A common question that we’ve seen from individuals who are on their immigration journey for a fiancé or spouse visa is that they want to know what happens if they previously applied for a tourist visa and was denied. A lot of people are worried about how that will impact their eligibility and their application.
Firstly, there is a difference between a tourist visa and a fiancé or spouse visa. The main difference is that the tourist visa is short-term while the fiancé and spouse visa are long-term. By long-term, meaning your intent to live in the United States.
Tourist visas are called non-immigrant visas, which means the individual has non-immigrant intent. This term is used to describe having no intent of coming and living in the United States and making a life here. They have the intent to come to the United States for a limited purpose. Either to visit or to stay for a short time but not to actually live here in the US.
With the fiancé and spouse visas, the intent is that you’re coming here to live and to start a life together with a partner that is either a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
For a tourist visa application, there is something called discretion. Officers have discretion which means they can make a decision about whether or not they believe that the immigrant has the right intent of simply visiting or staying for a short period of time.
Tourist visas are generally very difficult to obtain and a lot of times individuals will get a denial on the tourist visa if the officer believes that the person doesn’t have the intent to leave the US after visiting. Depending on why your tourist visa application was denied will determine how that will impact your fiancé or spouse visa application.
If your tourist visa application was denied because the officer believed that you had the intent to come and stay here and live and that you didn’t have enough ties to your country of origin, then in general you wouldn’t necessarily have issues with your fiancé visa or spouse visa application.
You would have to disclose that information about the denial but it wouldn’t mean that you would necessarily be denied for a fiancé visa or spouse visa. One of our famous phrases as attorneys is, “It depends.” We say that because every case is different, every situation is different. It really will depend on why your tourist visa was denied as to what impact it will have on your fiancé visa or spouse visa.
If you’ve had a tourist visa denied previously, don’t panic. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be eligible for any immigration benefit. It’s just going to matter as to why immigration denied your tourist visa. You’ll have to disclose it on your application and we highly recommend that you speak with an immigration attorney who can orient you and help you understand.
Whatever basis the tourist visa was denied on and how that would impact your spouse or fiancé visa. If it was denied because you had prior immigration violations, or had deportations or criminal history, then that denial of your tourist visa and those prior issues could impact your fiancé visa or spouse visa application.