, I am sharing a set of examples and possible reasons that can cause your Visa application rejected.

1. Applying wrong visa category
A senior citizen from Kerala, was visiting US Consulate for Visa. His daughter is apparently is at a big position in a telecom company in US and wanted her dad to come and stay with her in US. She had applied for an immigration visa on behalf of his father (which implies applicant wishes to permanently relocate to US). However, it looks like father had other priorities. When the consulate officer asked him if he intends to relocate to US, the old gentleman said  “No, No, I wish to stay in my home town in Kerala, I don’t want to move to US- my daughter is forcing me- I said I will only visit for short time”. The kind consulate officer got a Malayalee translator and made him understand the question in his native language. The old man repeated his statement. Now naturally, the officer can’t issue a tourist visa against permanent residency application, so application had to be rejected.

Please note that agencies like VFS (or any other agency) are not supposed to advise you which category you should apply. That decision should be taken by the applicant. If your case is tricky (i.e not the typical tourist visa/work permit etc) then do additional research and verify what is the right category. There was an example where a US citizen was deported from UK, because he came to give talk at a tech event and was to get some compensation, which immigration officials thought qualifies as work and not permitted under Visa waiver program (applicable for tourism/business only)

2. Technical Errors
-A couple got married on an earlier date but marriage registration was done six months later. Husband had US visa and wife was applying for dependent visa. In her application form, wife entered the actual date of wedding. But on that date, husband’s identity was ‘Single’ because agency that processed his visa had given wedding registration date (date as in marriage certificate as date of marriage.) Usually people get married first and then go for registration- may be honeymoon and few weeks later. This small error meant authorities were not convinced that the duo are married to each other.

-Officials processing visa won’t be knowing you in person and need to make their decision purely based on what you submit with the application. So you should ensure that application is error free and justifies your purpose.

-Fellow blogger Antarik had his UK Visa rejected, because he won a trip but embassy staff thought sponsoring company and his employer are different so something is not right

- Photo guideline violation- submitting photos of wrong dimension or using old photographs etc can cause rejection, as any non compliance may be considered as an attempt to mislead/misrepresent your identity.

- Incomplete applications, passports with little validity left, damaged passports, mismatch between date of arrival and date of hotel booking and such errors can result in rejection.

- China has a policy that it will not give visa to applicants from disputed areas (China considers Arunachal Pradesh a disputed area and rejected visa to an Arunachal Pradesh based sports officials- details here)

3. Previous visa violations
Previous Visa rejections, overstaying Visa limit, any criminal charges, deportations, found to be working on a tourist visa and such incidents are duly registered in the immigration systems and immediately popup when you apply next time. If you have such incidents, do include a covering letter explaining why it wont happen again or why you should be reconsidered.

4. Not traveling
Got a visa but didn’t travel: Better to include a cover letter and explain why you didn’t travel last time (like family emergency or meeting got cancelled etc). Makes decision easier for the concerned officials.

5. Selecting wrong agency- Do not avail services of an agency whose credibility is not proven. Lots of small shops which display VISA related services usually just act as sub-agent for a larger agency. When multiple agencies and hands are involved, it is likely that things might get mixed up somewhere, with no one owning the responsibility. Go with only reputed agencies or where possible deal with embassy directly. Be extra cautious about people who claim to know how to trick the system and get you things you aren’t really eligible or very unlikely to get in through normal channel (example, someone promising long term visas/work visas etc)

When the timelines are tight or when you feel you may not get required visa under normal process, temptation will be very high to try trick the system. Don't even think about it. Be warned that embassies worldwide have enough technology and experienced staff to detect potential fraudsters.

