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Help with reapplying for B2 visa after rejection

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My in-laws (Father, Mother and Sister) went for B2 visa interview in Jan 2020 and they got rejected under section 214(b). The purpose of the visit was to attend their daughter's (my wife's) graduation ceremony that was to be held in Summer 2020. My wife is pursuing a Masters degree and is on H4 visa (dependent on my H1B). When asked for visa my Father-in-law produced expired visa stamp instead of valid (i.e. extended) I797 for H4 and that seems to be the underlying reason for rejection. Given below are the interview Q&A between the consular officer (CO) and my father-in-law (FIL).

CO: Good morning, what's the purpose of your visit?
FIL: To attend my daughter's graduation ceremony
CO: where's she studying
FIL: Told the name of the University
CO: Can I see her visa?
FIL: He produces the photocopy of my wife's expired H4 (expired Sep 2019)
CO: This is expired. Do you have a renewed visa?
He goes inside to consult someone... In the meantime my FIL searches for a valid visa document (not knowing that he will not find)
CO (after coming back): You don't have to search. I will check my computer.
FIL stops searching
CO: Sorry sir we cannot grant you visa today since I couldn't find her renewed visa information.

It was really unfortunate that my FIL did not produce renewed I797 which he carried in his stack, when asked for current visa - I feel this would have convinced the CO to grant the visa - correct me if I am wrong.

I was initially shocked that the CO didn't find information of renewed I797 on his database. But I was also confused as to what database he was referring to. I wish we had coached him well to produce I797 when asked for a visa.

We later found out that my wife had not updated her university about the renewed I797 - when she started her program she updated the university based on her previous I797 which was still valid then. Do you think that not updating the university with most recent I797 information was the reason the CO didn't find the information on his database?

My wife updated her university as soon as she found about this - so her university has the most current information.

One travel agent in India suggests that 'our expired visa stamp is the reason for their visa rejection' and that we should get our visa stamped based on the most recent I797 by traveling to India or Canada before my in-laws appear for interview for a second time. This sounds ridiculous to me since I know a few other cases where parents have go visa when their children in US had expired H1B or H4 visa but valid I797. 

My main question: Since it looks like my wife's expired H4 visa could be a reason for their B2 visa rejection should we (my wife and I) get our visa stamped before my in-laws appear for the second time?

My wife has now extended here graduation ceremony to Dec 2020. I appreciate any input on how I should proceed. Thanks for your time!

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On 5/7/2020 at 7:26 AM, Noah Lott said:

the sister's visa status has almost nothing to do with their denial...there was (or is) some other reason(s)....most likely the CO was just not convinced they would return (and an approved I-797 has no power or control over their actions, which is why some silly piece of paper is not pivotal on a positive basis)

the real issue is 'does the trip make sense' proportional to the applicants' situations? Why spend thousands of dollars to watch somebody be handed a diploma? Not logical if the cost of this trip is disproportional to their situation (why would someone, for ex, spend 98% of their life savings on such a trip? they would not...unless they were planning to work illegally in the US to recover the money)

Hi Noah Lott - thanks for the insight. The purpose of the visit is to visit their daughter and son-in-law, spend time and since they are coming they wanted to combine the graduation ceremony. Not many parents get to see their children getting awarded a graduate degree from a US university. Its a proud moment for parents. I think that's a great and a legitimate reason for visiting US. They ofocurse have no plans to stay here for a long time - they have their own family business to manage and also a sick mother to take care of.

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On 5/8/2020 at 4:12 PM, Noah Lott said:

the 'sick relative' is one of the most common excuses why applicants claim they will return....one major problem....who is going to care for said sick relative during their absence? Think carefully about the answer.....if (a) they claim some other relative will look in on said relative, then why do they have to return, since there will be someone else providing care? or (b) they claim said relative isn't so sick or ill that care is really needed right now, and amazingly, said relative will be ok during their absence, which makes no sense whatsoever. Hence, that excuse, an oft used one, is meaningless. Either the relative needs care or they don't...if they do, and someone else will provide it, how will that act as a motivator for the prompt return of the others? If the relative doesn't need care, then the excuse itself was bogus.

If they plan to stay a short while, then that trip represents a very expensive trip for the purpose...if they plan to stay 6 months, well, what family business can be abandoned that long.?? unless someone else is going to manage the business, in which case the reason for returning just evaporated.

First of all - I don't like how you are referring the reasons as 'excuses'. THOSE ARE NOT EXCUSES. Those are legitimate reasons they need to get back. 

Secondly, very funny that you only seem to take extreme situations - seriously sick or not that sick that someone is needed for care, other relative taking care forever or there is nobody to care, someone else taking care of family business forever etc. You seem to be purposely unaware all the moderate scenarios - somebody able to take care of sick relative temporarily but not for too long, somebody able to manage the business for a short time but not beyond a certain time. I know tons of people who have come to the US multiple times by explaining these similar situations. I mainly wanted some opinion on this special situation. 

Finally I am done hearing from you and don't need your opinion

Can someone else please share their input?

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