The US Consulates in Brazil administer the processing of Visa applications to come to the United States. They have the responsibility of administering every type of applications from a Fiancé Visa (K-1) to a Tourist Visa (B1/B2).
This is the process. A Brazilian father by the name of Rogério and mother, by the name of Rosângela decide they want to make a trip to the United States. Their middle son, Reinaldo married a wonderful American girl, Janice, two years ago, and they relocated to the U.S. They’ve not seen their son in a long time.
Step one. You have to pay the fee, so that you can make an appointment for the interview. They pay the 38 reais (US$ 17) fee to schedule the interview with the US Consulate. The first available appointment is 4 months out.
Disappointed, it will take so long but excited at the prospect of seeing their son, daughter-in-law, and of course Mickey Mouse, they wait. Rogério and Rosângela purchase their airline tickets for two weeks after their interview date and prepare for their impending trip. .
Step two. It’s a week before their appointment, Rogério and Rosângela prepare for their interview. They find the required forms 156/157 on the Consulate site, complete their documents and have their two Visa photos taken at a local store.
The required fee is US$ 100 per applicant. They pay the fees at Citibank Brazil and are set. The excitement is building now that the trip is only weeks away.
Rogério and Rosângela want to buy the gifts to bring with them for Reinaldo and Janice. They ask what they want from Brazil. What do they miss? Checking if their papers are in order, the interview is tomorrow, they try to sleep.
They arrive early at the Consulate. Everyone says there’s always a long line. Waiting for their admittance at the US Consulate, the air is quiet in the line despite the cars rushing by on the street. The line is long and filled with all of the same hopefuls to get the nearly unobtainable US Tourist Visa.
Step three. Doors open, let’s go. Pass the security guards, we’re shuffled off to the left auditorium and told to take the next seat in line behind the others. Complete these papers and wait to be called.
Here we go, moving on to the next room, back past the entrance, and take a seat in line behind the next Visa hopeful. The windows in front of us now have Consul Employees calling people up. Wow, this is going fast. We’re called up.
The conversation goes something like this; What Visa are you applying for? Tourist. Purpose of your visit? Visiting our son, he lives in the US. Are your documents completely filled out? Yes. OK, take a seat over there, and we’re moving again. The other side of the room, more chairs, more waiting. We take our seats and wait to be called.
The room is quiet, even though it’s full of people. If you speak are you denied and sent out? The tension is so thick in the room, it’s contagious. To your left is a room with half glass walls. You can see the interviews happening on the spot. You notice nearly every 5 minutes another number is called and another interview begins and ends.
Step four. Number 32, DaSilva, window 4. It’s your turn. You enter the room and approach window 4. The consular officer takes your forms and passports and looks them over. He asks each of you, What’s your employment? You respond. He asks if you’ve brought your Imposto de Renda (Tax Return). You reply, yes and provide them.
The interviewer takes your passports and stamps them; you feel the excitement swell in your belly. “I’ve been approved!” He then passes back your Passports and a white piece of paper. “I’m sorry you’re been denied, please read the paper enclosed. Thank you”.
What? What happened? The interview is over? 5 minutes? It’s over?
As you both walk out, you’re in shock. How come you were not approved?
In 2004, 37,647 others just like you, applying for a B1/B2 Tourist Visa had this similar experience. The answers were all the same: Denied! This is the sound heard around Brazil, at least in the walls of the US Consulates.
As you read the paper provided you try to make sense of it.
The presumption in the law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas have the burden of overcoming this presumption by demonstrating that:
The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment; they plan to remain for a specific, limited period; and they have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will ensure their return abroad at the end of the visit.
Unfortunately, you could not overcome the presumption and are being refused under section 214(b) of the INA, which requires that applicants prove that they have sufficient ties to Brazil to compel their return after a short visit to the United States.
It goes on to say, you may reapply if your situation has changed in 6 months. It does not mention that if you reapply you will have to pay another 38 reais and US$ 100.
You can’t understand. You have a good income of more than 6,000 reais (US$ 3,000) per month, money in the bank for the trip; you’re the owner of your home and additional property. Your family is big, more than 20 if I have to count them all. Your ticket was for two weeks.
Who overcomes this presumption? How do you accomplish it in five minutes, if you could? What are the answers to be approved? The answers to these questions exist, but the cost is high.
This is the formula; US$ 100 X each applicant X 5 minutes per interview X how many work hours in a day X work days in a year.
If the US Consulate identified the criteria to be approved or denied, the applicants would know not to spend the time and cost in attempting, if they did not meet the requirements. The consulate can’t afford the income loss.
Nearly every other country in Latin America has a higher approval rate for B1/B2 Visa’s to the US. Countries with higher unemployment rates and higher populations living beneath the poverty line have a better chance to get approved then a Brazilian does. Brazil has a 95% return rate on Visa’s granted. What is the concern with issuing Visa’s to Brazilians?
Is the US afraid the Brazilians will bring with them their warm nature, zest for life, strong family values, and flood the streets with Churrascarias (BBQ Restaurants)?
I am an American woman married to a Brazilian man. We’ve lived in Brazil for 4 years and have witnessed the above story and others first hand. We currently live in the US waiting for my husband’s Permanent Residency. I’ll withhold my real name for fear of repercussions from the Consulate.
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