6. Applying tourist VISA immediately after graduation:
Consulate may suspect that you might try to seek employment at the destination country and may deny VISA, particularly if that country is seen as heaven for job seekers. So if you are fresh out of college and looking for a holiday, do either of the following
-    Go to countries that give Visa on Arrival
-    Delay your trip till you get some job offer in hand
-    Strengthen your application with sufficient proof of funds, clear travel itinerary, hotel bookings and or invite letters

7. Not having enough bank balance
Many countries ask for 3 month bank statement along with visa application. This is to assess if you will have enough funds to support your travel and if you have a steady source of income back home to motivate you to come back. Ensure that statement you attach shows your salary credits and has few lakhs balance. (No one can be sure what amount is deemed adequate by the authorities, but in general, it should be greater than what it costs to live in the destination country for the duration of your travel – hotel+ food+ travel expenses for X days)

Also the statement should be consistent- like if you are a salaried person there should be similar amount credited monthly. Otherwise there should be good money in the account all through the statement period. If the balance has been in triple digits all through the year and jumps to 6 digits 2 days before application, any vigilant visa officer will get suspicious.

8. Bookings rooms that have zero cancellation fees or on unreliable portals
If your accommodation offers free cancellation or if you have booked yours stay on some unknown portal, authorities may suspect your motive and may conclude you are not 100% committed to the plan.

9. Unable to establish clear purpose and motive
If you are applying for tourist visa or student visa, embassy officials try to ensure that you have a clear motive to return to home country after the intended purpose. If you can't establish that you will come back (no job, no family/property etc) officials may suspect you will become an illegal worker.

If you are applying for student visa/work permit you should have strong academic records/proven skill sets etc to justify your application. If these supporting documents are not convincing you face higher risk of rejection.

A Salem based friend of mine was rejected Australia tourist visa years ago- he was freelancing and didn't have steady income, he was single and didn't own any property. Embassy staff probably thought him as a high risk (that he might not return). However, now he is married, has steady income and proper IT returns-he got visa and had is fun trip to Australia recently.

10. Your interview, conduct and behavior at Embassy
While some countries issue visa without a physical visit to the embassy, in many instances a visit will be required. Not knowing what is entered in the form can be a big risk- always fill the form yourself or at least read it completely and be familiar with what is filled in there. Giving conflicting answers or not being able to justify what is submitted will result in rejection. Poor English speaking ability can also cause rejection in case of work/student visa. There could be delays and other issues when you visit the embassy. It is important to stay calm, comply with all guidelines and be courteous with the staff. If you show your temper or enter into argument, you might be inviting trouble. Stay calm, do not use your phone if not allowed.

Criminal records and drug cases are likely to result in instant rejection. Please stay on the right side of the law.

Note that this post only lists some of the possibilities, with the sole intention that genuine applicants do not face rejection because of silly mistakes. Being allowed into a foreign country is a privilege, not a right. Every application is evaluated on its own merit, so what happened with others may or may not happen to you. There could be more reasons why an application could face rejection. It is in your best interest to be honest and truthful with the purpose of your travel and comply with all specified guidelines.

Have you ever been refused visa? Do share your experience.

Getting visa is one thing. Crossing immigration is another. Read my other post on crossing international borders here.

Similar: Australia tourist visa for Indians * Malaysia tourist visa for Indians * Dubai Tourist visa * Independence day celebrations at Indian Embassy in Denmark *  Hong Kong visa on arrival potential issues for Indian nationals

6 comments :

Mridula said...

I do bend over backwards to present a complete case while applying for a visa. I agree it is a privilege. And I like the visa on arrival countries a lot more for the ease of visiting!

Atulmaharaj said...

Quite helpfu ! I've no idea as to how immigration stuff works, so this is definitely helpful for me. Thanks for sharing !

Prasad Np said...

Sir this is one of the most useful post for Visa aspirants to any country.. sharing further..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Prasad- Thanks Sir

@Atul- Glad to know it is useful

@Mridula- Yes, extra cover letter always helps. You know best

Soumya Nambiar said...

This post is helpful for people who are traveling outside the country for the first time. One of my friends got her US business visa rejected last week. Reason given was 'Potential immigrant'. She has never traveled outside the country and is single as well. I have heard that it is much more difficult for single people in their 20s and 30s to get visas.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

True. Soon after graduation best to visit visa on arrival countries. Apply to other countries after getting a job may be.