USA visa refusal rate for all types of nonimmigrant applications!

USA visa refusal rate for B1/B2 applicationsThis relates to the USA visa refusal rate during FY 2018 for all types of nonimmigrant applications such as B1/B2, H1B, F1, J1, C1, K1 etc. Accordingly, the post covers the following topics:

  1. Overview of US immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications 2016-18
    • US nonimmigrant visa (NIV) 2016-18
    • US immigrant visa issuance at the foreign service posts 2016-18
  2. USA visa refusal rate for all types of NIV applications in 2018
    • B-type visa and border crossing cards
    • H-type temporary work visa
    • F-type student visa
    • J-type exchange visitor visa
    • C and D-type transit visa
    • L-type intracompany transferee visa
    • A-type visa for diplomats
    • K-type fiance(e) visa
    • Other types of US nonimmigrant visas (NIV)

1) Overview of US immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications

Perhaps, the foreign service posts (i.e. US embassies and consulates) mainly issue nonimmigrant visas, including the border crossing cards. Accordingly, the nonimmigrant visas nearly comprise 95% of the visas issued by US embassies and consulates.

Immigrant and NIV issued from outside the US201620172018
Total immigrant and NIV issued10,999,24310,241,4499,561,583
Immigrant visa issued at Foreign Service Posts617,752559,536533,557
NIV issued (incl. B1/B2/Border Crossing Cards)10,381,4919,681,9139,028,026
B1/B2/Border Crossing Cards[1,106,723][1,073,915][1,032,467]

US nonimmigrant visa (NIV) 2016-18

During FY 2018, a total of 12.76m decisions made at the foreign service posts relating to the US nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications. And 9.02m NIV issued and 3.73m applications refused. Accordingly, the USA visa refusal rate for FY 2018 was 29.25% for all types of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications.

Perhaps, the nonimmigrant USA visa refusal rate for FY 2018 (29.25%) was higher than that for FY 2016 (26.34%) and FY 2017 (26.80%). Moreover, the total number of decisions during a fiscal year (FY) is also showing a declining trend during the 2016-18 period. Apparently, the number of decision declined from 14.09m in 2016 to 12.76m in 2018.

US Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) ApplicationsFY 2016FY 2017FY 2018
US visa refusal rate for NIV26.34%26.80%29.25%
Issued10,381,4919,681,9139,028,026
Refused3,711,5533,545,2893,732,314
Total decisions made during the FY (Oct 1 - Sept 30)14,093,04413,227,20212,760,340
Waived/Overcome747,138762,118794,963

US immigrant visa issuance at the foreign service posts 2016-18

Apparently, the number of US immigrant visas issued at US embassies and consulates declined from 617,752 in 2016 to 533,557 in 2018. Perhaps, this is mainly due to a substantial drop in immediate relatives category. And also due to a slight decrease in the family-sponsored preference category. However, the number of employment-based and diversity immigrant visa categories are showing an upward trend during the period.

US Immigrant Visa Issued at Foreign Service Posts201620172018
Total US Immigrant Visa Issued617,752559,536533,557
Immediate Relatives - Immigrant315,352254,430236,526
Family Sponsored Preference215,498212,155211,641
Diversity Immigrants45,66449,06748,578
Employment-Based Preference25,05623,81427,345
Special Immigrants16,17620,0349,375
Vietnam Amerasian Immigrants63692
Armed Forces Special Immigrants000

2) USA visa refusal rate for all types of NIV in 2018

Perhaps, the US B1/2 visa is the most popular type of US nonimmigrant visa (NIV). Accordingly, during 2018, the total decisions (9.98m) relating to US type-B visa for business and tourism, inclusive of B1/B2 combination border crossing cards for Mexican citizens, approx accounts for 78% of all the NIV decisions (12.76m). Therefore, it is pertinent to mention that when people are talking about the US visa, they are actually referring to the US B1/B2 visa.

The table below provides the details of US visa refusal rate for the most popular US NIV applications.

