How to appeal a tourist visa denial?
July 9, 2008 12:52 PM   Subscribe

My sister-in-law in Japan was denied a tourist visa to visit us here in the US. It's especially disappointing because my wife and sister haven't seen each other in over a decade, nor has she ever met our kids. Is there anything we can do at this point?

Some background: My wife's sister-in-law immigrated from South Korea to Japan to be with her fiancé, whom she eventually married. She overstayed her visa in Japan pretty significantly, but now, due to the marriage, is there legally. They are not well off, and have saved for a considerable amount of time to visit us. However, when she interviewed at the embassy for a visa she was turned down due to the risk she would stay in the US illegally. Obviously, my sister-in-law, wife, and kids are all extremely disappointed, my sister-in-law is especially distraught.
I've done some google searching and read some previous askme's (like this one). I'm worried now that there is no recourse, but I'm still holding out some faint hope that someone might have some options to pursue. Has anybody been through something similar that can offer some advice?
posted by forforf to Travel & Transportation around Japan (10 answers total)
She would have to show strong tie to her country, Japan. Like deeds and titles of any property she owns and stable jobs for her and her husband, etc...
She needs to convince the visa officer that she has a reason to return to Japan.
posted by WizKid at 1:01 PM on July 9, 2008

Best answer: Seconding WizKid's advice. You might also try contacting one of your state's U.S. senators or representatives, many of them have staff that help constituents deal with federal agencies like USCIS and the Dept. of State.
posted by azuresunday at 1:10 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Is there any reason you guys can't fly to Japan to visit her?
posted by Kololo at 1:37 PM on July 9, 2008

Is there any reason you guys can't fly to Japan to visit her?

That's what I was thinking. If you're in Japan for 6 months or less, you don't need a visa.
posted by Nelsormensch at 1:58 PM on July 9, 2008

To clarify: Americans (and most other folks from western nations) in Japan for less than 6 months don't require a visa. Visitors from other nations may still need to get a visa for any travel to Japan. Details here. I can't profess that this is 100% right, but it looks very similar to the information provided when I went to Japan about 18 months ago.
posted by Nelsormensch at 2:03 PM on July 9, 2008

as for the flying-to-Japan, 4 people to NRT or KIX is kinda very expensive right now.
posted by yort at 2:18 PM on July 9, 2008

Best answer: Seconding that you work through your Senator's office (better than representative, unless you have a very senior one). Try especially Sen. Webb, who is married to a native of Vietnam, so his office ought to understand the problem here. Make an appointment to visit a staffer in person. Bring every piece of info that would be needed, including copies of the visa applications, if possible.
posted by beagle at 2:39 PM on July 9, 2008

Response by poster: Yes, we're considering flying there if need be, but everyone had their plans around visiting here.
Thanks for the pointers to engage with my congressmen (esp Sen Webb).
Also, I found this information on the Dept of State site that may be useful to others in similar circumstances.
posted by forforf at 3:00 PM on July 9, 2008

As a followup, be aware that sometimes diplomatic employees and other federal bureaucracts resent Congressional offices trying to do favors for constituents, which can be counterproductive. Webb's office people know that and will be sensitive to the best way to approach this, which may be just to follow the directions on the page. But the staffers can certainly help you navigate the maze, put you in direct touch with the right people, open a few doors, etc.

Good luck! And save up for that trip to Japan anyway, you won't regret it!
posted by beagle at 3:09 PM on July 9, 2008

If you're in Japan for 6 months or less, you don't need a visa.

For the US it is 90 days.
posted by JakeLL at 10:59 PM on July 9, 2008

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