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An In-Depth Look at H1B Visa 221g Administrative Processing
March 25, 2022
7 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.

What can one expect to happen when the USCIS issues a 221(g)?

A 221(g) denotes a temporary visa refusal. When the USCIS issues it, applicants can expect any of the following to happen:

Issuance of 221(g) form:

The applicant receives a color-coded form indicating why the temporary refusal is issued. A case number is also assigned to the color-coded 221(g) forms.

Documentation submission:

The Consulate will notify the applicant if additional documents are required for processing the visa application. In that case, you can collect the required documents and electronically submit them to the VFS or Visa Facilitation Services. You can also hand the documents to the location mentioned in the Form. Please note that visa processing may not proceed until all the requested documents are submitted.

Waiting duration:

You may have to wait for a stipulated time until all the documents are processed.

Visa decision or passport submission:

Once the processing is complete, and your visa eligibility is assessed, you will receive a request from the US Consulate asking you to submit your passport if it is yet to be submitted. You will also receive a US visa stamp on your passport. A denial letter will be sent to you if you are ineligible for a visa.

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

What Are The Reasons for Delayed 221(g) Processing?

There are several reasons for your 221(g) processing being delayed. It may happen because:

  • The consular officer assigned to your case prolonged the time to verify your employer-related information.
  • The information in your application contradicts the details you share during your visa interview.
  • The required additional documentation was not properly uploaded to the Petitioner Information Management Service.
  • Your name is on a watchlist or sounds similar to another name on the watchlist.
  • Insufficient amount of information in the additional documentation requested.

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."

5 Ways To Track Your 221(g):

Although there are several ways to track your H1B visa administrative processing, it is best to wait at least sixty days before checking your processing status. Given below are five ways to track your 221(g) processing:

  • Log in to your Consulate or VFS website to track your case number or passport electronically.
  • Contact the Consulate by telephone to find out where your paperwork is in the processing phase.
  • Contact the Consulate by email requesting the status of your 221(g).
  • Contact the Department of State in Washington, DC, by phone or email for information. It is likely that the conversation will be brief, and you will not receive much additional information.
  • Try contacting your Senator through mail or phone. This option is applicable if you are already employed in the USA. However, you can use this option only if your 221g wait time has been pending for more than sixty days.

Kindly note that there is no guarantee that you will get information from any of these sources. Further, contacting the right representatives does not guarantee to expedite the process. However, knowing more about your case might be comforting if a long time has passed.

What are your options for the US Visa in the 221g situation?

There are very limited options. You can:

  • Request another visa in another category as long as you are eligible for that visa. To do so, you don't have to withdraw the pending 221(g) application with the Consulate.
  • Find another employer to apply for the same visa. The same or a different employer can file your cap-exempt petition based on the information in your current petition. You can reappear for your visa interview when your petition is approved. Here again, withdrawal of the pending application is not necessary.

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.

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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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