US nonimmigrant visa refusal rate for:DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US visa refusal rate FY 201829.25%12,760,3409,028,0263,732,314794,963
B-type visa and border crossing cards31.82%9,990,5226,811,8783,178,644490,329
H-type temporary work visa15.50%701,963593,191108,77283,435
F-type student visa35.09%600,164389,579210,58573,680
J-type exchange visitor visa16.18%455,983382,21973,76444,538
C and D-type transit visa9.91%345,525311,29834,22719,075
L-type intracompany transferee visa15.47%181,116153,09928,01716,635
A-type visa for diplomats14.73%133,488113,82019,66815,813
K-type fiance(e) visa41.75%49,20428,66220,54211,407
Other nonimmigrant visa (NIV)19.21%302,375244,28058,09540,051

USA visa refusal rate for B1/B2 applications

During 2018, a total of 6.81m US B type visas issued and 3.17m applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate during 2018 for B-type visa applications was 31.82%.

Refusal decisions waived/overcome during the year

During 2018 a total of 490,329 decisions relating to US type-B visa were waived. Therefore, the adjusted rejection rate for B type visa is, in fact, lower than 31.82%. However, it is not correct to compute the rejection rate simply by subtracting the number of waived/overcome decisions (490,329) from the refused applications (3.17m) as a number of waived/overcome decision may relate to an earlier year.

Type-B subclass US visa refusal rate for:DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-B visa refusal rate 201831.82%9,990,5226,811,8783,178,644490,329
B1Temporary visitor for business27.92%53,70038,70514,9956,669
B1/B2Temporary visitor for business and pleasure32.39%8,443,4925,708,2782,735,214446,345
B1/B2/BCCCombination B1/B2 and Border Crossing Card29.56%1,367,021962,888404,13331,891
B1/B2/BCVCombination B1/B2 and Border Crossing Card (Lincoln Foil)13.34%80,28869,57910,7092,345
B2Temporary visitor for pleasure29.54%46,02132,42813,5933,079

USA visa refusal rate for the H-type work visa

Apparently, during 2018, a total of 701,963 applications decided for US nonimmigrant type-H work and training visa. Accordingly, a total of 593,191 US type-H work visa issued and 108,772 applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for nonimmigrant work visa during 2018 was 15.50%. Moreover, during the year, 83,435 decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted US visa refusal rate for work visa could be lower than 15.50%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to the preceding years.

Type-H subclass US visa refusal rate for:DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-H visa refusal rate 201815.50%701,963593,191108,77283,435
H1BTemporary worker of distinguished merit and ability performing services other than as a registered nurse22.24%231,033179,66051,37349,418
H1B1Free Trade Agreement Professional12.55%1,7131,498215175
H1CShortage area nurse100.00%1011
H2ATemporary worker performing agricultural services10.59%219,671196,40923,2628,119
H2BTemporary worker performing other services10.87%93,99283,77410,2183,533
H3Trainee24.76%1,3771,036341252
H4Spouse or child of H1B/B1/C, H2A/B, or H315.15%154,176130,81423,36221,937

USA visa refusal rate in 2018 for F-1 students

Apparently, during 2018, a total of 600,164 applications for US student visa and their spouse and children decided. Accordingly, a total of 389,579 US student visas issued and 210,585 applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for F-1 students during 2018 was 35.09%. Moreover, during the year, 73,680 US student visa refusal decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted US student visa refusal rate could be lower than 35.09%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to a previous year.

Type-F subclass US visa refusal rate for: DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-F visa refusal rate 201835.09%600,164389,579210,58573,680
F1Student (academic or language training program)34.97%558,116362,929195,18767,850
F2Spouse or child of student36.62%42,04826,65015,3985,830
F3Border commuter academic or language studentN/A0000

USA visa refusal rate for J-1 exchange visitors

Perhaps, research scholars and professors around the world wish to visit the USA for acquiring expert learning and training. Therefore, in order to enable such individuals, the US offers the J-1 exchange visitor visa for participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training in the USA.

Apparently, during 2018, a total of 455,983 applications for the exchange visitors and their spouse and children decided. Accordingly, a total of 382,219 US exchange visitor visa issued and 73,764 applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for exchange visitors during 2018 was 16.18%. Moreover, during the year, 44,538 decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted US visa refusal rate for exchange visitors could be lower than 16.18%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to a previous year.

Type-J subclass US visa refusal rate for: DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-J visa refusal rate 201816.18%455,983382,21973,76444,538
J1Exchange visitor15.58%405,872342,63963,23335,298
J2Spouse or child of exchange visitor21.02%50,11139,58010,5319,240

USA C and D-type visa for transit and crewmembers

The US C visa is for transit and D visa for crewmembers. Perhaps, since the purpose of both these visas is quite similar. Therefore, at times, applicants may be eligible to apply for a C1/D visa, which is a combination of transit/crewmember visa.

