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An In-Depth Look at H1B Visa 221g Administrative Processing
March 25, 2022
5 mins
Closeup view of USA official visa application form, the American flag and a pen tip.

There are only two possible outcomes for your H1B visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate: Your consulate officer will either issue your H1B visa or refuse it. Sometimes, you may also be told that your visa is under "Administrative Processing." You may receive this message at the end of your interview or later via email.

In this article, you will find an in-depth explanation about:

  • Administrative Processing
  • Section 221g
  • Administrative processing wait times

Understanding administrative processing will relieve your concerns and clarify the steps you can take to advance your H1B application and achieve a successful outcome. So, let's delve into the details.

Administrative Processing: What Is It?

Administrative Processing is handled by the visa office of the US Department of State in conjunction with other government agencies. The purpose of the process is to ensure that a potential visa applicant does not pose a security risk to the US.

In administrative Processing, the consular officer sends the particular H1B case from the Consulate or Embassy to a data center for further screening and evaluation. The H1B case will be reviewed for:

  • Security risks
  • Immigration violation
  • Criminal convictions
  • Irregularities

If the H1B case is under administrative processing, it will be delayed, and you will only receive an intimation letter. The letter will only inform you that your case is on hold until eligibility is determined. The letter will not have any details regarding the specific reason for administrative Processing. If the Consulate requires any additional information or documentation from you, it will be specified in this letter.

Administrative Processing duration

Most often, it does not take more than sixty days from the date of your H1B visa interview to resolve the administrative process. However, the timing varies from case to case. Sometimes, administrative processing may take weeks or months before you get your H1B visa approval.

The USCIS will notify you about your next visa appointment. Until you receive this intimation, do not contact the USCIS. You must wait for at least 180 days from the interview date or from when you submitted your supplemental documents, whichever is later. However, you may inquire about your administrative processing status only in emergency cases such as serious illnesses or death.

Following the completion of the Processing, you can fix an appointment for your visa interview if you are eligible for the visa. When the passport is presented, the visa is stamped on the passport. However, you will be given a denial letter by the consular officer if they do not find you eligible.

In some cases, your consular officer may tell you that your visa has been refused under 221g H1B. Let's take a closer look at what this statement means.

Read Also: All You Need to Know About H1B Rejection and Denial

Visa Refusal Under 221g: What Does it Mean?

According to the INA or Immigration and Nationality Act, "Visa Refusal under 221g" means this:

Your application has been put on hold because it does not have all the essential information. Visa Refusal under 221g is also known as "soft denial." If this happens, do not fret! Your consular officer will convey whether your application lacks some information or is under administrative processing. They will also guide you about submitting the required information. Therefore, you will be given opportunities to overturn the visa refusal.

You will also receive a letter giving you twelve months from the application date to submit the required documents and paperwork without paying extra application fees. When this duration is over, your application refused under INA 221g is terminated as per Section 203 (e).

Do not forget that Visa Refusal under 221g is only a temporary refusal of an immigrant visa. When your consular officer informs you that your application is refused under 221g, they will issue colored slips with your case number assigned to your stamping. US Consulates use 221g H1B slips of various colors such as blue, white, pink, and yellow.

What do these colors indicate? Let's find out.

221g Slips: What Do the Colors Specify?

221g White Slip H1B

Under 221(g), a white form indicates a complex category. This slip signifies the need for further Processing, which the USCIS does. The final decision regarding your H1B visa is based on the information obtained from the USCIS.

H1B 221g Blue Slip

The Blue 221g slip indicates that the US Consulate requires additional supporting documents before deciding on your visa application.

221g Yellow Slip

If the Consulate requires more time to analyze your application, it will issue a yellow slip. There is no fixed duration because the process depends on how extensive it is. Such types of cases require administrative Processing to substantiate the documents.

221g Pink Slip

If the consular officer has suspicions about the information given in the application, they will issue a pink slip. Such cases also require administrative Processing. If you receive a pink slip, your officer will provide you with a reference ID to track your application status online.

While we are on this topic, it is also important to know about Visa Refusal under Section 214 (b) or Section 212 (a). Sometimes the Consulate may deny your visa approval under either section or both. What does this refusal indicate?

  • Under Section 214 (b)

Under this section, the officer can deny the visa if they feel you intend to overstay the visa if it is issued.

  • Under Section 212(a)

A denial under this section is issued if your consular officer deems you ineligible to enter the US for a specific reason.

In the case of Section 214(b) and 212(a) denials, the decision has already been fully adjudicated, and the decision cannot be reversed or changed. So both decisions are considered "hard."

Administrative Processing H1B DropBox

The reason for temporary revocation is specified in the form for applications processed through dropbox. The slip will contain details about the required documents and how to submit them. Obtain the additional evidence specified in the 221(g) form and compile the necessary documentation. You can submit these documents electronically or at the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) drop-box. Processing will not begin until all documents are submitted.

Read on to gain in-depth knowledge about H1B Dropbox.

How to Take Your Case Out of Administrative Processing?

Your H1B case is likely to be under Administrative Processing if your officer has not asked you to provide any information or take any action. It also indicates that they are conducting a local investigation or waiting for clearance. Unfortunately, there is no way to find out what your case is being subjected to. However, if the administrative process takes too long, you can initiate an inquiry by contacting the Embassy or the Consular Section at the Consulate. You may also post your queries on the public-facing email address available at every Embassy and Consulate.

Administrative Processing is a period of uncertainty in your H1B visa process. The result may be either an approval or denial, and there's no saying how long it will take. All you can do is monitor your application status and wait for further intimation.

Visit TechFetch H1B

Would you like to gather more details about the H1B Administrative Processing? Visit TechFetch H1B to get all the latest information about H1B visa processing.

**Disclaimer: All H1B-related information is subject to change. Please refer to the USCIS official website for all the latest updates.**

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