Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Immigration Corner | Will my mother ever get back her visa?

Published:Tuesday | June 11, 2019 | 12:17 AM

Dear Mrs Huntington,

About six years ago my mother's visa was stolen. After she found it, it was damaged so she went to the United States Embassy to get a new copy. However, her visa was taken from her. Possibly because they believe she has been working in the US.

She attempted twice afterwards to get her visa back and was turned away. She is a minister by profession and also a justice of the peace. Is it that she is permanently barred from entering the US? If so, how can we know this?

AP

Dear AP,

No one is entitled to a United States non-immigrant visa, even if you were previously issued a visa. It can be revoked for any reason or the renewal denied for a variety of reasons. When most visitors arrive in America, they are given up to six months to remain in the country. It does not mean that you are to stay for the six months and then return to your home country. Some people who are retired, or independently wealthy and have homes in the US do spend several months in the country and do not encounter an issue with US Customs and Border Protection.

However, regular visitors to the United States who spend several months here are presumed to be illegally working to sustain themselves. There are people who stay for up to the six months and think that because they have not “overstayed” – remain beyond the six months – they shouldn’t have an issue. They are wrong. Often these persons are denied entry to the US on a subsequent visit and returned to their home country on the next available flight, or when it is time to renew their visa, it is denied.

You indicated, that your mother’s visa was cancelled because the Embassy thought she was working. Without more information, I have to presume that they either directly elicited information from her that led to their conclusion; or they arrived at that conclusion because of her travel pattern.

If your visa is denied or revoked because of prior improper usage, e.g., working on a B1/B2 visa, you would not be able to walk in to the US Embassy with a regular visa appointment and receive another a non-immigrant visa. Working on a B1/B2 visa invalidates the visa and makes you permanently inadmissible as a non-immigrant. You would only be able to return as a non-immigrant, if you were granted a Non-Immigrant Waiver.

Your mother should meet with an immigration attorney to discuss her US immigration history and whether she could apply for a Non-Immigrant Waiver to seek another US visa.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq. is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and Special Magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com