Visa Denials (2023)

Why was I refused under INA section 212(a)(4)? What is meant by “public charge”?

A visa refusal, or ineligibility, under section212(a)(4) of the INAmeans that the consular officer determined that you are likely to become a public charge in the United States.

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Is a refusal under section 212(a)(4) permanent?

A refusal, or ineligibility, under section 212(a)(4) can be overcome in certain circumstances, as explained below.

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Immigrants -Most immigrant visa applicants are required to submit an Affidavit of Support from the U.S. sponsors who filed petitions for them.If your U.S. sponsor does not meet the requirements of the Affidavit of Support, you may present a second Affidavit of Support from a qualifying joint sponsor.Learn more about theAffidavit of Support.

Some categories of immigrant visa applicants are not required to have Affidavits of Support. These are categories where no U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative filed a petition on your behalf, including most employment-based immigrants and diversity visa (DV) applicants.

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If you are applying for an immigrant visa category where the Affidavit of Support Form is not required, the following are examples of how you could demonstrate to the consular officer that you will have financial support in the United States:

  • Your own personal funds;
  • A job offer in the United States; and/or
  • Sponsorship from a U.S. resident.

Examples of sponsorship from a U.S. resident include:


  • A letter from the U.S. resident stating financial support of you while in the United States;
  • Documents showing that the U.S. resident can financially support you, such as tax transcripts, bank statements or pay stubs; and/or
  • An Affidavit of Support (Form I-134).

The consular officer will review the additional evidence of financial support you submit to determine whether it is sufficient to overcome your ineligibility under section 212(a)(4).

Nonimmigrants -You must demonstrate sufficient financial support during your temporary stay in the United States. Public charge denials are less frequent for nonimmigrant visa applications, but can occur, for example, in the case of a visa applicant seeking medical treatment in the United States without adequate funds to pay for treatment. Learn more about applying for a visitor visa formedical treatment.

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In order to overcome a denial for public charge reasons, you must demonstrate you will have sufficient financial support in the United States. The consular officer will review the additional evidence you submit to determine whether it is sufficient to overcome your ineligibility under section 212(a)(4).


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