Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We understand your concern about visas and travel in light of the continuing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We hope that this information will help answer your questions.  Please also visit our COVID-19 Information Page for updates.

[Last updated August 12, 2022]


COVID-19: U.S. Presidential Proclamation & Travel

On October 25, 2021, U.S. President Joseph R. Biden announced a Presidential Proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  This proclamation, which took effect at 4:01 a.m. (Cabo Verde Time) on November 8, 2021, ended the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199 as they relate to the suspension of entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

As of June 12, 2022, CDC no longer requires air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. For more information, see Rescission: Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for all Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country.

U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents, and those traveling to the United States on immigrant visas do not need to provide proof of vaccination.

However, non-U.S. citizens traveling on non-immigrant visas must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to travel to the United States. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. immigrant and not fully vaccinated, you will not be allowed to board a flight to the United States. Only limited exceptions apply to the requirement to show proof of vaccination. A booster dose is not needed to meet this requirement.


Current Services

Services to American citizens are being provided.  If you have not already, please enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates from the U.S. embassy.

The U.S. embassy is accepting passport appointments for U.S. citizens with less than six months validity remaining on their passport in addition to those with expired or lost/stolen passports. The Embassy will also accept appointments for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs). To request an American Citizen Services appointment, including notarial services, please use the Embassy’s online appointment system.  These services are provided on Mondays at 8am. Do not request an appointment for a service other than what you need. This will affect other people also needing services. If you cannot honor your appointment, let us know more than 48 hours before your appointment date/time by cancelling (or rescheduling) on the system or emailing us at PraiaConsular@state.gov.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)

LPRs whose card (“green card”) is lost or stolen may apply for a boarding foil if they have been outside the United States for less than one year. Learn more about options for LPRs with an expired or lost green card here. LPRs who have remained outside of the United States for more than one year may not apply for boarding foils, they will require an SB-1 (returning resident) visa. The requirements and fees for an SB-1 visa can be found here. To make an appointment for either service, please email PraiaConsular@state.gov.

Immigrant Visas

Applicants whose visas were issued before the closure of services in March 2020 and who could not travel due to the shutdown will need new immigrant visas. Additionally, if your immigrant visa interview was canceled in March/April 2020, your interview will be rescheduled as soon as possible. If you fall under any of these situations and you have not been contacted, please contact us at PraiaConsularIV@state.gov. We would like to serve you as soon as possible. Applicants whose cases were in progress when routine services were suspended in March 2020 are being contacted individually with instructions on the next steps to complete their cases.

For new cases, consistent with the Department of State’s prioritization instructions, U.S. Embassy Praia is maximizing our limited resources to accommodate as many immediate relative and fiancé(e) interviews as possible. The U.S. Embassy will contact eligible applicants directly regarding their appointment and processing requirements. The lengthy suspension of services and need to maintain physical distance among our staff and applicants has led to greatly reduced appointment capacity, which has created a significant backlog of immigrant visa applicants awaiting an interview. This is a global issue, so we appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to work to reduce this backlog. Please see this video for more information about the IV interview backlog and prioritization guidance.

Nonimmigrant Visas

Interviews for all categories of nonimmigrant visas can be scheduled on the Embassy’s scheduling website.

We are not accepting walk-in customers at this time.  American Citizen Services customers may drop off documents for processing of their passports or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad on Mondays 11am-12pm.  Please bring the information request letter you were given asking for this information. Customers needing to pick up their passports or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad may also come on Mondays at 11am-12pm. Please be sure to bring your payment receipt for such service. Third parties may also drop off and/or pick up if they are in possession of the right document (information request letter or payment receipt, as applicable).

All other customers (immigrants and nonimmigrants) may come in on Thursdays at 8-10am to drop off documents. Please make sure you bring the information request letter you were given with your case number.  Those who need to pick up their passports with their visas, may do so on Thursdays at 10am-12pm. Third parties may also drop off and/or pick up if they are in possession of the right document (information request letter or ticket, as applicable).


Passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad and Notarial Services

Yes.  In fact, we recommend that you do this in Praia as wait times are much longer in the U.S. The U.S. embassy is accepting passport appointments for U.S. citizens with less than six months validity remaining on their passport.  For more information regarding what documents to bring, please visit our website for information regarding the application process for passports. The State Department’s website also has information on passports. If all paperwork is in order at the time of the appointment, the new U.S. passport should be available for pick-up in approximately 3 weeks.

U.S. citizens may travel with un-canceled U.S. passports that expired after January 1, 2020.  This authorization will expire on June 30, 2022.

Emergency U.S. passports are issued only in extraordinary circumstances, usually involving medical reasons, a death in the family, or the commission of a serious crime against a U.S. citizen requiring urgent travel back to the United States.  Please be aware that the rules for emergency passport issuance are strict, and a consular officer will determine if your situation meets the standard for an emergency.  The need to travel on short notice (including vacation travel) is generally not considered sufficient in and of itself to permit the issuance of an emergency passport.

Appointment (write to PraiaConsular@state.gov with responses to questions below)

  • Why do you have need of an emergency passport? If you were victim of a crime, please provide police report.
  • When are you planning on traveling? Please provide your itinerary.
  • Which days/times can you come to the embassy? Give us at least two options unless you are traveling the next day. We will try our best to accommodate you.

Forms

Complete online and print Form DS-11. If your passport was lost or stolen, complete online and print Form DS-64 (Tip: If you have had an identity document lost or stolen, go to the Dept. Of Justice’s suggestions for suggestions on protecting yourself from identity theft).

If you never had a U.S. Social Security Number, you will be required to fill out and submit a signed declaration where you declare under penalty of perjury that you (or your minor child) have (has) never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration (Tip: If you do not remember your U.S. Social Security Number, please contact the Federal Benefit Unit before applying for the passport.)

Supporting Documents

Citizenship: Submit a previous U.S. passport (if available) and certified U.S. birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.  First-time passport applicants must provide an original proof of citizenship.

Identity: U.S. passport card or non-U.S. passport and/or U.S Driver’s License and other copies or originals of any/all photo IDs you still have.

Proof of citizenship may also serve to meet identity document requirement in some cases, especially for minors.

Photo: One color 2×2-inch photo (5x5cm). Click here for photos requirements.

Payment

Pay the fee of 115 USD for children or 145 USD for adults (or the escudo equivalent) at the time of your interview, in cash or by credit card (the credit card holder must be present with a valid Government photo ID).

Processing Time: Same Day

As U.S. citizen parent(s), you should report your child’s birth abroad as soon as possible to the U.S. Embassy to establish an official record of the child’s claim to U.S. citizenship at birth. The official record will be the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), Form FS-240 which is a basic United States citizenship document.  Please review the subsequent pages on how to Report Birth Abroad, Eligibility for a CRBA, and Transmission of Citizenship for detailed instructions.

For more information regarding what documents to bring, please visit our website for information regarding the application process for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. The State Department’s website also has information on Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. If all paperwork is in order at the time of the appointment, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad should be available for pick-up in approximately 3-4 weeks.

A Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) is evidence of United States citizenship issued to a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents who meet the requirements for transmitting citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  A CRBA application must be made before the child’s 18th birthday, and we recommend that the parents apply for the CRBA as soon as possible after the child’s birth if they wish to transmit their U.S. citizenship.  Parents may apply for a first-time U.S. passport (Form DS-11) and a U.S. Social Security number (Form SS-5) for their child at the same time as applying for the CRBA.  A child born overseas to one or more U.S. citizen parents must have a CRBA as evidence of U.S. citizenship to apply for a U.S. passport.

For applicants older than age 18 who have never been issued a CRBA, please contact the Embassy at PraiaConsular@state.gov for assistance.

Please make an appointment online to apply for a CRBA at the U.S. Embassy in Praia. Given the detailed paperwork requirements, we ask that parents email the completed, unsigned Form DS-2029 (application for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad) application and photocopies of your supporting documents to PraiaConsular@state.gov at least one week before your scheduled appointment.  Your application will not be adjudicated at that time, but we will notify you if your Form DS-2029 is incomplete or if you need to bring additional documentation to your interview.  The fee for a CRBA is US $100 (with an additional passport fee of US $115 if also applying for a passport).  All fees are nonrefundable.

