Why US visa officers are so harsh and inhumane?

My brother, who is a budding filmmaker, always had a dream of studying at top film schools across globe, due to dearth of good filmmaking institutes in India. With this dream in mind, he finally applied to certain US colleges(Cal Arts, NYFA, Los Angeles Film School, Penn State University and Columbia College Hollywood). Fortunately he got accepted at every single college he applied for with a good amount of scholarship. He cose Columbia College Hollywood(CCH) as his dream college, as it is one of the only 20 film institutions in the United States that have been awarded full membership by the International Association of Film and Television Schools. Also , he received maximum scholarship awarded by the college to an individual. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic took a new place, and embassies turned down shut. Therefore, he continued studying up online. He successfully finished his year at CCH with a 3.75GPA and was outshining his field. It was July 2021 when embassies started operating back. He applied for his F1 visa interview at Delhi Embassy. He went to his interview, the visa officer asked him certain questions(Why US? Why CCH? Parents’ occupation)/ She aked him, how much scholarship he has received. He told the figure, and also told her that he has received maximum scholarship by college. The officer revoked:”It is not mentioned on I-20”, to which his reply was “ I didn’t know if it was supposed to be there, it might have been an error made by college”. After sometime she REFUSED him under section 214b(intention of stay).Although she didn’t tell the exact reason, just gave the slip. It was a college error which he informed the college, and they rectified it. He re-applied again for my visa interview. Firstly there was so much struggle finding appointment, when he got, he got for Chennai consulate. He went over there where visa officer again asked some general questions, to which he answered confidently. He saw his I-20 and said “I see you have received a good amount of scholarship”. He asked him why he would like to go to US for filmmaking, for which my brother already gave the answer. After sometime, he too said REFUSED. When asked the reason, he simply said ‘Check the slip’. The slip said ‘214b’ This was extremely painful. It is unexplainable how it feels, when you spend an year in a college, and have to suffer this way, because you are nowhere at fault. None other colleges were accepting transfer other than US colleges. He had no other option left. He finally took another chance, and transferred to LA film school. He re-applied for his interview, and got an appointment at Delhi embassy. He went there, the visa officer, asked him about his career goals, he told him about his past experience at visa interviews. She asked him his previous college I20. He didn’t have that. She said that the case is on hold, and asked him to submit the I20 of CCH, for a decision. He submitted it and after a long wait of approx. a month, it was again a refusal under section 214b. Under all three interviews, he wasn’t told why he cannot come to US. I always believed US respects students emotions, but didn’t expect this at all. It is unexplainable for me to write and describe the mental trauma and depression my brother went through due to these official. He have to start up his degree from beginning, as it was his mistake choosing US for a higher educational degree. I don’t understand how inhuman visa officials can be. Simply, because decisions against student visa can’t be challenged, they just not provide any valid and justified reason. Hope this incident never iterates through someone’s life.

Thanks for sharing your experience. F-1 is a non-immigrant visa and every year thousands of applicants are rejected under 214b. If the consulate officer gets a feeling that the visa applicant may have immigrant intention, either through the answers to the questions or due to the supporting documentation, they can deny under 214b.

Once denied under 214b, unless the basis of the subsequent application are found satisfactory during the next appointment, there is a high chance of getting same result.

That said, thousands of students are also approved F-1 every year.

The lesson learnt for your brother should be to review all the interviews he had and try to analyze the root cause of 214b. He can consult an immigration lawyer to review the supporting documents to find out if there is anything lacking that may have made the visa application case weak.

Also always remember that visa denial is not the end of this world. India has lot to offer to talents like your brother so just encourage him to explore for institutions either in India or countries other than US.