CR1 Visa Administrative Processing: How Long Will It Take?
What do you think is the worst part of the CR1 visa process? Well, I’d say it’s the waiting and not knowing what will happen next. The CR1 visa administrative processing can cause some serious delays in your case.
I’ve written about administrative processing before but people are still terrified by it.
During my own case processing, I did hear of people being put into administrative processing but I honestly didn’t know what i it was. All I knew was that people were miserable when their case was in this USCIS “black-hole” with no way out.
Abdul’s wife Amira filed for the I-130 petition for him which was quickly approved. Once his case was passed to the US embassy by the National Visa Center, he was scheduled for his interview.
The interview seemed to go well but Abdul wasn’t told he was approved right away. When he checked the case status online, it said “administrative processing”. Abdul had no way of know how long this process would take and when he could expect his approval.
The above scenario is very common. I’ve seen this happen to a lot of couples and it’s very frustrating for them when there isn’t anything they could do to speed things up.
Sometimes the consular officer will give you a document called Form 221(g) which will let you know the reason for administrative processing and whether documents will need to be included.
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Why Your Case Was Placed In Administrative Processing
I’m sure you’re wondering why your case was put into administrative processing, right? This is the million dollar question.
Consular officers are known to be tight-lipped so even if you dare to ask them why you were given form 221(g), it’s unlikely you’ll get an answer.
If you do get an asnwer it will probably be vague.
Administrative processing can mean the following:
- Addition review of your documents/case
- FBI name and background check
- Criminal background check
- Suspicion of immigration fraud
- Review of prior visa applications and overstays
- Review of previous visa denials
CR1 Visa Administrative Processing Timeline
Okay, now that your case was placed in administrative processing, how long will it take? What is the timeline for administrative processing?
So, here’s what you need to know…
CR1 visa administrative processing can take a few days, a few weeks or a few months to complete. The length of time will depend on your specific case. I know this doesn’t sound very help for your own case but just know that there are no guarantees when it comes to AP.
Case status is AP and you weren’t given form 221(g):
If you’re in AP but the interview went well and you weren’t given form 221(g), then there’s a good chance that you will only be waiting a few weeks.
The consular officer probably just needs to review your documents and run a background check. Since you weren’t asked for additional documents, all you need to do is sit back and wait.
Case status is AP and your were given form 221(g):
If you were given form 221(g), then it means that you need to submit additional evidence. It’s likely the consular officer doesn’t have enough information to make a final decision.
Unfortunately, it can also mean that they suspect immigration fraud or marriage fraud.
In this case, it’s best to submit as much evidence of your bona fide marriage as possible. I always recommend “front-loading” your case in the beginning starting with the I-130 petition. Front-loading an application just means including a lot of evidence to make your case stronger.
Sammy and his wife were married a year before they submitted the I-130 petition. Their case got to the US consulate without any issue but once the CR1 interview was over, he was given form 221(g) and told to submit the documents checked on the form.
Sammy gathered the documents that the consulate needed and submitted it by mail. After 6 weeks, he hasn’t heard anything back and his online case status still showed “administrative processing”.
If you submitted all the necessary documents and haven’t heard back within 4 weeks, you need to submit an inquiry to the US consulate to get an update.
You may not get a response but you should keep trying to contact them.
Most AP cases are resolved within 6 weeks but I’ve seen them take longer than 2 months without any answers to why.
What To Do If You Are In AP Longer Than 60 Days
Hopefully your case doesn’t take more than 60 days in CR1 visa administrative processing, but if it does, here’s what you need to do.
If it has been more than 2 months since your case was put into administrative processing, you can contact the US consulate to get a status update. Are you seeing a pattern here?
To check your case status with the consulate, call the department of state at 202-485-7600. Make sure you have your case number before you call.
If the first person you talk to isn’t helpful, hang up and try again. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get someone who is really helpful on the phone.
Marcos had his CR1 visa interview and was given form 221(g) administrative processing. He submitted additional evidence of bona fide marriage that was requested by the consular officer.
It has now been over 60 days and he hasn’t gotten his passport back with the visa stamp. Marcos begins to worry that he may end up being denied.
So in Marco’s case, he needs to quickly contact the US consulate to get an update on his case. It’s likely that the delay is being caused by additional review of his documents or background checks. Since they kept his passport, it’s a good sign that he will eventually get the CR1 visa.
Don’t worry if you are told to wait another 60 days after contacting the consulate. This response is very common but I recommend contact them again on a weekly basis.
You wan to make sure that your case is top of mind for them. The last thing you want is for them to forget or loose your case altogether.
Final Thoughts CR1 Visa Administrative Processing
As you can see, CR1 visa administrative processing isn’t fun. Everyone hates having their case in this status for too long but now that you know what to expect, it may ease your anxiety a bit.
The best thing to do to avoid administrative processing is to submit the best I-130 petition to USCIS and include as much evidence as possible when sending documents to the National Visa Center (NVC).
This is what’s called “front-loading” that we talked about earlier. By submitting every piece of evidence you have to show that you are eligible for the visa, it ensures you have a really strong case.
But in some cases, no matter how much evidence you submit for the CR1 application, you may still be placed in administrative processing. Although this is more common from certain countries in the Middle East and Africa, every case is at risk of being in AP.
Has your case been placed in administrative processing? Do you know why your case was selected? Let me know in the comments below.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.