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Understanding “administrative Processing”

Understanding “administrative processing”

The following materials are provided from a webinar hosted March 29, 2017 featuring guest speaker, Jay Gairson. Jay is an immigration and national security attorney in Seattle, Washington.  His clients are primarily from the Middle East, East Africa, and South Asia.  He regularly handles cases that receive additional fraud detection and national security review.  He uses systems thinking to evaluate government programs and strategize solutions to problems that appear to be otherwise intractable.  He graduated in 2010 cum laude from Seattle University.  He has served on several professional committees including AILA Washington’s Executive Committee and is highly involved in community groups. Jay can be reached at https://www.gairson.com/ or (206) 357-4218. Slides and video of the webinar appear at the bottom of the post. 

What is administrative processing?

Administrative processing is a catch-all term for all post-interview processing before a final visa decision is made. Any case that is otherwise approvable on its face, but has an open, unresolved issue is referred to administrative processing.

Unresolved issues include security advisory opinions, legal advisory opinions, general advisory opinions, fraud checks, supervisory review, waiting for additional evidence from the applicant, literal processing of the visa, and other issues.

Administrative processing is at its most frustrating when it goes on for several months. Typically this is caused by a consular post waiting for a response on some form of advisory opinion. Although, as was experienced in 2014 and 2015, processing delays may also result from system failures in the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) and more recently due to additional administrative hurdles such as the recent flurry of executive orders regarding visa issuance.

The most common and seemingly inexplicable causes of delay are fraud detection, legal advisory opinions (AO), and security advisory opinions (SAO).

Legal advisory opinions are usually anticipated and many posts will inform the client or attorney when one has been requested. For attorneys, the legal advisory opinion is the area where we are often the most comfortable: identify the legal question, analyze the law, apply the client’s facts, and provide a brief to the consulate. Legal advisory opinions are also an area where we usually feel comfortable telling our clients to be patient.

In contrast, security advisory opinions are a blackhole of knowledge and a menagerie of terms. Furthermore, reports about the programs designed to protect national security are intentionally vague when reported to the public in order to protect the integrity of the visa system. In order to understand these programs, we have to infer information from applicable laws and regulations, rarely leaked cables, the foreign affairs manual and handbook, congressional reports, office of inspector general reports, privacy impact assessments, and other sources that rarely give us complete and direct information.

Security Advisory Opinions (SAO).

There are 10 SAO programs that the public has some information about, but a reading of the 9 FAM 304.2 index hints that there may be at least 2 other SAO programs that do not have publicly available information. It is important that attorneys recognize these programs, in order to identify the most likely reason a case is held and ultimately fix the case.

The following is a brief summary of each of the known programs.  These programs fall broadly into three categories:  pre-issuance checks that must be started (and often completed) before a visa is issued, post-issuance notices that update DOS as well as other agencies that special individuals have received special visas, and nomination requests that seek to add information to a database about an individual or group.

