9 FAM 301.4

Ineligibilities and Grounds for Refusals

(CT:VISA-592;   05-24-2018)
(Office of Origin: CA/VO/L/R)

9 FAM 301.4-1  overview of grounds for refusal

(CT:VISA-592;   05-24-2018)

a. Basis for Refusal:  The bases on which applicants must be denied visas are established by law, as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  INA 214(b) and 221(g) are common bases for refusal.  Other grounds for refusal are found in INA 212 (INA 212(a), 212(e) and 212(f)). (Note:  The Department generally uses the term “ineligibilities” to refer to these grounds for refusal; the Department of Homeland Security usually refers to these grounds as “inadmissabilities.”)

b. Summary of Grounds for Refusal (by Section of Law):  See paragraph c for a list by category.

(1)  INA 212(a)(1):  Health- and medical-related grounds (see 9 FAM 302.2);

(2)  INA 212(a)(2):  Criminal and related grounds (see 9 FAM 302.3 and 302.4);

(3)  INA 212(a)(3):  Security and related grounds (see 9 FAM 302.5, 9 FAM 302.6, and 9 FAM 302.7);

(4)  INA 212(a)(4):  Public charge (see 9 FAM 302.8);

(5)  INA 212(a)(5):  Labor certification, qualification (see 9 FAM 302.1-5);

(6)  INA 212(a)(6):  Illegal entrants, immigration violators, misrepresentation (see 9 FAM 302.9);

(7)  INA 212(a)(7):  Documentation requirements (see 9 FAM 302.1-3 and 9 FAM 302.1-4);

(8)  INA 212(a)(8):  Ineligible for citizenship (see 9 FAM 302.10);

(9)  INA 212(a)(9):  Previously removed, unlawfully present, unlawfully present after previous immigration violations (see 9 FAM 302.11);

(10) INA 212(a)(10):  Miscellaneous (see 9 FAM 302.13);

(11) INA 212(e):  Former exchange visitors (see 9 FAM 302.13-2);

(12) INA 212(f):   Presidential Proclamations and sanctioned activity (see 9 FAM 302.14);

(13) INA 214(b):  Presumption of immigrant status (see 9 FAM 302.1-2);

(14) INA 221(g):  Application does not comply with INA (see 9 FAM 302.1-8); and

(15) INA 222(g):  Nonimmigrant overstay, application not in country of nationality (see 9 FAM 302.1-9).

c.  Summary of Grounds for Refusal (by Category):  See paragraph b for a list by section of law.

(1)  Inadequate Documentation or Qualification:

(a)  Presumption of immigrant status – see 9 FAM 302.1-2;

(b)  IV documentary requirements – see 9 FAM 302.1-3;

(c)  NIV documentary requirements – see 9 FAM 302.1-4;

(d)  Labor certification requirements – see 9 FAM 302.1-5;

(e)  Unqualified physician – see 9 FAM 302.1-6;

(f)   Uncertified foreign health care worker – see 9 FAM 302.1-7;

(g)  Failure of application to comply with INA – see 9 FAM 302.1-8; and

(h)  Aliens subject to INA 222(g) – see 9 FAM 302.1-9.

(2)  Medical Grounds:

(a)  Communicable diseases – see 9 FAM 302.2-5;

(b)  Required vaccinations – see 9 FAM 302.2-6;

(c)  Physical or mental disorder or condition posing threat to property or safety – see 9 FAM 302.2-7; and

(d)  Drug abuse or addiction – see 9 FAM 302.2-8.

(3)  Criminal Grounds:

(a)  Crimes involving moral turpitude – see 9 FAM 302.3-2;

(b)  Multiple criminal convictions – see 9 FAM 302.3-4;

(c)  Prostitution and criminalized vice – see 9 FAM 302.3-6;

(d)  Criminal activity where immunity asserted – see 9 FAM 302.3-7;

(e)  Human trafficking – see 9 FAM 302.3-8; and

(f)   Money laundering – see 9 FAM 302.3-9.

(4)  Grounds Related to Controlled Substances:

(a)  Controlled substance violations – see 9 FAM 302.4-2; and

(b)  Controlled substance trafficking – see 9 FAM 302.4-3.

(5)  National Security Grounds:

(a)  Intent to commit espionage or sabotage – see 9 FAM 302.5-2;

(b)  Intent to violate export control laws – see 9 FAM 302.5-3;

(c)  Intent to commit an unlawful act in the U.S. – see 9 FAM 302.5-4;

(d)  Intent to overthrow U.S. government – see 9 FAM 302.5-5;

(e)  Immigrant membership in a totalitarian party – see 9 FAM 302.5-6.

(6)  Terrorism-Related Grounds: 

(a)  Terrorist activities – see 9 FAM 302.6-2;

(b)  Association with terrorist organizations – see 9 FAM 302.6-2;

(c)  Section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002 – see 9 FAM 302.6-3.

(7)  Human Rights Violations: 

(a)  Participation in particularly severe violations of religious freedom – see 9 FAM 302.7-3.

