EP31: Here’s Why Your Case Is In 221g Administrative Processing

One of the biggest fears that many visa applicants have is being placed in 221g administrative processing.

I get it…  You want to move to the United States as quickly as possible and administrative processing can derail this dream. It could mean a delay in your visa approval for several weeks to months.

In this episode of the podcast, I pull back the curtain on the mysterious Administrative Processing to give you more insight into what it really means.

But before we get into that, I’d like to announce the winner of this week’s Migrant Academy draw!

If you haven’t already submitted your own name into the draw for free membership into the Migrant Academy, click here and complete the two tasks to be entered. Hurry, this draw will not last forever!

Lifetime Membership Draw Entries: Kim L.

What is 221g Administrative Processing?

Did you know my case was in 221g administrative processing for 3 days? Yup – it’s true. Those were the worst three days of my life!

Administrative processing is a “catch-all” phrase that means your visa is pending until further review or background checks are completed.

It does not mean that you were denied the visa!

There are only 2 possible outcomes for your visa
  • Consular officer issues your visa (approved)
    • This means that you’ve been approved for the visa. If your case is then placed in AP, it means that they need to review your case before finally issuing the visa. There is nothing to be concerned about as long as everything checks out.
  • Consular officer refused your visa (denied)
    • If your visa is refused, your case will likely be denied or sent back to USCIS. In some cases, USCIS will review the initial petition approval and then make a decision to revoke the approved petition or send it back to the consulate for another interview.

Related Post: Top 6 reasons for administrative processing.

What Happens During Administrative Processing?

You may be wondering “what exactly happens during administrative process?”

So, let’s break down all the possible things that could be happening in the background and what it means for your case.

  • Background checks
    • Everyone who is applying for an immigrant visa is required to pass a background check. These checks usually don’t take too long to complete unless you have a lot of security issues.
  • Criminal history search
    • If you have a criminal record, this search will find it. Even if charges were dropped, you should still tell the truth about all arrests, convictions, and charges even if you were a minor at the time.
  • FBI name check
    • An FBI name check will search your full name against their worldwide database. If they come up with a hit on your name, then they will keep digging deeper to find out if you are the same person who’s name came up.
  • Supervisor review
    • In some cases, after an interview, the consular officer can’t make a determination if you qualify for the visa or not. The next thing that usually happens is a supervisor will review the entire case and come up with a decision.

Learn more about administrative processing from DOS website.

What Is Extreme Vetting Form DS-5535?

Ever since Trump arrived in the White House, he’s been on a ruthless mission to reduce the number of immigrants arriving in the US. To do this, he has implemented “extreme vetting” to make it more difficult for visa applicants.
In this case, extreme vetting basically means extra security checks and scrutiny, especially if you are applying from a high fraud country.
  • 15 years travel history.
  • Names of all siblings, children, and former spouses.
  • 15 years of addresses.
  • All prior passport numbers.
  • 15 years prior occupations and employers along with a description of the job.
  • 5 years of phone numbers.
  • 5 years of email addresses and social media handles.

Related Post: Form DS-5535 and administrative processing.

Related Post: What is administrative processing and how long does it take?

Top 5 Reasons Your Case Was Flagged For AP

Many people wonder why their case was placed in administrative processing. What did they do wrong? How could they have avoided it?

In other words, the truth is that many times there isn’t anything you can do to avoid it but other times, there is a clear reason why you are in 221g administrative processing.

  • You have a serious criminal history
    • Having an extensive criminal history will negatively affect your case. I will cause a delay in visa processing because they will check the circumstances of the crime.
  • You are applying from a high fraud country
    • Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates or Yemen
  • You have a very large age gap (marriage fraud)
    • A large age difference can be an issue if the rest of your case is weak. An age gap alone usually won’t cause a visa denial but it could mean that the consular officer is suspicious of marriage fraud.
  • You have a very common name that triggered extra checks
    • If your name is very common in your home country, expect a long delay. This is because every name search hit will mean additional checks to try to determine whether the information that came up is accurate.
  • You have applied for a previous K1 or CR1 visa
    • Applying for multiple K1 or CR1 visas can result in extra scrutiny. The consular officer wants to determine whether there is  immigration fraud being committed. It’s up to you to prove that the previous relationships didn’t work out but that the relationship was genuine.

Related Post: CR1 visa and administartive processing.

Can You Speed Up Administrative Processing?

Being stuck in administrative processing is a nightmare. I get it!

No one wants to be waiting for their visa with no end in sight. I’ve heard of couples waiting months and years for a response from the US consulate or embassy abroad.

Many of these couples are applying from high fraud countries but a few are from low fraud countries. Ultimately, it’s up to the consular officer to make the final decision but you can help sway them by providing enough evidence.

Additionally, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process of administrative processing. Remember, there is no guarantee that any of the suggestions will get you out of AP but it can help.

  • Contact the consular post to find out why you are in AP
    • The first thing you need to do is find out why your case was placed in administrative processing. This can be as simple as sending the consulate a quick email. But sometimes you may be able to find a number to call. Make sure to have your case number with you when you email or call them.
  • File a Congressional Inquiry
    • If the case has been pending more than one year, the congressional liaison can reach out directly to HQ rather than the post itself, this will often get you better information.

Related Post: Visa approved why was I placed in administrative processing?

Final Thoughts On Why You’re In Administrative Processing

Learning that your case is in administrative processing can be devastating. But with the right information, you can find out why and do something about it.

Administrative processing can mean different things from background checks to suspicion of fraud. If you understand why your case was flagged, you have a better chance to get out of it.

To learn more about administrative processing, check out the posts below.

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