At your scheduled appointment, both parents must come in person with the child and bring the following required documents:

Application Forms (Complete but do not sign, as these documents must be signed in front of a Consular Officer):

  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad application (Form DS-2029) (see How to Complete the CRBA Application in the side bar)
  • First-time passport application (Form DS-11) (optional)
  • Application for Social Security number (Form SS-5) (optional), to request a Social Security number for the child.
  • If only one parent will appear for the interview, the absent parent must complete Form DS-3053.  The DS-3053 should be signed in front of a notary and the other parent must bring the original, notarized document to the interview.
  • If the U.S. citizen parent is unable to appear for the interview, that parent should also complete Form DS-5507 listing the periods of time they spent in the United States.  The DS-5507 should be signed in front of a notary and the other parent must bring the original, notarized document to the interview.

Original Documents:

  • Child’s original birth certificate
  • Parents’ original passports or Government-issued IDs (at least one parent must present a U.S. passport or Certificate of Naturalization)
  • Original or certified copy of the parents’ marriage certificate and/or proof of the termination of any previous marriages (death or divorce certificates); if applicable
  • One recent, color  2×2 inches (5×5 cm) photograph with plain white background and no dates on the picture

Supporting Documentation:

  • Sufficient evidence of the U.S. citizen parent’s physical presence in the United States to transmit citizenship (see Transmitting Citizenship for requirements and documentation examples), as well as physical presence in Cabo Verde.
  • Photos showing the child’s development if the child is not an infant
  • Copies of previously-issued CRBAs for other children by one or more of the applying parents

Fees (cash only – US dollars or Cabo Verdean escudos – all fees are nonrefundable):

  • CRBA fee of US $100;
  • Passport fee of US $115, (passport is optional)

Additional Information

  • CRBAs and passports are printed in the United States and take approximately three to four (3-4) weeks to arrive at the U.S. Embassy in Praia. Please consider this timeline when applying for CRBAs and passports.  Consular staff will call the local phone number listed on the application to schedule a date to pick-up the printed CRBA (and passport, if applicable).
  • All original documents will be returned to the parents.  Copies will be certified and included with the final report of birth when it is submitted to the U.S. Department of State for permanent record keeping.
  • One official Consular Report of Birth Abroad certificate will be provided by U.S. Embassy Praia.  Additional CRBA copies are not available from the Embassy and must be requested directly from the Department of State in Washington, D.C.  You may replace, amend, or request additional copies of a CRBA at any time.

Transmission of U.S. citizenship depends on:

  1. At least one parent with United States citizenship at the time of the child’s birth;
  2. Evidence of a blood relationship between the child and U.S. citizen parent(s); AND
  3. Documentary evidence demonstrating the U.S. citizen parent(s)’ presence in the United States prior to the child’s birth, as specified in the Transmission Requirements Table below.

All physical presence in the United States prior to the applicant child’s birth should be reported on the CRBA application (see How to Complete the CRBA Application for detailed instructions).

Transmission Requirements Table

A child born in Cabo Verde may be entitled to U.S. citizenship IF:
Child born IN wedlock to two U.S. citizens: One of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been resident in the United States or one of its outlying possessions.  No specific period of time is required.
Child born IN wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one nonU.S. citizen parent on or after November 14, 1986 The U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen.
Child born OUT OF wedlock to a U.S. citizen FATHER and non-U.S. citizen mother on or after November 14, 1986 The U.S. citizen father had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after he reached the age of fourteen.  In addition, a U.S. citizen father must acknowledge paternity and agree in writing to provide financial support for the child until s/he reaches the age of 18 years (on the DS-2029 or DS-5507).
Child born OUT OF wedlock to a U.S. citizen MOTHER between November 14, 1986 and June 11, 2017. The U.S. citizen mother had been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year (365 days) at some time prior to the birth of the child.
Child born OUT OF wedlock to a U.S. citizen MOTHER after June 12, 2017. The U.S. citizen mother had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after she reached the age of fourteen.

