Sat | Aug 24, 2019

Immigration Corner | Why can’t I get my visa back?

Published:Tuesday | June 25, 2019 | 12:10 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

In 2009 while my mom was gravely ill with cervical metastatic carcinoma, I was granted a three-month visa at the US Embassy in Jamaica. On the visa it was written 'to visit ill mom JW'. I had written on the application that I needed only two weeks, not knowing that my mom was so deathly ill. My sister at the time was caring for Mom and her two kids. I realised she needed my help as she, as well as her husband, had to go to work, so I had to help take care of Mom. I'm happy I stayed because that was the last time I was able to see my Mom alive.

I spent one month and three weeks taking care of my Mom. After returning to Jamaica the December of that same year, my Mom passed away in February 2010. I went back to the US Embassy to see if I could get a visa to get her body to Jamaica, but was denied and told that I overstayed the time I'd asked for which was two weeks. How could that be when I was given three months? I had to come back to work, but my Mom needed me more.

I did resume my job but since then, I'm unable to get a US visa. I reapplied and was denied. What can I do to obtain a US visa again?

CW

Dear CW,

First of all, no one is entitled to a US visa or the renewal of a US visa. It is often incredulous to US visa applicants that they are denied visas when they want to visit a sick relative or attend a funeral, but it happens quite regularly. The decision to grant a visa depends on whether the consular officer has the subjective belief that the applicant will visit America for the time period they indicated and return.

In your situation, you didn’t indicate how much time you were granted in the country by the Immigration Officer at your port of entry. Notwithstanding, the length of your visa – in this case three months – the governing time is what is stamped in your passport upon entry. Your case is more complicated because for whatever reason, the Consular Officer was not comfortable giving you a regular visa and made specific notations on your limited visa.

While almost anyone can understand your desire to spend time with your mother during her final days and to help care for her, the US Embassy looks on you as someone who stayed beyond the time you told them your visit would last. Although you did not stay beyond the limit of the visa, you stayed beyond the time you said you needed. In retrospect, what should have happened is that you should have returned home and applied for another visa to re-enter the United States.

At this time, if you wanted to return to the United States, you would have to reapply for a visitor’s visa, along with a Non-Immigrant Waiver to be considered for another 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