What Are The Top 5 Reasons That Visas Get Denied?

By Published On: September 26, 2023Categories: Blog, Immigration

What are the top five reasons that Visas get denied? I’m Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, your friendly immigration lawyer in Texas, here to answer all your immigration questions. 

The number one reason Visas get denied is for lack of proper documentation or incomplete forms. With all immigration applications, there’s a very specific way that you need to apply. You need to completely fill out the forms, answering every single question. 

If an answer or question is not applicable to you, you need to write “n/a” or “none” in that slot in the form. You also need to make sure that every piece of evidence that’s requested in the application is included. You don’t leave anything out. 

Why Your Visa Could Be Denied: Legal AdviceNumber two, immigrant intent. All Visas are temporary Visas, with the exception of the L and the H-1B. Every other Visa, the TN, the F1, the B1 B2, all of the alphabet soup Visas, are temporary Visas. Meaning, you’re going to have to prove to the officer that you’re not intending to reside permanently in the United States. 

So, if they have any indication that you are going to do that, then your Visa may get denied. That could look different for different types of applications. An example might be if you’re applying for a tourist Visa and you’re recently resigned from your job, sold your house. 

You may ask how they know these things. That’s going to be different. Sometimes, it’s through questions. Sometimes, it’s through documentation. Sometimes, they have a red flag or a question. Then, they start to ask questions, pull threads, and they discover things. But, immigrant intent is number two. You’re not supposed to intend to immigrate permanently to the United States on a temporary Visa. 

Number three is something called public charge. Public charge essentially is the idea that you might become a burden on the U.S. government and the U.S. taxpayers if you need support. So, the bottom line is, immigration authorities want you to prove that you will be able to support yourself during your time in the United States. If you’re on a Visa that allows you to work and earn money, that’s not going to be an issue. 

If you’re on a Visa that doesn’t allow you to work, for example, a student Visa, you will need to prove that you’re going to have enough money to support yourself living in the United States without working throughout the course of your studies. So, you have to show a significant amount of money in your savings account. Or, family members or relatives who are able to sponsor you or support you during your time in the US. 

Number four, fraud and misrepresentation. If you’ve lied previously on any of your immigration applications and you were discovered, it’s going to make any future applications super hard. And if in the current application they uncover an untruth somewhere in your application, it almost always is going to lead to a denial. They really don’t like dishonesty anywhere in the application, whether it’s something little or something big. 

Finally, five,  is if you have unlawful presence in the United States previously. If you’ve demonstrated that you haven’t followed immigration laws in the past, they’re going to assume that you are not going to follow them in the future. Almost certainly, your application will get denied. You will probably need a waiver in order to be able to get any other type of legal entry into the United States. 


The Visa application process is intricate and unforgiving. Avoiding these top five reasons for denial can significantly improve your chances of success. Ensure your documentation is complete and accurate, establish your temporary intent, demonstrate financial self-sufficiency, maintain honesty, and uphold a clean immigration history. By addressing these key points, you’ll be better equipped to increase your likelihood of obtaining approval.

About the Author: Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

I am the managing partner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. Upon graduating from the University of Texas for college and law school, I received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. My project served the detained families seeking asylum. After my fellowship, I entered private immigration practice. My firm offers family-based immigration, such as greencards and naturalization, deportation defense, and humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA. Everyone at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is bilingual, has a connection to our cause, and has demonstrated a history of activism for immigrants. To us, our work is not just a job. After the pandemic we began offering bankruptcy services in addition to immigration I realized how much lack of information there is in financial literacy resources in Spanish.

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