Administrative Processing for Visa Applications
After you’ve submitted your required documents and completed your online visa application it will undergo administrative processing. During this time, you will need to wait for a consular officer to make a decision on your application.
The waiting times will vary according to the city in which your visa will be processed and the type of visa for which you are applying. You can check current processing times on the US Department of State website here. If the wait time is listed as “999 days” it means that the embassy is processing only emergency cases. This will become less common as Covid restrictions are lifted.
The consular officer in charge of your case will have three choices: They may approve your visa application, they may refuse the application, or they may place the case into administrative processing. A case will be placed in administrative processing if the consular officer determines that the applicant has not yet established eligibility for the visa.
What Happens During Administrative Processing for Visas?
The consular officer in charge of your case will try to gather the information they need to make a decision. This information may come from you, or from other sources. Information that you may be asked to provide may include additional information establishing your birth, citizenship, or martial status, information regarding your ability to support yourself in the United States, or information regarding any criminal arrests or convictions. If you are applying for a visitor visa, it is common for the consulate to ask for information that proves that you intend to return to your home country after your visit.
The consulate may also ask for information from other sources, such as police departments and government agencies that store vital statistic information like birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, etc.
What Should I Do While My Visa Case is in Administrative Processing?
An important thing you can do as your visa is going through administrative processing, is to respond as quickly as possible to any requests for information or documents. If the consulate has indicated that they are waiting for documents from an outside source, such as a police department or other government agency, you may be able to go to the agency and obtain the document yourself. That could reduce your wait time significantly.
What if My Application is Denied Under section 221(g)?
A denial under Section 221(g) means that your eligibility for a visa has not been established. The consulate may issue a denial letter but also ask for more information or for documents. This means that you are being given a chance to prove your eligibility. Make sure to respond quickly with all of the information and/or documents requested. If you do not provide the requested information within one year, your visa application will be denied, and you will have to re-apply.