My Visa Was Denied And I Was Placed On Administrative Processing 221(g), Help!
Depending on what country you are applying from, your visa application can be straightforward or it can be a difficult process. If you are ever denied a visa this will make any future US immigration process that much more difficult. Even if you are eventually approved, your case will forever be scrutinized from this day forward. Yes, it is that important to make sure that you initial filing of the visa application is correct so that you avoid this fate.
Unfortunately, the consulate that interviews you will already know whether they are going to approve your visa or deny it before the interview. This seems strange but they have interviewed thousands of people and reviewed your visa application; your interview can last just minutes! This is unfortunate for those who are interviewing a touch US embassies because they are deemed a higher risk for immigration fraud.
If you have been refused a visa and placed on administrative processing (form 221(g)), it will outline what documents you will need to submit before approval. It is not impossible to be approved after a denial, but it will just a be difficult road ahead. Don’t give up and make sure that you send all of the documents that the embassy officials as for.
Administrative Processing: What Do The Form 221(g) Colors Mean?
After your visa interview, if you were found ineligible for the visa under section 221(g), you would be given either a blue or pink instruction sheet.
Blue 221(g) Form
The blue form is given to the applicants when additional documents are required. When you have the required documents, you may submit them either in person to the consulate or mail them to the address specified on the document.
Pink 221(g) Form
If you received a pink form, you will be able to check the status of your case online. The case status report is updated regularly.
White 221(g) Form
Some applicants may receive a white form at the consulate for 221(g) refusal. The contents
of this form are exactly the same as the blue form. There is no real difference aside from the form being printed on a different color.
What Are Some Reasons That Form 221(g) Is Issued?
Some of the most common reasons an applicant can be placed on AP are:
- Missing documents: If any required document is missing, you will need to submit them as soon as possible.
- Background check: Verifies you are not on any alert lists, may take longer if you have a common name.
- Employment check: Similar to background check but will look into your employment history.
- PIMS: If a petition has not been updated at the KSC (Kentucky Service Center) it will be placed on administrative processing until the information gets updated.
What Does The Department Of State Do After They Issue 221(g)?
Once your case is put under administrative processing, the following steps take place:
- Step 1: A colored form will be issued. Different colors are issued for different reasons by different consulates. The slip will have the case number assigned. The case number starts w/ the year of interview date and will be of the format 2015xxx-xxx-x or 2015xxx-xxx-xx (assuming the applicant went for interview in 2015).
- Step 2: If the consulate needs additional documents for further processing, they will ask you to submit the documents. These can be submitted electronically or at VFS drop-box. The issued colored form will have information about the required documents and how to submit them. The processing will not start until all the documents have been submitted.
- Step 3: Now you need to sit back and wait for them to process your case.
- Step 4: Once the processing is complete and you are determined to be eligible for the visa, you will be asked to submit your passport (if not already submitted) and they would stamp the visa in the passport. If you are found to be ineligible, they would then return the original documents (except for 797).
How Long Will It Take For Administrative Processing To Be Completed?
The problem with being placed on AP is that there is not set timeline for getting out of it. It can be very frustrating but the sooner you submit all the required documents, the faster you can get your approval. This is probably the most irritating thing about the AP process but there isn’t much you can do but hold on tight and wait. Eventually your case will be reviewed again and a final determination will be made.
Depending on the reason for your AP, it can take anywhere from a few weeks, a few months, up to several years. I have seen situation where a couple was in administrative processing for almost 2 years! A ridiculously long time by any measure but it is even more saddening if you have to be away from your loved one for this long.
How Do I Follow Up On My Case Under Administrative Processing?
As per Department of State: “before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.”
An applicant can follow up on their case by:
- Track your passport on VFS website
- Track your case number on consulate website. Note that not all cases can be tracked electronically, and each consulate has a different method of updating the cases.
- Call VFS (contact information available on VFS website). Note that they will not provide any more meaningful information other than what’s already available from (1) and (2)
- Email the consulate (contact information available on the consulate website). Note that they may not respond at all.
- Email or call Department of State in Washington DC (contact information available on DOS website). Note that they will not provide any more meaningful information than what’s already available from (1) and (2), and may be short in conversation.
- If you were working in US, then you can email your Senator and ask them for help. However, this should be done only if it has been pending for more than 60 days.
What Happens If I Am Still Denied A Visa After Administrative Processing?
- Consulate will send your petition back to USCIS for reconsideration along with their comments
- All original documents will be returned to you, except for 797 which is sent to USCIS
- Once USCIS receives the petition, they will send a notice of receipt to the petitioner
- USCIS will review the petition (this could take 2-3 months) and either issue NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) or NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny).
- The petitioner will be given a window of time to respond (30-60 days, actual days given is mentioned in the NOIR/NOID).
- Based on petitioner’s response, USCIS will finally reinstate the petition or deny it
- If it’s reinstated, then USCIS will send the document to the consulate, which in turn will get in touch with you to appear at the consulate for an interview.
Administrative processing is a very lengthy process which can delay your visa approval or ultimately be refused.
Many immigrants have a good reason to fear being placed on AP and the only way to minimize your chances of being placed on AP is to provide as much documentation as you can.