  • Visas Horse is issued immediately after an A (diplomat or foreign government official), C-3 (FGO transit visa), or G (international organization or NATO) visa is issued. Supposedly Visas Horse is limited to a list of specific nationalities, but I have never seen that list.
  • Visas Pegasus is a namecheck program for Officials of Commonwealth of Independent States: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and potentially Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Georgia. The Visas Pegasus hold can be waived when certain diplomatic individuals are entering the U.S. to attend pre-ministerial, ministerial, pre-summit, summit, and White House meetings.
  • Visas Bear is issued immediately after a foreign government official, representative to international organization, or their families are issued a visa.
  • Visas Eagle is a namecheck for nationals of Cuba, China, Iran, Vietnam, and Russia who are seeking a K non-immigrant visa, an immigrant visa, or refugee status. It is a pre-issuance check to make sure there is a biographic data match with the original application (e.g., don’t make typos!). The request is forwarded from the NVC to DHS. After 10-days the case should be processed, even if there is no response. However, DHS or DOS can make a hold request.
  • Visas Hawk is an NCIC III namecheck (U.S. criminal history) required for all immigrant visa applicants and derivatives. It checks names, aliases, and dates of birth for individuals not otherwise in the CLASS (Consular Lookout And Support System, which is interconnected with the Consular Consolidated Database) database. Unmarried applicants under 16 years are not supposed to be held due to the results of this check, without evidence supporting the date of birth being incorrect.
  • Visas Mantis is a special check for individuals who will have access to specialized technology while in the U.S. or are knowledgable or learning in a sensitive or critical field. This primarily impacts F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrants, especially from Cuba, China, Iran, and Russia, but can potentially impact anyone.
  • Visas Merlin is the background check process for all refugees and asylees.
  • Visas Viper is used to report known or suspected terrorists for inclusion in the relevant terrorist watch lists. Not all posts retain information on why they nominate individuals to these lists, which can be the basis for future false hits that are exceedingly difficult to remove — for example I had a client who matched the watchlist as a suspected terrorist due to his name and a political party membership in his home country that matched the name of a known terrorist on another continent who was a member of a terrorist organization with the same name as the political party. Getting that through the heads of the officers at DHS and DOS was stupidly slow. Visas Viper individuals are put on the Terrorist Screening Database maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center at the FBI. The TSC list is generally separated into two groups, “No Fly” which completely blocks visa issuance as well as commercial aviation travel, and the “Selectee” list which requires additional screening and is often reported by individuals who always get their airline tickets stamped “SSSS” (Secondary Security Screening Selection).
  • Visas Condor is additional screening and background checks based on country of birth, citizenship, or residency in the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” (T-7) list: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria; or from the “List of 26”: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Yemen. This is a mandatory stop list and allegedly takes 2 to 4 days, thanks in part to the partially rolled out PATRIOT (Pre-Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team) system managed by ICE, but often take 3 to 6 weeks and if there is a hit who knows how long.
  • Visas Donkey is the responsive SAO when there is a namecheck “HIT” or “IDENT”. A “HIT” is a near-match of which 98% are resolved in 120 days, or an “IDENT” which is an exact match and typically resolved within 30 days.

Challenges with these programs.

Visas programs Condor, Donkey, Viper, and Mantis are suffering from near exponential growth due to the increasing size of their relevant databases, lack of resources for reviewing and removing or deconflicting individuals from these lists, and the ever-increasing number of visa applicants. The result is that these programs are guaranteed to continue to get slower, unless dramatic improvements are made to inter-agency cooperation (DHS and DOS don’t always get along), resources, coordination, and intelligent data screening.

Exacerbating these delays are the new policies DOS and DHS will promulgate in response to President Trump’s travel ban and other initiatives. For example, Secretary Tillerson sent out several cables in an attempt to enact the second travel ban. These cables included many provisions, not all of which were rescinded. Among those that were rescinded though was the inclusion of all nationals and residents of Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Libya, and Yemen for additional scrutiny and background checks under Visas Donkey.

Furthermore, as shown by Secretary Tillerson’s recent cables, in the event that President Trump manages to get his executive order through regarding the travel ban, or it is passed through pure DOS procedures, we can virtually guarantee that the Visas Donkey program will grind to halt trying to handle the additional burden of individuals receiving additional scrutiny. This would instantaneously increase the volume of cases processed under Visas Donkey by approximately 25% per year (based on the number of visas processed per country in 2016 and existing statistics on how many cases are already processed in this category). The simultaneous reduction in funding for visa processing and the reduction in the number of daily processed visas (a good thing) will dramatically increase the time it takes to process all cases impacted by the various SAO processes worldwide, especially those impacted by Visas Donkey and Condor.

With barely 26 Visa Security Program ICE/HSI units worldwide, which handle much of this review and the training of consular officers for it, these delays are only going to get longer. Note the known Visa Security Unit’s are located in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Manila, Philippines; Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE; Islamabad, Pakistan, Caracas, Venezuela; Montreal, Canada; Hong Kong, China; Casablanca, Morocco; Cairo, Egypt; and Nairobi, Kenya.

Then top all of that off with FDNS style fraud detection, with consular non-reviewability layered on top of it, in the more complicated cases and we have a straight-forward recipe for hurried decisions rather than adequate scrutiny.

Finally, according to various OIG reports, most of the historic administrative processing delays have been caused by errors in the visa submission by either the applicant or the post, false hits with one of the many watchlists, increasing numbers of visas requrested, and actual hits with the relevant databases.

