Since information is power, or at least helps in many decision-making processes, I am always looking for trends based on statistics and other data. In the last (2017) fiscal year (FY) ending on 30 September 2017, a record 100,423 B-1,2 (tourist and business) visas were issued to Vietnamese citizens.
The number of student visas issued during the same time was 17,275. While the US State Department does not release this information, one can assume – based on anecdotal sources – that the refusal rate is much higher for student visas, more so at the US Consulate in HCMC, which is considered a high fraud post, than at the US Embassy in Hanoi. Check out this March 2018 blog post for more information about US student visas and Vietnamese students.
What is Adjusted Refusal Rate?
Before we take a look at some visas stats from FY06 to FY17, here’s a definition of this term. The visa waiver program nonimmigrant visitor refusal rate is based on the worldwide number of applicants for visitor (B) visas who are nationals of that country. (B visas are issued for short-term business or pleasure travel to the US.) The US State Department omits all applications from the calculation except the last one. For example, if an applicant was refused in May and issued a visa in July of the same year, only the issuance will count. If an applicant is refused twice, it will only be counted as one refusal.
In rare cases, an applicant may end the year in a third category, “overcome.” This happens when a consular officer has the information s/he needs to overcome a refusal
but has not processed the case to completion.
Thus, the adjusted refusal rate equals: [Refusals minus Overcomes] divided by [Issuances plus Refusals minus Overcomes].
Example: Determination of B Visa Adjusted Refusal Rate for Country X:
Country X, worldwide, had 305,024 B visa applicants end the fiscal year in the “issuance” status; 20,548 end in “refused” status; and 88 end in “overcome” status.
Refusals minus Overcomes = 20,548 – 88 = 20,460
Issuances plus Refusals minus Overcomes = 305,024 + 20,548 – 88 = 325,484
20,460 divided by 325,484 = 6.3 percent (Adjusted Refusal Rate)
The complete description, from which the above formula was excerpted, can be downloaded here. (This file includes links to refusal rate data from FY06 to FY17.)
The Ups and Downs of B Visa Issuance Rates
Last year, the adjusted refusal rate was 24.06%, which means that the issuance rate was 75.94%. If 100,423 B visas were issued, a total of about 132,000 Vietnamese citizens applied for a B visa from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017. The number of B visa issued jumped from 5,231 in 2006 to over 100,000 in 2017, a nineteen-fold increase in 11 years. Follow this link to review this and related data.
The factors that have contributed to substantial increases in B visa issuances include growing ability to afford overseas travel for pleasure and more business ties between Viet Nam and the US, which has produced an ever-expanding pool of applicants. Another likely reason is that there are simply more qualified applicants. The highest denial rate was in 2006 and the lowest in 2014.
FY17: 24.06% (100,423)
FY16: 29.49% (86,180)
FY15: 23.43% (80,936)
FY14: 14.30% (67,140)
FY13: 20.30% (49,247)
FY12: 22.20% (41,159)
FY11: 33.50% (34,280)
FY10: 36.10% (30,811)
FY09: 42.30% (27,304)
FY08: 38.80% (30,426)
FY07: 36.30% (21,398)
FY06: 40.90% (5,231)