(b)  Participation in Nazi persecutions – see 9 FAM 302.7-4;

(c)  Participation in genocide - see 9 FAM 302.7-5;

(d)  Participation in torture – see 9 FAM 302.7-6;

(e)  Participation in extrajudicial killing – see 9 FAM 302.7-7;

(f)   Participation in the use or recruitment of child soldiers – see 9 FAM 302.7-8; and

(g)  Participation in forced or coercive abortion or sterilization – see 9 FAM 302.7-9; and

(h)  Participation in coercive organ or tissue transplantation – see 9 FAM 302.7-10.

(8)  Public Charge:  See 9 FAM 302.8.

(9)  Illegal Entry, Misrepresentation, and Other Immigration Violations:

(a)  Present without admission or parole – see 9 FAM 302.9-2;

(b)  Failure to attend removal proceedings – see 9 FAM 302.9-3;

(c)  Misrepresentation – see 9 FAM 302.9-4;

(d)  Falsely claiming citizenship – see 9 FAM 302.9-5;

(e)  Stowaways – see 9 FAM 302.9-6;

(f)   Smugglers – see 9 FAM 302.9-7;

(g)  Subject to civil penalty – see 9 FAM 302.9-8; and

(h)  Student visa abusers – see 9 FAM 302.9-9.

(10) Citizenship restrictions:

(a)  Ineligible for citizenship – see 9 FAM 302.10-2;

(b)  Departed, remained outside U.S. to avoid military service – see 9 FAM 302.10-3.

(11) Previous removal and unlawful presence:

(a)  Individuals previously removed – see 9 FAM 302.11-2;

(b)  Individuals unlawfully present – see 9 FAM 302.11-3; and

(c)  Individuals unlawfully present after previous immigration violation - see 9 FAM 302.11-4.

(12) Other Activities:

(a)  Practicing polygamists – see 9 FAM 302.12-2;

(b)  Guardian required to accompany helpless individual – see 9 FAM 302.12-3;

(c)  International child abduction – see 9 FAM 302.12-4;

(d)  Unlawful voters – see 9 FAM 302.12-5;

(e)  Former citizens who renounced citizenship to avoid taxation – see 9 FAM 302.12-6.

(13) Miscellaneous Activities:

(a)  Former foreign exchange visitors – see 9 FAM 302.13-2;

(b)  Unauthorized disclosure of U.S. confidential business information – see 9 FAM 302.13-3;

(c)  Frivolous asylum applications – see 9 FAM 302.13-4; and

(d)  Waivers of rights, privileges, exemptions, and immunities – see 9 FAM 302.13-5.

(14) Sanctioned Activities:

(a)  Adverse foreign policy consequences – see 9 FAM 302.14-2;

(b)  Suspension of entry by the president – see 9 FAM 302.14-3;

(c)  Individuals who have aided and abetted Colombian insurgent and paramilitary groups – see 9 FAM 302.14-4;

(d)  Individuals involved in confiscation of property of U.S. nationals – see 9 FAM 302.14-5;

(e)  Specially Designated Nationals – see 9 FAM 302.14-6;

(f)   Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Right Act – see 9 FAM 302.14-7;

(g)  Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012– see 9 FAM 302.14-8; and

(h)  Participation in certain political killings– see 9 FAM 302.14-9.

9 FAM 301.4-2  Applicability of Ineligibilities to IV and NIV Cases

(CT:VISA-437;   08-22-2017)

a. Does This Ineligibility Apply to This Case?  Particular ineligibilities may apply only to immigrants, only to nonimmigrants, or, more commonly, to both types of applicants.  Consular officers must use care in determining which grounds of refusal apply in particular cases. 

b. Nonimmigrants:  NIV applicants are subject to INA 212 ineligibilities, except as noted below: 

(1)  Nonimmigrant are subject to INA 212(a)(1) health-related ineligibilities, with the exception of INA 212(a)(1)(A)(ii) related to vaccinations, which applies to immigrants only.

(2)  Nonimmigrants are not subject to INA 212(a)(3)(D) related to immigrant membership in or affiliation with Communist or other totalitarian parties.

(3)  Nonimmigrants are not subject to INA 212(a)(5), related to labor certifications for immigrants.

(4)  Nonimmigrants are not subject to INA 212(a)(7)(A)(i), related to immigrant documentation requirements.

(5)  Nonimmigrants are not subject to INA 212(a)(8)(A), related to immigrant ineligibility for citizenship, due to desertion, draft evasion or exemption from military service.

(6)  Nonimmigrants are not subject to INA 212(a)(10)(A), related to immigrants who are practicing polygamists.  

c.  Immigrants:  IV applicants are subject to INA 212 and other refusal provisions, except as noted below:

(1)  Immigrants are not subject to INA 212(a)(7)(B)(i), related to nonimmigrant documentation requirements.

(2)  Immigrants are not subject to INA 214(b), related to the presumption that applicants are immigrants.

(3)  Immigrants are not subject to INA 222(g), related to place of application for nonimmigrants with previous overstays of their nonimmigrant visas.

9 FAM 301.4-3  WAIVING or overcoming refusals and INELIGIBILITIES

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

Certain refusals and findings of ineligibilities can be overcome or waived.  For information on overcoming a refusal see 9 FAM 306.  For information on waiving ineligibilities see 9 FAM 305 or the individual grounds of ineligibility in 9 FAM 302.  The Ineligibilities or Grounds of Refusals Applicability and Waivers chart provides you with an overview of the grounds of ineligibility/refusal and possible waiver and where in the FAM to find more information on each ground.