The unintended results of all of these delays is even more frustrating: Consular officers are encouraged to increase scrutiny on cases potentially impacted by lengthy administrative processing in order to come up with a basis for pretextual denial – similar to we see at DHS in CARRP and TRIG cases. The only exception to this is when DHS wants to carrying out additional CARRP or TRIG review, but is intentionally doing its work behind the shield of consular non-reviewability, at which point it will tell the post to hold the case.

How do you avoid all of this?

You can’t. Simply put, you cannot avoid administrative processing. However, you can often reduce the length of time it would otherwise take to complete.  In order to that you need to be semi-familiar with the various programs listed above, thoroughly familiar with your client’s case, and ready to preload all of the necessary information so that the necessary checks can start before the case gets to DOS.

At a minimum, you should prepare your case to address the most common issue likely to be encountered by your client’s demographic. For example, if your client is from El Salvador and has a relatively common name, you can reduce processing times related to name checks for gang members by providing contextual information for your client such as the names of close friends and family members in order to differentiate from potential HITS. Similarly, if your client is from a high immigrant visa fraud country such as Vietnam, you will want to spend extra time establishing your client’s relationships in order to remove all doubt. While for Somalis, you will need to satisfy additional identity requirements by providing more information and documentation establishing consistent use of the same identity for the last 5 to 15 years, preferably using documents that do not originate in Somalia.

Preloading.

Preloading is straight forward, but be prepared for some clients to fight you on it because you are providing more information than normally necessary to process a case. For petition-based visas, it is in your client’s interest to preload information commonly used to deny cases for that type of client, by filing it with the petition at USCIS, even though it is not directly requested in the instructions. For example, when dealing with a high identity fraud country, it is a best practice to include multiple forms of documentation establishing the individual’s identity beforehand. While it may only be necessary to include a passport, or in some cases even the passport is waived, it is far more efficient to include UNHCR identification, country identification, school records, and other documents that thoroughly establish the individual’s continuity of identity. By providing this additional information to DHS, you allow the security screening to start sooner and you can directly protect your client from a denial at the consulate based on an allegation that your client did not provide that information. You also make it easier for yourself in the event you ever have to litigate the case.

For immigrant visa and petition-based cases you will also want to update these documents when it goes to the NVC and again at the consular stage. Thus you optimize the possibility that the consular officer receives the relevant information or that the relevant information is readily available to whatever agency will be doing the necessary investigations and will make a final decision for your client.

For non-immigrant non-petition visas, you do the same thing but include it with the application. When a client has experienced multiple denials, I even go so far as to send the information to the Embassy ahead of time or alert them that the client will be bringing additional information in that I expect them to keep. I encourage my clients to never let an officer refuse to take documents when I know it is important to the case. Yes, the consular officer has a limited amount of time, but there is nothing more frustrating than having a client explain that they were denied for something that the evidentiary packet resolved.

Note there are exceptions to preloading cases, but they all come down to a certain amount of common sense: if you think evidence will lead to an unfavorable misinterpretation of your client’s case then you probably do not want to submit it unless it is required.Furthermore, thanks to Secretary Tillerson’s recent cables, we also know how to preempt against future Visas Donkey reviews by preloading the applicant’s additional information that will be requested. These so called “Extreme Vetting” procedures principally consist of requests for more information on an the applicant.

Extreme vetting!

Thanks to Secretary Tillerson’s recent cables, we also know how to preempt against future Visas Donkey reviews by preloading the applicant’s additional information that will be requested. These so called “Extreme Vetting” procedures principally consist of requests for more information on an the applicant:

  • 15 years travel history.
  • Names of all siblings, children, and former spouses.
  • 15 years of addresses.
  • All prior passport numbers.
  • 15 years prior occupations and employers along with a description of the job.
  • 5 years of phone numbers.
  • 5 years of email addresses and social media handles.

While this program is currently proposed to be put under the Visas Donkey program, it may be more appropriate to name it Visas Porcine as an homage to the apparent intent of the program. While it may be possible to fight these suggested changes, a fight will not always net the quickest or most successful result for a client.

