If you are a refugee in an emergency, we recommend that you contact the UNHCR office in the country where you live.
This guide provides information on how to ask an Embassy to reopen your immigrant visa application if you were denied because of the “Muslim or Africa bans.”
This guide applies to you if:
- You are a national of one of these countries: Libya, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, and Venezuela;
- You already had your immigrant visa interview at a United States Embassy or Consulate; and
- Your visa application to the United States was denied or is pending review of a waiver because of Executive Order 13780 and Presidential Proclamations 9645, 9723, and 9983. This guide refers to these four orders as the Muslim and African Bans.
If you were denied a diversity visa, this guide does not apply to you.
If you are a national of one of these countries and your visa application was denied or is pending review of a waiver, you can email the embassy where you had your visa interview to request that your case be reopened.
How to request that the United States government reopen your immigrant visa application:
Step 1: Email the Embassy or Consulate where you had your visa interview. To find their email address, see if the Embassy or Consulate sent you an email to schedule your interview. Some Embassies do not have an email and require you to submit a webform request. If you cannot find the embassy’s contact information in your email, go to this website and find the country and city where you had your interview to see if contact information is listed.
Here is a sample request to reopen your case. Fill in the highlighted portions with information about your own case:
SUBJECT LINE: [YOUR FULL NAME] [YOUR DATE OF BIRTH] [YOUR CASE NUMBER]
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is [YOUR NAME], my case number is [YOUR CASE NUMBER] and my date of birth is [YOUR DATE OF BIRTH]. After my visa interview, my visa was refused because I am a national of [YOUR COUNTRY OF NATIONALITY]. The U.S. government has eliminated the rules that prevented me from getting a visa. The U.S. government allows applicants to ask Embassies to reconsider applications. Please see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/rescission-of-presidential-proclamations-9645-and-9983.html.
I respectfully request that you reopen my case in light of the change in rules. Please confirm that you are reconsidering my visa to the United States.
Step 2: If the embassy does not respond to your email within two weeks, email them again. Ask them to confirm that they will reconsider and reopen your case. You should also ask if you need to provide any additional information. Please note that many embassies and consulates are closed or have slow operations because of COVID. Check your embassy or consulate's website. Email them again when they reopen if they do not respond to you.
Step 3: If the embassy says that they will not reopen your case, please read below for how a relative or close contact in the U.S. can contact their local Congress member to request help. This is called a Congressional inquiry. See IRAP’s guide on how to submit a Congressional inquiry.
When contacting a member of Congress, ask your friend or relative to include the following information:
- You were previously denied an immigrant visa under the Muslim or Africa Ban;
- You are entitled to have your application reopened per Presidential Proclamation 10141; and
- The consulate or embassy assigned to process your case has not been able or willing to assist with this.
See this guide if you have more questions about how changes in the travel bans affect your visa process.
NOTE: If your application was denied before January 20, 2020, the embassy may require you to pay the application fee again. The embassy might also ask you to complete a new DS-260 form. If you were denied a diversity visa, the embassy will not allow you to reopen your case.