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 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, please inform the consular section where the visa application was made.
Information about nonimmigrant visa wait times for interviews and visa processing time frames are shown on this website, as well as on U.S. Embassy and Consulate websites worldwide. It should be noted that the “Wait Times for a Nonimmigrant Visa to be Processed” information by country does not include time required for administrative processing. Processing wait time also does not include the time required to return the passport to applicants, by either courier services or the local mail system.