The B-2 Visitor visa (also known as a tourist visa)[1] is a nonimmigrant visa that allows for a foreign national to visit the United States for the purpose of pleasure or medical treatment and lasts for a maximum period of six months. Once in the U.S., you can apply for an extension for up to an additional six months. However, you cannot exceed more than one consecutive year on this status. Overstaying your visa will likely result in serious immigration consequences. The permitted length of stay on a B-2 visa will be determined at the legal port of entry.

If you applied for a B-2 Visitor visa and were denied, it may be because you were unable to show nonimmigrant intent, had evidence of fraud, a criminal record, previous immigration violations, or other grounds of inadmissibility.[2]

1. Denial Based on Nonimmigrant Intent

You must provide proof that you do not intend to stay in the U.S. once your visa expires and do not have plans to use the visa for something other than its intended purpose (such as working).

You must prove that the reason for your trip is for pleasure or to seek medical treatment, you plan to stay for only a limited time, and that you have sufficient funds (to return home and to stay in the U.S. during your travels without working). You must also show that you have ties to your home country, such as a residence (home or apartment), schooling, or family.

During your consular interview to obtain your visa, you will be expected to provide evidence to prove nonimmigrant intent. Some important documents to provide convincing proof includes your travel itinerary (hotel reservations and return flight tickets), home and apartment leases, bank statements, etc.

Answers that you provide during the visa interview at the U.S. consulate carry considerable weight. You must identify your reason for travel and be sure that your answers make sense for the visa you are applying for. Saying you want to travel so you can get married to your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) or for work opportunities will likely lead to a denial.

2. Denial Based on Fraud 

Lying or covering up facts when providing documents for your visitor visa application can create a conflict. You must be honest in your application, noting any past criminal convictions or family members residing in the U.S. Fraud may also be an issue if your file shows previous lies regarding U.S. visas you have obtained or applied for in the past. Submitting false information is visa fraud and is cause for a denial.

3. Denial Based on Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record either in the U.S. or home country, a history of espionage, or are connected to any terrorist groups, you are likely to be denied a B-2 visa and deemed inadmissible to the U.S. However, not all crimes are grounds for a denial and you may eligible to apply for an inadmissibility waiver which would allow you to obtain a visa.[3]

4. Denial Based on Previous Immigration Violations

It may be difficult to prove that you will not violate the terms of a visitor visa if you have previously overstayed a past visa or spent time in the U.S. without authorization. Any unlawful presence in the U.S. of up to 180 days could result in an automatic bar of entry of three years. If you have stayed in the U.S. with unlawful presence of a year or more, you could be facing a ten-year bar.

5. Denials Based on Other Grounds of Inadmissibility

There is an extensive list formed by U.S. immigration laws on reasons of inadmissibility into the U.S. Some examples include if you have a communicable disease (e.g. tuberculosis), drug abuse or addiction, drug trafficking record, prostitution record, or are likely to become a public charge (dependent on public assistance or welfare). However, some may be eligible for an inadmissibility waiver.