Remember that ultimately an attorney’s job is to unite the client with family or an employer in the U.S. as quickly as possible. Thus, unless the client wants to fight it and risk years of additional time (and potentially being outright rejected), it is far easier to play along. Note that there are substantial issues with basing security checks on an individual’s email address and social media handles, especially  due to the relatively high probability that an individual can lose control of their account or say something easily misunderstood when looked at without context.

What if I am already stuck in administrative processing?

Sometimes, no matter how much you preload, a case simply gets stuck. It can also get stuck because it came to you after it was already at the Embassy. In these cases, you need to slowly work through your remedies until the case is processed or is ripe for litigation.

Why is it stuck? Identify why your client’s case is stuck. Sit down, review it carefully, interrogate them on what was asked at the interview and what documents were reviewed or taken, and look over the case history. Was there a mistake on the spelling of a name? Was there information accidentally omitted earlier? Is the client from a Visas Condor country? Does the client have a common KST or EPS name? Figure out what is going on to the best of your ability, but don’t drive yourself nuts because sometimes you will never figure it out.  The following are steps that can be taken to remedy a case and identify the issue at hand.

  1. Reach out to the consular post and ask them what is happening. You will probably be told the case is in administrative processing. However, sometimes you will get a more direct answer, “We have requested a legal advisory opinion” for example.
  2. If you know why it is delayed and believe you can remedy it, then escalate to a supervisor. Otherwise wait the requested 60 days for administrative processing, do an inquiry again, and then escalate to a supervisor.
  3. Reach out to AILA’s committee liaison, especially if you think you are experiencing a critical or common issue.
  4. For non-immigrant visas contact the Department’s Visa Office. For immigrant visas reach out to the NVC and make sure the case hasn’t been sent back (some embassies are horrible about sending notices on this).
  5. File a Congressional Inquiry. If the case has been pending at the consulate for more than one year, the congressional liaison can reach out directly to HQ rather than the post itself, this will often get you better information. Help your congressional liaison understand the case and what they can do to help.
  6. Mandamus — understand there is a high chance of a pretextual, unexplained denial and the consulate does have an unavoidable duty to adjudicate the case in a reasonable time.

With each of these steps it is important to keep some other things to keep in mind:

  • DOS is not always where the case is held up.
  • Reach out directly, via FOIA, or indirectly (liaison) to the various agencies it may be holding the case: DHS/ICE/CIS/FBI/etc.
  • Generally getting angry with DOS gets you nowhere. However, they do sometimes react well to humor (but not always).
  • Be understanding and informative, “I understand this is probably not DOS holding up the case, but what can we do about it” or even “After thoroughly reviewing my client’s file I believe this additional information may help you.”
  • Be creative: if DHS/ICE or FBI is who held up your case for background checks, then why are you only contacting or suing DOS? if you are bringing a new spouse but the petitioner is still living with the ex-spouse, why aren’t you encouraging your client to move somewhere else or kick the ex-spouse out? If the delays are caused by inadequate resources at the agency, then challenge the increase in agency work paired with the reduction in resources.
  • Embassies often send emails at the start of their day and if you respond immediately may carry out a conversation rather than re-queue you for later communication.

Managing client expectations.

Every client and every population of people respond differently to these delays. In my practice, I find the following actions to be the most useful to reducing client anxiety.

  • Be upfront, if you think a case is likely to be hit by administrative processing or even if the individual’s from a demographic that commonly is hit by it, warn them when you start the case and throughout its processing. I regularly tell my clients from countries with additional complications that there case could easily take twice as long as their friend’s case and up to a year at the consulate.
  • Keep the client informed by sending a quick status update (email and text are great) simply saying, “I checked in on the status again” or “I will next check the status in X days.” When client’s have a realistic timely and expectation, they are more likely to sit back and wait rather than call you constantly.
  • Be honest, if the additional processing makes you angry tell the client “I get so frustrated by cases that get stuck like this.” or if you simply do not know what is going on, “I don’t know why your case is stuck, but I know things we can do to try and figure it out or unstick it. But please understand we may never know why it stalled out like this.”

Finally, always remember to take a break, because this work can be quite stressful.

Slides from Jay’s presentation.

Video of Jay’s presentation.