NOTE: All periods of residence or physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child.

Examples of Documentation

Some examples of documentary evidence which may be considered to demonstrate that physical presence requirements have been met may include (but are not limited to):

  • Wage and tax statements (W-2s)
  • Academic transcripts
  • Employment records
  • Rental receipts
  • Records of honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. Government or certain intergovernmental international organizations; or as a dependent, unmarried child and member of the household of a parent in such service or employment (except where indicated).
  • U.S. passport stamps may be considered a part of the evidence submitted, but should not be the sole documentary evidence. Drivers’ licenses do not constitute evidence of physical presence.

Adopted children or children under age 18 born to U.S. citizens who are not eligible for U.S. citizenship as described above may be eligible under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. Further information is available from the Department of State’s website.

The Consular Section provides notarial services, including acknowledgements and affidavits.  There is generally a $50 fee for each such service.  Notarial services are provided by appointment on Mondays between 8 a.m. to noon.

Notarial services provided by the Embassy are primarily for the benefit of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.  Foreign nationals may also have documents notarized, but only if the documents will be used in the United States.

For us to notarize your documents, you must:

  • Bring a government-issued photo ID;
  • Understand your document (we are not allowed to explain the contents to you);
    • Complete the document with the appropriate names, places, and dates before you arrive (but don’t sign it; you’ll sign it at the Embassy in front of a Consular Officer);
  • Pay the appropriate fee. We accept cash and credit cards.
    • If your document requires the presence of witnesses in addition to the notarization, you must supply these witnesses.  Our staff cannot act as witnesses.
  • We can only provide notary services for American citizens, legal permanent residents, their spouses and dependents, or when the documents to be notarized will be used in the United States.  We are usually unable to notarize documents brought in by foreign nationals to be used outside of the United States.
  • We cannot attest to the authenticity of a translation.

Please also be aware that the consular officer may refuse any notary service when:

  • The host country does not authorize the performance of the service,
  • The document will be used in transactions that may be prohibited by U.S. law,
  • The officer believes that the document will be used for a purpose that is unlawful, improper, or inimical to the best interests of the United States, or
  • The officer does not understand the document, due to language or any other reason.

You may make an appointment on our scheduling website. Please write to PraiaConsular@state.gov for questions.


Immigrants

If the petition filed by the petitioner has not been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the petitioner needs to contact USCIS.  The petitioner may also check on the status online.  If the case is being processed by the National Visa Center (NVC), please click here and visit your CEAC account (if applicable) for status information. Please contact NVC directly using the online contact form if you still have questions. The Embassy cannot answer any questions about NVC cases, including any questions about expedite options or about appointments.  Due to the lengthy suspension of routine visa services, there is currently a delay for interviews at U.S. Embassy Praia and globally, with more than half a million applicants with approved and complete petitions awaiting interviews worldwide.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we take small steps towards reducing this backlog safely.  If, however, NVC has sent your case to the U.S. embassy in Praia, and you are certain of this, please contact us at PraiaConsularIV@state.gov and provide us with your case number (PIA…) if you need an update on your case.

Yes.  Presidential Proclamations 9993 and 10143 have been rescinded and the current presidential proclamation does not apply to immigrants.  Please make sure that you are traveling before the expiration of your medical report, which usually has a six-month validity.  If you were issued a visa before the shutdown of services due to the pandemic in March of 2020, please contact us at PraiaConsularIV@state.gov as you will need a new visa.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Permanent Resident Cards (I-551) to immigrants who are legally admitted to reside in the United States.  Permanent Resident Cards (commonly known as “Green Cards”) can only be issued or replaced in the United States and cannot be obtained overseas.  If you believe you are eligible to return to the United States as a returning permanent resident but do not hold a valid legal permanent residency “Green Card” or other approved travel document, please review the information below.  Attempting to travel to the United States without valid proof of residency may result in your being denied boarding on U.S.-bound flights or entry at the U.S. border.

