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Immigration Issues/Person with Visa Waiver applied for Visa and was denied


My aunt is a dual citizen from Spain and Venezuela.  As a ciitzen of Spain she qualifies for visa waiver entry to the US.  She entered multiple times for the past 5 years under this program to visit me and always left the coutry within the 90 days.  I asked her to request a visa so she could stay past the 90 days. She lives in Vzla and went to the America Embassy there with her Spanish passport and her visa was denied on the ground that she did not have enough economic ties to her country.

My question is.  Can she enter the US with the visa waiver eventhough she had a visa denied?

Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear Gloria,

Your question is a good one.  The visa waiver program is a separate visa than the B-1/B-2 visitor's visa which was denied to your Aunt.   Therefore, you should also know that the a different standard is used in determining whether a visitor's visa can be granted (ie your Aunt's economic ties to Vzla, etc).

It sounds to me that your Aunt should still be allowed to enter under the visa waiver since she has used it in the past and has never overstayed her previous entries.  HOWEVER, the Customs and Border Protection *may* see that she was recently denied for the visitor's visa and she could be interrogated about why she was denied, etc.  If CBP determines at this interview (at the US airport, by the way) that she has an intent to stay longer than the 90 days that visa waiver allows, then they could turn her around and put her back on a plane to Vzla without entering the US.

Any US visa denial can have potential bad effects, however, it all depends on the circumstances of why the visa was denied, and whether your Aunt can now explain for herself that she is NOT going to violate the terms of the visa waiver entrance.  

Sorry, but this is the best response I can provide.  There is a lot of variance in what happens at our borders and ports of entries, so good luck and hope this knowledge helps your family at least somewhat.

Eileen Chun-Fruto

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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