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Nonimmigrant Visa Denials: Players Benched

The media has issued several recent articles documenting the United States’ notable nonimmigrant visa denials of the Ugandan Little League Team and members of the Newcastle United Football Club.

The Rev. John Foundation Little League team from Kampala, Uganda was set to be the first African team to participate in the Little League Baseball World Series, held every summer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. However, problems surrounding the players’ documentation plagued the 11- to 13-year-olds, mainly due to the fact that in Uganda, establishing age and identity is complicated because birth certificates are rare and parents or guardians are often illiterate.

In failing to meet the United States’ requirements for travel visas, the team was denied visas at the American Embassy. Little League Baseball and Softball officials chose not to appeal to the State Department. Some urge that in the future, Little League should require teams attempting to qualify for the World Series to go through a preliminary visa approval process so that there are no last-minute disappointments.

Another team has suffered setbacks due to U.S. visa denials: the Newcastle United Football Club. Midfielders Joey Barton and Yohan Cabaye and Striker Nile Ranger were denied U.S. visas to participate in the Premier League club’s pre-season tour of the United States. Barton and Ranger both failed to get visas due to previous criminal convictions and Cabaye’s denial was based on minor technical problems.

In light of the United States’ strict requirements surrounding nonimmigrant visas, particularly in an age of increased immigration enforcement, we urge all those seeking to obtain U.S. visas abroad to closely adhere to the requirements of the U.S. consulates and embassies.

Please visit http://www.usembassy.gov/ for more information regarding specific visa application requirements.