Mr. Modi's visa was denied in 2005 during the Bush administration, holding him responsible for Gujarat's 2002 communal riots.
During the Bush administration in 2005, Narendra Modi, then-then Chief Minister of Gujarat, applied for a US visa. The US Department of State denied the visa under section 214 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act because he was unqualified for a diplomatic visa. His tourist/business visa was also revoked under section 212(a)(2)(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. According to the section, any international government official responsible for directly carrying out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom are ineligible for a visa to the US.
David C. Mulford, the-then US Ambassador to India, said the visa was revoked because, as an administrator of the state government in Gujarat between Feb. 2002 and May. 2002, he was responsible for the state's performance. During his tenure as the chief minister, the communal riots in 2002 killed almost 2,000 people, most of them Muslims.
The US State Department's views on this matter are included in its annual country report on Human Rights Practices. The document records the violence in Gujarat and cites the Indian National Human Rights Commission report, which mentions "total negligence on the state government's part to control the persistent violation of rights of life, liberty, equality, and dignity state's people."
Moreover, the United States government had no political or diplomatic relations with the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The visa denial and revocation duration were not specified in any official statements. However, in Dec. 2013, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Eni Faleomavaega, commented on the country's relationship with India. He said that the Supreme Court of India and its Special Investigation Team had not found any evidence against Chief Minister Modi. He stated that although a US visa was denied to Modi, there was no travel ban imposed and mentioned Modi's prospect of being elected as the Indian Prime Minister for the term that followed.
President-elect Joe Biden was not involved in the decision pertaining to the visa ban as it was originally imposed under the Bush administration. The Obama administration, during which he was the Vice President, only acknowledged it after being asked about it in a press meet in 2014, the day after Modi was elected the Prime Minister. Therefore the attribution does not appear to be valid based on the available evidence.
After the visa denial of nearly ten years, Modi has visited the US several times in the years that followed as Prime Minister of India.