If your Green Card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, you may be able to obtain a “Boarding Foil” valid for maximum 30 days for a single entry.  To qualify, you must not have been outside the United States for more than one year.   Learn more about applying for a Boarding Foil below.

If your Green Card has expired, you may still be able to use it to return to the United States.

You may need to apply for a Boarding Foil if your Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”) was valid for two years and has expired.  However, a Boarding Foil is not required if you have one of the following:

  • Orders from the U.S. government (civilian or military) showing that time spent outside the United States was on official U.S. government business;
  • An expired Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date (see note below);
  • An expired Permanent Resident Card with a two-year validity, and a Form I-797 Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended beyond the date of intended travel; or
  • A Re-entry Permit that will be valid on the date of return to the United States.

Note: You do not need a Transportation Boarding Foil if you have an expired LPR card provided it was issued with a 10 year period of validity and if you have been outside the United States less than a year.  However, some airlines may be reluctant to let you board with an expired card.  If you encounter this situation, you should show the airline page 28 in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guide for carriers found in the CBP website.

Step 1:Pay the I-131A filing fee online.

  • If you plan to file a Form I-131A to apply for a LPR boarding foil, please note that you must pay the filing fee online before appearing in person at the consular section.   The form and link to the fee payment site are at: https://www.uscis.gov/i-131a  Be sure to read the instructions before you pay as the fee is not refundable regardless of the decision on the application.  You will need your A-number in order to pay the fee.
  • You must bring evidence of payment, in the form of a printed email receipt notice or confirmation page, when you appear in person to file Form I-131A.  As with all immigration fees, USCIS does not issue refunds, regardless of the decision on the application. USCIS will also not provide applicants an I-131A fee payment refund if the individual should have applied for an SB-1 instead of a boarding foil, if the application for a boarding foil is denied, or if you later determine a boarding foil is not needed.

Step 2:Schedule an appointment.

  • You must request an appointment at U.S. Embassy Praia by emailing PraiaConsular@state.gov.
  • Please attach a copy of your fee payment receipt to your email.
  • You will receive an email confirming your appointment date.  Boarding Foils are processed during normal business hours only, and interviews will be scheduled on Mondays between 8am and noon absent evidence of an emergency.

Step 3:Bring all required documents to your interview.

  • A completed Form I-131A Page 1 – 3 (and page 4-5 if applicable)
  • Copy of payment receipt for the I-131A online, i.e. a printed email receipt or a confirmation page.
  • Valid Cabo Verdean passport.
  • Your airplane tickets, passport stamps, or other evidence that you were in the United States within the last 12 months.
  • Evidence of your U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident status (e.g. passport showing the admission stamp to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident or copy of your green card if available).
  • Police report to prove the Green Card was lost or stolen.  A detailed explanation is required as to when and to whom you reported loss or theft of the card if police report is not available.
  • One U.S. passport size photo taken within the last 30 days.

Processing time will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide.  

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Permanent Resident Cards (I-551) to immigrants who are legally admitted to reside in the United States.  Permanent Resident Cards (commonly known as “Green Cards”) can only be issued or replaced in the United States and cannot be obtained overseas.  If you believe you are eligible to return to the United States as a returning permanent resident but do not hold a valid legal permanent residency “Green Card” or other approved travel document, please review the information below.  Attempting to travel to the United States without valid proof of residency may result in your being denied boarding on U.S.-bound flights or entry at the U.S. border.

If you have been outside the United States for more than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, you will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence.  You can learn more about the documentation and fees to apply for an SB-1 (returning resident) visa on usvisas.state.gov.  When you have collected the required documentation and fees for the initial interview, please contact the Consular Section at PraiaConsular@state.gov to request an appointment.


Nonimmigrants

Yes.  Effective November 8, 2021, at 4:01 a.m. (Cabo Verde Time), adult foreign travelers with a valid nonimmigrant visa (or ESTA) may enter the United States only if they can show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Exceptions to this presidential proclamation are those traveling on the following visa categories: A-1, A-2, C-1, C-1/D, C-2, C-3, E-1, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4. Spouses and children of U.S. armed forces are also exceptions.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may grant other waivers. Please note that National Interest Exception (NIE) letters the embassy was issuing will not be necessary after this date.

