Top consular questions
Why was I denied?
While we do not have information about your specific case, the majority of refusals are based on Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This type of refusal basically means that you were not able to sufficiently demonstrate to the consular officer that you had strong ties to your country and reasons to return to your country after your travel to the United States.
Why don’t consular officers take the time to explain why I was denied?
We put a high priority on short wait times for interviews because we know that your travel is important to you and most people cannot afford to wait months for an interview. Because of that, there are time considerations during each interview. It is important that you use the interview time to clearly and fully explain to the consular officer your reason of travel along with the details of your life in Colombia so that you can show the officer you have strong ties and a reason to return to your country after a trip.
What kinds of things show ties for people besides school and job?
There is no list of specific ties. Ties are different for each person. They can include school or work, but can also be any other reason you have for returning to your country after your travels in the United States.
If I have family in the US, can I still get a visa?
Having family in the United States does not mean you cannot apply for a tourist visa. Please be honest about family members you may have there as lying could have negative consequences for you in future visa applications. Like any other applicant, regardless of how many family members you have in the United States, you must explain to the consular officer the strong ties you have to your country.
Do you need to have visited other countries in order to get a visa?
Yes, you can get a tourist visa while you have an application in process for an immigrant visa, provided that you can demonstrate to the consular officer that you intend to intend to return to your country after your stated travel purpose.
If I lose my passport, is my visa cancelled?
Yes, unfortunately if you lose your visa you must reapply.
What documents do I need to bring? / Why don’t officers look at documents?
There are no required documents that you must bring to your interview. You are welcome to bring any documents that help you show your ties to your country, however be aware that due to time considerations, the consular officer may not ask for them or review them. The important thing is the quality of the answers you give during the interview.
If your visa is good but you get a new passport, do you need a new visa?
No, just make sure to travel with both passports.
How long do I have to wait to apply again after being denied?
If you were denied under section 214(b) it means you were not able to convince the consular officer that you had strong enough ties to Colombia. There is no specific amount of time you must wait, but we recommend waiting until you can show that your situation has changed.
How long can I stay in the US? Why is it bad if I stay the 6 months I’m allowed?
The visa only allows you to arrive at a U.S. port of entry (airport or a border). Our colleagues in Customs and Border Protection will decide how long you can stay in the United States. Even though they may give up to six months, keep in mind that legitimate tourism generally does not last up to six months and that you will have to explain to consular or immigration officers the reason of such a long stay.
How much does it cost, where can I apply?
Define applying as a family – what combo of people can do it?
Generally, a family consists of relatives living at the same address and applying for the same purpose of travel.
Can I apply with my niece/nephew (other random family member)?
Yes, but if the child is underage, the parents should still come to the interview.
What can you do on a B1/B2?
A B1/B2 visa is good for a number of activities such as vacation, seeing family and friends, or medical treatment. You can also conduct temporary business activities on a B1/B2 visa such as attending meetings or consultations, attending a business convention or conference, and negotiating contracts.
Can I apply for a visa in a different country? Can a foreigner apply here?
Citizens from any country can apply for a U.S. visa at whichever U.S. Embassy or Consulate is closest to them at the time of need. However, please note you will need to clearly demonstrate your ties outside of the United States to the consular officer.
My kid has a visa but is under age. Do they have to apply for another when they turn 18?
They do not need to re-apply until the current visa expires.
Can I apply for a tourist visa when I just got back from a J1 exchange?
Yes, you can still apply for a tourist visa. As any other applicant, you will need to show strong ties to your country.
How old can a child be and still apply as a family unit? (Like do 22 year olds need to apply by themselves?)
Family members can apply as a unit. However, if you are an adult, your application will be based on your own individual ties to Colombia.
What amount of money do I need to make to get a visa?
There is no set salary and applicants that are approved for visas have widely varying salaries. The most important thing is to show the consular officer that you have ties to Colombia and plan on returning.
Do I need a letter of invitation?
You do not need a letter of invitation to travel to the United States. You are welcome to bring one, but be aware the consular officer will most likely not review it. What is said during the interview is the most important thing.
I’m traveling with U.S. citizen family members. Will I be approved the visa?
Each person applying for a B1/B2 is evaluated in the same way: they have to convince the consular officer that they will return to Colombia at the end of their stated purpose of travel.
Does my kid/old parent have to go to the interview?
Generally, applicants under 14 and over 80 years of age are not required to come to the Embassy for a visa interview, nor are people whose previous visa expired less than 12 months ago. After answering the questions when filling out your application, the system will let you know if you need to come in for an interview.
Can I do the biometrics and interview the same day?
Due to high demand, it is unlikely that you will be able to schedule both appointments for the same day.
Do I need a visa to do transit through the U.S.?
Any person traveling to or through the United States needs to possess a valid visa.
Can I apply for my visa in Medellin or do I have to go to Bogota?
You may have your biometrics taken at the Applicant Service Center (CAS) in Medellin. However, if you are required to have an interview with a consular officer, you will then need to come to the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.