Apparently, during 2018, a total of 345,525 applications decided for the transit visa. Accordingly, a total of 311,298 visas issued and 34,227 applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for transit applicants was 9.91%. Moreover, during the year, 19,075 decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted US visa refusal rate for transit visa could be lower than 9.91%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to the preceding years.

Type-C & D subclass US visa refusal rate for:DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-C & D visa refusal rate 20189.91%345,525311,29834,22719,075
C1Person in transit28.86%13,4439,5633,880699
C1/DCombination transit/crew member9.16%318,081288,95729,12417,506
C2Person in transit to United Nations Headquarters50.00%8441
C3Foreign government official, immediate family, attendant, servant, or personal employee in transit5.11%6,4136,085328217
DCrew member11.75%7,5806,689891652

L-type intracompany transferee visa

Apparently, during 2018, a total of 181,116 applications for US L-type intracompany transferee visa decided. Accordingly, a total of 153,099 L-type visas issued and 28,017 applications rejected. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for L-type intracompany transferee visa during 2018 was 15.47%. Moreover, during the year, 16,635 intracompany transferee refusal decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted refusal rate for L-type visa could be lower than 15.47%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to the preceding year(s).

Type-L subclass US visa refusal rate for: DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-L visa refusal rate 201815.47%181,116153,09928,01716,635
L1Intracompany transferee (executive, managerial, and specialized personnel continuing employment with international firm or corporation)18.01%90,72474,38816,3368,446
L2Spouse or child of intracompany transferee12.92%90,39278,71111,6818,189

A-type visa applications for diplomats

Apparently, during 2018, a total of 133,488 applications for US type-A visa for diplomats and their family and personal staff decided. Accordingly, a total of 113,820 type-A visas issued and 19,668 applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for type-A visa application was 14.73%. Moreover, during the year, 15,813 decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted refusal rate could be lower than 14.73%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to the preceding year(s).

Type-A subclass US visa refusal rate for:DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-A visa refusal rate 201814.73%133,488113,82019,66815,813
A1Ambassador, public minister, career diplomat, consul, and immediate family22.14%12,6589,8562,8022,504
A2Other foreign government official or employee, and immediate family13.58%119,335103,13416,20112,881
A3Attendant, servant, or personal employee of A1 and A2, and immediate family44.48%1495830665428

US visa refusal rate for K-type fiance(e) applications

Apparently, during 2018, a total of 49,204 applications decided for US K-type fiance(e) visa. Accordingly, a total of 28,662 visas issued and 20,542 applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for K-type fiance(e) visa during 2018 was 41.75%, which is quite high! Moreover, during the year, 11,407 decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted US visa refusal rate for the US fiance(e) visa could be lower than 41.75%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to the preceding years.

Type-K subclass US visa refusal rate 2018 for: DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-K visa refusal rate 201841.75%49,20428,66220,54211,407
K1Fiance(e) of U.S. citizen42.99%43,28024,67518,60510,427
K2Child of K132.41%5,8903,9811,909973
K3Certain spouse of U.S. citizen82.35%346287
K4Child of K3N/A0000

Please note: the US K1-K4 visas are more akin to an immigrant visa. Perhaps, these visa applications are first pre-processed in the immigrant operating system. However, once an application is deemed eligible then it is moved to the nonimmigrant operating system. Accordingly, the data reflects processing actions which occurred in both operating systems.

Other US nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications

Moreover, during 2018, a total of 302,375 applications decided for other types of US nonimmigrant visa. Accordingly, a total of 244,280 visas issued and 58,095 applications refused. Therefore, the USA visa refusal rate for other nonimmigrant visas during 2018 was 19.21%. Furthermore, during the year, 40,051 decisions waived/overcome. Therefore, the adjusted US visa refusal rate for other types of nonimmigrant visas could be less than 19.21%. However, as explained earlier, some of the waived/overcome decisions (if not all!) may relate to the preceding years.