Visa “Administrative Processing” – Alternatives to Waiting from Greg McLawsen on Vimeo.

Understanding “administrative processing”
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Jay Gairson

Jay Gairson is an immigration and national security attorney in Seattle, Washington. His clients are primarily from the Middle East, East Africa, and South Asia. He regularly handles cases that receive additional fraud detection and national security review. He uses systems thinking to evaluate government programs and strategize solutions to problems that appear to be otherwise intractable. He graduated in 2010 cum laude from Seattle University. He has served on several professional committees including AILA Washington’s Executive Committee and is highly involved in community groups.

This Post Has 36 Comments
  1. Hi Sound Immigration team, I came across your website as I desperately was searching for answers why my father’s case has been under administrative processing for a year in Vietnam. I am the petitioner. We ran into two issues: my father was a member of the communist party ( for work reasons) at the time of the interview. He left right after. And the second reason is having to submit the I864 A from a joint sponsor ( my cousin- his niece).
    Like I said the case has been under AP with no updates for a year. Is this something your firm can handle/intervene?
    From reading the article, I see that a lawyer can reach out to the consulate post and or indirectly to liasons to see why the case has been pending for so long and figure out a way to push it farther along. Please let me know if you can help or have any advice. Thank you!

  2. We applied for non-immigrant visa in March 2018. Although we had visiting visa to travel to states, the officer sent out our case for AP. We are dual national (Iran, Ireland) and the case has been processed via our Irish passport. The case has been updated for the day of interview and since then there is no update. My husband’s petition for O1 visa had been approved in Feb. 2018. We have been visiting states couple of times and I don’t understand why it took so long time? Any help? Advise?

    1. Unfortunately, the consulate itself probably doesn’t know why the case is in admin processing. The file is probably with one of several law enforcement agencies for review. So long as it stays there, there is usually nothing the Department of State can do to move things along.

  3. I once applied for a non-immigrant visa to attend a conference but after two years of Administrative Processing, got denied under 214b. Now I have to chair a session in the US again, but am not sure if this all might repeat again with rejection, wasting time and money apart from mental stress.
    For context, I was on F-1 before converting to H-1 upon graduation. Worked for few years and then got into a grad school, starting my grad work after filing for change-of-status from H-1 back to F1. Upon graduation, there was still no decision yet, however, ran into an FBI employee seeking his help. He interviewed me and said he would help but nothing happened. In the meantime, I came back to my country started working for a company. Then, there was a conference but my application was put in Administrative Process and lingered for two years before being denied. It was after a year when I was called the second time for the visa interview that I was asked about the discussion that I had with the particular FBI employee. Two years had already passed and the reason to travel to the US was over long time ago and my application was denied. My company wanted to send me to Australia on a small project but that High Commission asked me questions relating to that interaction with the FBI. Now I’m getting sense that the FBI guy must have put me on the watch list in the report he turned in as there is some information sharing between the US and Australia. I withdrew my application once it was again put in the Administrative Processing and the project date passed. Having said, now again there is an event which I have chair on behalf of my company in the US. I am not sure whether I should apply and what the chances are for getting a visa. Appreciate your comments.

    1. It doesn’t quite make sense that you just “ran into” an agent for the FBI. (Meaning you were just at a coffee shop and happened to talk to a special agent about your case?) It sounds much more likely that either you or someone of whom you had knowledge was the subject of an investigation and you were contacted in that regard. This could certainly have led to a name flag on your record when later applying.

      With that being said, a 214(b) denial is for concern that you were attempting to use a temporary visa as a means to stay long-term in the U.S. It has nothing to do with security-related concerns that would be triggered by administrative processing. So if the last visa denial was clearly due to 214(b) then there is no reason – based on what was said here – that a future application would be denied based on the interaction with the FBI.

  4. I had my visa interview with my son and daughter in October 2017 in US Embassy Islamabad. The interview was very brief and went well but I was given 221g white slip and my passport was kept by the CO as he politely asked me to send new joint sponsor documents ASAP and I’ll get my visa then. It took us around 6 months to find and submit documents of a new joint sponsor hence we submitted the requested documents on 12 April 2018. My son also received an email from the embassy asking for his social media and phone info for last 15 years which he immediately sent for his case. Since then our cases only changed from Refused to Administrative Processing only once online and there has been no update it’s still on AP since past 5 months.Can you tell me how long does it take to get a visa in such a scenario? Also, my medical has expired too.

