DS160 – Have you ever been refused a U.S. Visa?

Answer NO if petition was denied by USCIS. Answer if H1B visa denied by US embassy. Get denial reason from form 221g or 214B refusal. H1B petition vs Visa denial.

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta          Updated  13 Nov, 19

  0    


A common question asked while filling DS 160 form is question:

Have you ever been refused a U.S. Visa, or been refused admission to the United States, or withdrawn your application for admission at the port of entry?

You have to answer “YES” if your any US visa has been denied at US embassy.

DS160 - have you ever been refused US Visa?
DS160 – have you ever been refused US Visa?

You have to answer “NO” if the denial was made by USCIS and not US embassy.

H1B Extension denied, What to fill in DS 160 Visa refusal Question?

If your H1B visa was denied by US embassy outside USA, then you need to answer ‘Yes‘ to this DS 160 question. It does not matter if the petition was denied due to Specialty occupation or employer employee relationship.

If your H1B extension, amendment or transfer was denied by USCIS, then you need to answer ‘No‘ to this DS 160 question.

B1/B2 visa denied

If your business or visitor visa has been denied earlier, then you should answer ‘yes’ to DS 160 question and provide details.

B1/B2 visa does not have to go through USCIS petition approval. It can be applied directly at US embassy.

Has your US visa been Cancelled or Revoked?

You should answer “yes” if US visa has been cancelled or revoked earlier due to any reason whatsoever.

Example:
Most US embassy do cancel your existing visa with “Cancelled without prejudice” stamp if you are applying for renewal.


You should answer “yes” on DS 160 form and then explain the legitimate reason for visa cancellation. No need to worry if the visa was not revoked due to fraud or misrepresentation.
US visa cancelled without prejudice stampHas your US visa ever been cancelled or revoked?

What should I write in DS 160 Explanation?

You should write the real reason behind cancellation.

Example:
1. If you received a form 221g in your H1B/L visa interview and then visa was cancelled, you should write the reason given on form 221g.

2. If your B1/B2 visa was denied with 214B visa refusal, then you should write:
214B refusal

Will Previous Rejections Affect My New Visa Application?

The visa approval depends on the reason behind previous visa denials.

Example:
In most cases where B1/B2 visa is denied, you should have new proofs to support your intent of returning back to your home country to get approval now.

Can I say ‘NO’ on DS 160 Even If Previous US visa Was Denied?

If you try to intentionally hide your previous visa denials from US embassy, you are asking for trouble yourself.

Your each visa application is stored and visa officer has access to all your prior interview and DS160 details. They can find out the old denial in a minute.

Lying on DS160 application will affect your current visa application negatively.

H1B Petition vs H1B Visa Denial

People get confused if their H1B petition has been denied earlier. The answer is the difference between H1B petition and H1B visa.

Getting an H1B is a two step process:

  1. H1B Petition – Filed using form I-129 with USCIS.
  2. H1B Visa – Filed as visa stamp application with US embassy.

The H1B visa stamp can only be applied if you have an approved H1B petition from USCIS.

When USCIS approves your petition, they send form i797 approval notice. This approval notice is required to be shown at US embassy along with your DS160 form to get visa stamp.

Note that H1B petition is applied by a US employer with USCIS whereas H1B visa application is applied directly by you (H1B employee) at US embassy.

Sample H1b Approval i797a form
Sample H1b Approval i797a form

While filling DS160, you are applying for a visa stamp in your passport. This is an example of H1B visa stamped in your passport.

H1B visa clearance received annotation
H1B visa stamped in passport

Visa Approval After First Denial

There are chances that your first visa application was denied but was approved in second attempt.

You should still answer the DS160 question as “YES” and clearly mention the reason for denial. There is no need to worry if the denial reason was legitimate.

US visa officer has details of all your previous application and they can see both denial and approval in past. So, do not worry.

Example 1:

Your H1B petition was approved but H1B visa was rejected by US embassy in 2008. You applied for B1/B2 visa in 2009 and got approval for 10 years.

You visited USA multiple times using B1/B2 visa. You are now filling DS160 to apply for B1/B2 visa renewal.

As part of ds-160 form filling you should answer “YES” to question “have you ever refused us visa”. You should also give details of your H1B visa denial.

Example 2:

Your H1B petition was denied by USCIS in 2008. You applied for B1/B2 visa in 2009 and got approval for 10 years.

You visited USA multiple times using B1/B2 visa. You are now filling DS160 to apply for B1/B2 visa renewal.

As part of ds-160 form filling you should answer “NO” to question “have you ever refused us visa” as your H1B petition was denied and not US H1B visa.


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