Due to the large number of visa refusals (mostly non immigrant) in many Consulates around the world, we can not stress to clients to be honest about past visa refusals.
For more than 25 years, consular officers have been noting visa refusals by stamping the back of an applicant's passport with "application received." Modern technology makes this step no longer necessary. The refusals are being tracked by the DOS, DHS and other federal agencies, just in a more modern manner than the ink stamp in a passport.
When filing for a nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-156 of the DOS asks in question 31 whether the visa applicant has ever been refused a visa. If the answer is yes, it is important to provide information as to when, where, and the type of visa that was denied or refused. Not providing accurate or truthful information could result in further refusal based on fraud or material misrepresentation. Potentially, such findings could permanently prevent an individual from obtaining a visa and entering the United States. Even though certain waivers are allowed, obtaining an approval of a waiver for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa is discretionary and not routine. So be honest and you will be in a better position.