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No limit on how many times you can apply for a visa, but...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014    

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Q: I recently applied for a visa, and was denied. How soon can I reapply?

A: The answer depends on why the visa was refused. Only around three in 10 applicants are refused a visa when they apply. In most cases, this is because they were unable to demonstrate to the consular officer that they were planning on coming back to Jamaica. In these cases, it is best to wait until your circumstances have changed before you reapply.

There is no limit on how many times an applicant can apply, however, consular officers review the notes from your last application, and if your situation has not changed significantly since then, it is highly unlikely that you will get a different result.

Even if there has been a major change in your life, such as starting a new job, in many cases the consular officer would like to see some time elapse after the change to show that the change is permanent and your situation in Jamaica is stable.

If you were refused under a different section of the law, there might be other things to consider besides how strong your ties are to Jamaica. For example, previous abuse of a visa including overstaying and working in the US can result in a five to 10-year ban on entering the US.

Other visa ineligibilities such as fraud, misrepresentation, or certain criminal acts can result in permanent bans. In certain circumstances a waiver may be available. The consular officer will advise you if this applies to your situation. You can read more about ineligibilities and waivers here: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/general/ineligibilities.html.

In most cases, however, if you were previously denied a visa for having weak ties to Jamaica, you can reapply and be issued a visa in the future if you are later able to show stronger ties. For example, sometimes students or young people do not always qualify right out of school, but after they are able to show a better employment history, good previous travel to other countries, or stronger social ties, they can qualify in the future. Similarly, if someone just started a small business when they were first interviewed, but can show how the business has grown and developed over a few years, they would be more likely to qualify for a visa the next time they interview.

You can find more information about how to travel to the US on our website, www.kingston.usembassy.gov. Keep on top of Embassy news on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Embassy-Jamaica and by following USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general visa questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Embassy staff in Kingston will answer questions you may have regarding the US Mission, including consular law, regulations and/or practice. In order to respect privacy, staff will not answer questions about specific visa applications. The embassy employs a visa appointment system, so it is only necessary for visa applicants to arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment.

Send your questions to: editorial@jamaicaobserver. com and we will send them to the embassy.

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