Interviews for all categories of nonimmigrant visas can be scheduled on the Embassy’s scheduling site.

Please find instructions for applying for a nonimmigrant visas on our website.

If you need to travel sooner than the first-available appointment, you may request an expedited appointment through the scheduling website.  First schedule a regular appointment on the closest available date. Then, sign-in to your account, click “Continue”, select “Request Expedite” and follow the instructions. Expedited Appointments will only be granted at the Consular Section’s discretion. Circumstances that may be considered for expedited appointments include:
• An immediate relative’s death, grave illness or life-threatening accident taking place in the United States. Include the name, relationship, place and description of the situation, and contact information of the attending physician or funeral home.
• Urgent medical treatment for the applicant or their minor child.
• An applicant for a student or exchange visitor (F/M/J) visa whose I-20 or DS-2019 has a start date that is earlier than the first available visa appointment.
• An unexpected need to travel to the United States for urgent business purposes that is occurring earlier than the first available visa appointment.
• An unexpected visit that is of significant cultural, political, journalistic, sporting or economic importance that is occurring earlier than the first available visa appointment.

If your expedite request is granted, you will be expected to bring to the interview:
• Proof to support your stated emergency.
• Forms and supporting documents normally required.

If you missed your interview appointment, you must sign-in to your account, click “Continue”, select the “Missed My Appointment” link and follow the instructions. Please note that applicants must wait 24 hours before they will be able to request approval to reschedule a missed appointment.

As explained at the time of fee payment, visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.  The U.S. Department of State understands that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment. We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, rest assured that U.S. Missions will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee.  Please continue to monitor this site for information on when we will return to routine visa operations.

U.S. law generally requires visa applicants to be interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After relevant information is reviewed, the application is approved or denied, based on standards established in U.S. law.

While the vast majority of visa applications are approved, U.S. law sets out many standards under which a visa application may be denied. An application may be denied because the consular officer does not have all of the information required to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a visa, because the applicant does not qualify for the visa category for which he or she applied, or because the information reviewed indicates the applicant falls within the scope of one of the inadmissibility or ineligibility grounds of the law. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.

If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies. Visa applicants are also advised by the consular officer if they may apply for a waiver of their ineligibility. Several of the most common reasons for visa ineligibilities are explained below. For more information, review the visa ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

What does a visa denial under INA section 214(b) mean?

This law applies only to nonimmigrant visa categories. If you are refused a visa under section 214(b), it means that you:

  • Did not sufficiently demonstrate to the consular officer that you qualify for the nonimmigrant visa category you applied for; and/or
  • Did not overcome the presumption of immigrant intent, required by law, by sufficiently demonstrating that you have strong ties to your home country that will compel you to leave the United States at the end of your temporary stay. (H-1B and L visa applicants, along with their spouse and any minor children, are excluded from this requirement.)

What are considered strong ties to my home country?

Ties are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your home country. Strong ties vary from country to country, city to city, and person to person, but examples include:

  • Your job;
  • Your home; and/or
  • Your relationships with family and friends.

While conducting visa interviews, consular officers look at each application individually and consider the applicant’s circumstances, travel plans, financial resources, and ties outside of the United States that will ensure the applicant’s departure after a temporary visit.

Is a refusal under section 214(b) permanent?

No. A refusal, or ineligibility, under section 214(b) is for that specific application, so once a case is closed, the consular section cannot take any further action. There is no appeal process. If you feel there is additional information that should be considered related to the visa decision, or there are significant changes in your circumstances since your last application, you may reapply for a visa. To reapply, you must complete a new application form, pay the application fee, and schedule an appointment for a new interview. Review the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to reapply to learn about any reapplication procedures.

If this page has not answered your question, you can email us at PraiaConsular@state.gov.

For information about specific immigrant visa cases, you can email us at PraiaConsularIV@state.gov.

If you have general questions about coronavirus (COVID-19), check our website for a list of useful resources.

For information on Cabo Verde’s current Travel Advisory, please see the Department of State’s website.

If you have a question about flights, please contact your airline.