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221(g) Visa Stamp is Considered a Visa Refusal

3 min read
Visa refusal

Under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), it can be fairly common for an individual to initially be denied when applying for an F-1, H-1B, or another nonimmigrant visa at the U.S. consulate abroad. This broad section covers a wide range of visa application issues, some of which are relatively minor and only temporary. However, as explained here, the INA 221(g) outcome is categorized as a visa refusal. For future visa applications and travelers participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), this clarification is essential.

221(g) Allows Consular Officer to Request Further Information

Denials of visa applications are covered by INA Section 221(g), which is a rather general and broad provision. It instructs consular officers not to issue a visa to an applicant if it appears that the applicant does not meet any legal requirements. Even if the issue is minor or temporary, it is frequently used in practice when there is a problem or additional information is required in a case. It allows the consular officer to request additional documents or examine the case in more detail. It includes cases that cannot be approved due to, for instance, the employer’s petition approval not yet being in the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) system. Also, it applies to cases that require additional security checks.

Cases Can be Approved After 221(g)

Many visa applications are approved after an INA 221(g) refusal is issued because INA 221(g) is so broad. It is possible to clear security checks, update PIMS, and frequently provide documents that are missing. As a result, many people have been denied entry to the United States despite receiving INA 221(g) refusals at various points.

Separately, an applicant may still be eligible for a different visa despite a refusal under INA 221(g). There are numerous scenarios in which, for instance, the consulate will not issue an individual an H1B visa. Because the sponsoring company is unable to provide the required evidence. These people might be able to get different visas through new employers or H-4s through their spouses, for example.

221(g) Must be Revealed on Future Visa Applications

Each applicant is asked on the visa application form whether she has ever been denied a visa. When an INA 221(g) refusal has occurred, the answer to this question is “yes”. This holds true even if the issue that resulted in the INA 221(g) refusal was resolved and the visa was finally issued.

[Tremendous efforts are underway to cut the wait time for issuance of the visa in India]

VWP Traveler May Need a Visa Stamp after a 221(g) Visa Refusal

A VWP traveler processing under the ESTA application follows the same principle. S/he should reveal the INA 221(g) as a disavowal when found out if a visa application has at any point been denied. Instead of using the VWP program, a person who responds “yes”. To this question may need to apply for a visa at the appropriate consulate.

What if Answered Erroneously but Innocently?

Many people have been perplexed as a result of this. In the future, it is essential to provide accurate answers to such questions. If there is a problem with previous incorrect answers. It may be forgiven if it was a genuine error rather than an attempt to provide inaccurate and misleading information.


This is yet another example of how important it is to understand the questions that are asked on forms related to immigration. A question that makes use of legal or technical terms should not be taken at face value. To avoid potential issues, it is best to seek professional legal counsel if anything is unclear. The Murthy Law Firm is able to assist and counsel applicants for visa stamps at any foreign consulate. Also, the group at Murthy Immigration Services, Pvt, Ltd, our associate in Chennai, India, can help people with complete visa applications.

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