For details relating to the USA visa refusal rate during 2018 for other types of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications, please refer to the following table:

US visa refusal rate 2018 for other subclasses:DecisionsIssuedRefusedWaived
US type-K visa refusal rate for other subclasses 201819.21%302,375244,28058,09540,051
CW1Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands transitional worker32.83%4,4693,0021,4671,258
CW2Spouse or child of CW134.99%843548295256
E1Treaty trader, spouse and children24.51%8,6666,5422,1241,705
E2Treaty investor, spouse and children24.67%54,67041,18113,4898,647
E2CE2C Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands investor, spouse and children40.91%66392724
E3Australian specialty occupation professional10.96%6,0585,394664572
E3DSpouse or child of Australian specialty occupation professional9.15%4,7784,341437408
E3RReturning Australian specialty occupation professional7.83%3,1912,941250234
G1Principal resident representative of recognized foreign member government to international organization, staff, and immediate family27.96%7,3965,3282,0681,878
G2Other representative of recognized foreign member government to international organization, and immediate family18.07%19,94316,3403,6032,777
G3Representative of non-recognized or nonmember foreign government to international organization, and immediate family24.62%455343112101
G4International organization officer or employee, and immediate family11.95%26,82323,6173,2062,921
G5Attendant, servant, or personal employee of G1 through G4 and immediate family37.89%871541330251
IRepresentative of foreign information media, spouse and children16.56%14,23011,8742,3561,296
M1Vocational and other non-academic student31.60%13,6219,3174,3041,728
M2Spouse or child of vocational student37.22%58336621797
M3Border commuter vocational or non-academic student000
N8Parent of SK3 or SN3 special immigrant53.85%3918215
N9Child of N8 or of SK1, SK2, SK4, SN1, SN2, or SN4 special immigrant33.33%6420
NATO1Principal permanent representative of member state to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies) resident in the U.S.,and resident members of official staff; principal NATO officers; and immediate family0.00%3300
NATO2Other representatives of member states to NATO (including any of its subsidiary bodies), and immediate family; dependents of member of a force entering in accordance with provisions of NATO agreements; members of such force if issued visas2.92%6,7916,593198178
NATO3Official clerical staff accompanying a representative of member state to NATO, and immediate familyN/A0000
NATO4Officials of NATO (other than those classifiable as NATO1), and immediate family1.94%20620244
NATO5Experts, other than NATO4 officials, employed in missions on behalf of NATO, and their dependents3.33%302910
NATO6Members of a civilian component accompanying a force entering in accordance with the provisions of NATO agreements, and their dependents3.89%5925692322
NATO7Attendant, servant, or personal employee of NATO1 through NATO6, and immediate family0.00%2200
O1Person with extraordinary ability in the sciences, art, education, business, or athletics18.85%20,83016,9043,9263,614
O2Person accompanying and assisting in the artistic or athletic performance by O116.33%10,0788,4321,6461,233
O3Spouse or child of O1 or O218.40%6,0334,9231,1101,009
P1Internationally recognized athlete or member of an internationally recognized entertainment group14.10%28,31124,3203,9912,848
P2Artist or entertainer in a reciprocal exchange program9.43%1591441514
P3Artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program21.68%13,05610,2252,8311,355
P4Spouse or child of P1, P2, or P318.09%1,6921,386306219
Q1Participant in an International Cultural Exchange Program10.37%2,2281,997231164
R1Person in a religious occupation26.81%6,2954,6071,688905
R2Spouse or child of R137.08%2,7021,7001,002465
S5Informant possessing critical reliable information concerning criminal organization or enterpriseN/A0000
S6Informant possessing critical reliable information concerning terrorist organization, enterprise, or operation 100.00%1011
S7Spouse, married or unmarried son or daughter, or parent of S5 of S6100.00%4042
T1Victim of a severe form of trafficking in personsN/A00
T2Spouse of T128.26%92662624
T3Child of T128.16%412296116108
T4Parent of T1 under 21 years of age30.00%4028129
T5Unmarried sibling under age 18 of T1 under 21 years of age22.73%4434109
T6Adult/minor child of derivative beneficiary of T150.00%22111110
TNNAFTA professional16.07%21,38617,9503,4361,842
TDSpouse or child of TN11.86%11,61710,2391,378922
U1Victim of criminal activity65.50%371128243187
U2Spouse of U148.21%336174162152
U3Child of U130.58%2,1911,521670520
U4Parent of U1 under 21 years of age64.36%101366561
U5Unmarried sibling under age 18 of U1 under 21 years of age40.48%42251716

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