What does it mean if my visa application is undergoing Administrative Processing?

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Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply for a visa.


The consul may advise you that additional processing is necessary to determine your eligibility for a visa. Many factors can determine these additional checks. In some cases, the consul may require more information from you, the applicant. Most administrative processing cases are resolved within 60 days of your visa interview, but some cases may take up to six months to complete administrative processing. The administrative processing times will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case. If your case is in administrative processing, you can track the status of your case online at ceac.state.gov, the same site where you completed your visa application form.

Administrative Processing Information

There are only two possible outcomes for complete and executed U.S. visa applications (absent a visa sanction against a country under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act). The consular officer will either issue or refuse the visa. If a visa applicant has not established that he or she is eligible for a visa, the consular officer must refuse that application. However, in accordance with Department of State procedures, a consular officer may determine that additional information from sources other than the applicant may help establish an applicant’s eligibility for a visa.  In such cases, refused visa applications warrant further administrative processing.  Upon completion of the case-specific administrative processing, the consular officer might conclude that an applicant is now qualified for the visa for which he or she applied. Alternatively, the officer may conclude that the applicant remains ineligible for a visa.  When administrative processing is required, the consular officer will inform the applicant at the end of the interview. The duration of the administrative processing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visas, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.

What does a visa refusal under section 221(g) mean?

A visa refusal under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) means the applicant did not establish eligibility for a visa to the satisfaction of the consular officer, as is required under U.S. law, specifically section 291 of the INA. When an applicant is refused under 221(g), it means the consular officer determined that the applicant was not eligible for a visa after completing and executing the visa application and any required interview.  It is possible that a consular officer will reconsider a visa application refused under 221(g) at a later date, based on additional information or upon the resolution of administrative processing, and determine that the applicant is eligible.  When a consular officer refuses a case under 221(g), she or he will convey to the applicant whether the applicant is required to provide any further documentation or information, or whether the case requires additional administrative processing.

Can a refusal under section 221(g) be overturned?

Yes.  If an application was refused under section 221(g) and the consular officer specifically told the applicant to provide documents or information, the applicant should provide a complete response as soon as possible. A consular officer will request additional information when she or he believes the information is relevant to establishing that an applicant is eligible for the visa sought. If the consular officer refuses a visa, but requests additional information, an applicant has one year from the date the visa was refused to submit the additional information. Otherwise, if an applicant does not provide the required additional information within one year, the applicant will have to reapply for the visa and pay another application fee.

If an application was refused and a consular officer indicates administrative processing is required, processing times can vary based on individual circumstances.  If an applicant’s situation presents a unique hardship, you should inform the consular section where the visa application was made.

About Visa Processing Wait Times – Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants

Information about nonimmigrant visa wait times for interviews and visa processing time frames are shown on the Department of State website, as well as on U.S. Embassy and Consulate websites worldwide. It should be noted that the country specific visa wait time information on the DOS website does not include additional time required for administrative processing. Posted processing wait times also do not include the time required to return the passport to the applicant, whether by courier service or the local mail system.

Updates on Administrative Processing

A visa refusal under Section 221(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act means that your application for a visa was missing information, and/or your application will need to undergo “administrative processing” — a hold that is on your visa application until further review by the consulate is completed. The consular officer who interviewed you will have told you if you will need to submit additional supporting documents and how to do so. Please follow their instructions carefully.

If you have been told you are under administrative processing but that you will not need to submit further documents, you will need to wait to hear from the consulate or embassy when your case is resolved. If you did not receive any notice, please confirm your visa case status by emailing the consulate where you had your interview.

Unfortunately, administrative processing is strictly determined by the Department of State and your Attorney cannot assist in expediting administrative processing and visa issuance. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case.  Applicants are advised of this possibility when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview, but applicants may need to wait up to 180 days after the interview date or submission of documents before contacting the consulate or embassy. The U.S. Consulate or Embassy processing visa applications reserves the right to determine the duration of administrative processing. Please visit this link to check your U.S. visa application status: https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx