CR1 Visa Denied: Reasons For Denial and What To Do Next
If there is anything that scares couples more than anything; it’s having your CR1 visa denied. Having your future in the hands of a consular officer is a difficult concept to grasp but it’s the reality. Neither the consulate nor USCIS likes to deny applicants without a valid reason. Whatever the reason for denial, you can overcome it by improving on your case. So the first thing you want to do when you get a notice of intent to deny letter is to take a deep breath. Obviously, this is not the result you wanted for your case but it isn’t the end of your journey.
If USCIS or the consulate denies your application further along in the process, your response will depend on what stage you are in. In most cases, a denial is issued right after the interview if the consular officer found your case lacking evidence. The consulate will give you up to one year after the denial of your visa application to provide additional evidence. Try to respond within 30 days though because your case will be processed quicker.
Denial of Immigrant Visa At U.S. Consulate
After receiving a notice of intent to deny the CR1 spouse visa, you have one year to respond. At the end of the year, your application will close and you must start over again. This is why it’s really important to respond to the denial as quickly as possible. There is no way to appeal from the denial or the closure of your case. I can understand the knee-jerk reaction to apply again quickly without responding to the original denial but this is dangerous. Not only will this cost additional money, but it may alert the U.S. government to look at your case even closer.
Multiple applications that have inconsistencies are a red flag to the adjudicators reviewing your case. If you don’t address the original denial, you run the risk of being denied once again. If you come back a few years later with a new basis for immigration to the U.S. (such as a new husband), USCIS or the consulate will be happy to remind you of any past fraud or other reasons for inadmissibility.
Changing your name won’t work – the U.S. immigration authorities already have your fingerprints! Why do you think they require biometrics information on every applicant? It’s to make sure that people who are denied aren’t attempting to change their identity.
The notice of intent to deny letter will state the reason your CR1 visa was refused. This information is extremely helpful when determining whether to appeal or reapply for the visa. It may be something as simple as the petitioner not meeting the income requirement or missing documents.
Top Reasons For CR1 Visa Denial
It’s best to know the most common reasons for a CR1 visa denial to avoid making a mistake. By putting together a strong I-130 packet, you reduce the risk of being denied after the interview.
- Not meeting the income requirement
- This is probably the most common reason for denial. The petitioner must show that they can financial support the intending immigrant by filling out the I-864 affidavit of support. You must meet 125% of the poverty guideline (100% for active duty military). If you don’t meet the income requirement, you should find a cosponsor that can meet the requirement for their household size plus your spouse.
- You have the option to use liquid assets if your income isn’t enough. Check out this article on using assets instead of income on the affidavit of support.
- You must include supporting evidence for the I-864 such as pay-stubs, W-2 and tax transcripts. If you will be using assets then include bank statements, investment statements, etc.
- Not enough bona fide marriage evidence
- Some of you may be baffled with having to prove your marriage is real, but you really have to. Just being married isn’t enough. USCIS knows that there are many fraudulent visa applicants where the scammers get married for the immigration benefit. You have to provide actual evidence that proves you are not trying to scam the U.S. government.
- A marriage certificate shows that you are legally married but it isn’t enough to prove a bona fide marriage. Include joint assets, life iconsurance policies, photos, birth certificates of children, joint bank statements, joint properties. Of course, you may not have all of this evidence while living in two different countries, but try to include what you can.
- Chat transcripts, phone records and boarding passes are a great ways to show an ongoing relationship.
- You are found inadmissible
- In some cases, you may be found inadmissible to enter the United States. It’s best to know before applying for the visa whether USCIS considers the intending immigrant will not be allowed to enter the U.S.
- Common reasons for inadmissibility are a previous visa overstay, a 3 or 10 year bar, falsely claiming U.S. citizenship and being accused of immigration fraud.
- There is a waiver available (I-601) for those that are inadmissible and this form should be included with the CR1 visa application.
If All Else Fails, Call Your U.S. Congressperson
If your case turns into a nightmare with the USCIS, your last option is to take it to your U.S. congressperson for help. Some even have a staff member that is dedicated to helping those who have immigration problems. A simple inquiry by a congressperson can really do wonders in getting your case reviewed faster. I have seen this tactic end months of USCIS or consulate inaction.
In rare cases, the congressperson’s office might be willing to put pressure on USCIS or consulate on your behalf.
Mark, a U.S. citizen, was trying to get permission for this wife Maria to immigrate from Mexico. He attended her visa interview but was told to come back with more proof that he was financially capable of supporting her and not become a public charge. Although Mark’s income was already over the poverty guidelines level, he found a cosponsor, who submitted the additional Affidavit of Support for Maria.
The consulate still wasn’t willing to grant the visa. Mark then went to an immigration attorney who wrote letters to the consulate – but got no response. Finally his attorney wrote a letter to Mark’s congressperson asking for help. They submitted copies of all the documents to help the congressperson fully understand the case. Within a week – the visa was granted – without an explanation.
Your congressperson is very familiar with these types of issues. Some have even said that 8 out of 10 calls they receive are complaints about USCIS. This bureaucratic division of the U.S. government is not always pleasant to deal with but if you know your options, you have a fighting chance.
Was your CR1 visa denied? If so, did you reapply or appeal the decision? Let me know if the comments below.
Hi! I’m a foreign born Canadian that has immigrated to the United States to marry the love of my life. I successfully navigated the U.S. immigration system all the way to U.S. citizenship. Immigration is a privilege not a right!