  5. My wife and Step Daughter which is 2years old had their interview last August 17, 2018. First it’s going great, then the consular probably felt that our relationship came fast. Cause my Step daughter just turns 2. What they did is they have a Filipino Consular interview my wife in our native language. Wife explained every details of our relationship. They made her fill out a form then after the interview they said they will review our case and get back to us via email if it’s approved or not. They didn’t give their passport back and docs back. Then my wife googled the paper that she filled out it’s something about Fraud Prevention. I’m just worried, is this normal? thus this really take a long time? 🙁 … I emailed them and gave them my social media (facebook) username and password and let them know that, to help them out prove my marriage is 100% true they could check all my timeline, photos, and all the videos in there. Thank you for the response guys

    1. Hi, Justin. This doesn’t necessarily sound like an administrative processing issue. It sounds like they have questions about the bona fides of the relationship. At this point, you’ll need to wait for either a decision from the consulate or request for additional information.

      1. Thank you Sir for your response. In our case how long does it normally take for their decision? They didn’t ask us for any additional info. I already missed my daughter’s birthday, my marriage 1st year anniversary., now my Birthday coming up on the 27th. It’s just sad and frustrating for this wait time. 🙁

  6. Hi, thank you for all that you wrote about ap process. We’re stuck in ap at moment. My husband had his interview Jan 2018. They said we see that your relationship is bona fide but due country of origin being Somalia we can’t process your visa because of the travel ban. His status went from refused to ap and has been stuck in ap ever since.I don’t know how this ap is different from normal ap. I don’t know if ap just stands for refused. Is there hope?

    1. Hi, Shukri. It sounds like the consulate might be using AP here as a placeholder for someone who’s case can’t be approved because of the travel ban. That unusual because most folks are just getting denials. You have the option of applying for a very limited waiver if he is subject to the travel ban. But you may wish to first clarify with the consulate that they actually have the file and that they are not waiting for an AP investigation to be complete.

      1. I had my interview on Dec 12 2017 and was approved,the next the i received a and email that my divorce degree needs to be verified from High court with instructions on how to go about…..they said that i the interim my passport will be returned to me,they sent my passport back…it took them 2 to verify after verification they sent me another email in February stating because I told them during my B2 applications that I deal on cars that I should send to them all my billadings for my car importations which I sent to them…..since then till now in still in AP…… sir we really need help and advice

        1. It doesn’t sound like you are in administrative processing. It sounds like there’s just a “221(g)” issue – you haven’t given them the certified divorce certificate. They have to follow the Department of State guidelines on what constitutes a valid civil document, which in this case requires the “high court” verification. So get that taken care of and you could be back on track.

      2. Hi, thank you so much for you explanation. It was hepl full information about AP. My husband was interviewed China embassy in May, 29, 2018 and they said during the interview sorry we can not give vise today and they give to him 221g letter. after that they put him under AP. After 60 days the embassy called him and they said to him we approve your waiver and they said send your passport to the embassy, so we can issue your visa. View day later he send his passport. After 10 days latter he get another call from the embassy that says where can we send your vise, bank or the delivery to your house and he said my house. Two days letter he got email that says sorry we can not issue your vise because of systems error we are pending final authorization to complete his visa application. And then they return his passport.
        I wonder if every experience any situation like this and what should we do. We worried about why they return the passport and they did not give us any time limit. Plse let know if you have any idea and what should we do.

        1. Hi, Nimo. This is a bit confusing. Did the consulate say the “system error” had prevented them from running some type of background check? Or just that they weren’t able to physically produce the visa at the moment?

  7. I had attended my Visa interview on August 9th 2018 at Pakistan embassy and I was given a 221g white slip. My passport and other documents was taken by the consular. The only reason i got an 221g was because on ceac my document was uploaded in the wrong spot. So on the same day after the interview we uploaded it. And as well i needed to upload my transcripts. first CEAC showed READY now CEAC shows administrative processing. The date changed from August 16th and then August 24th and now August 27th. I am a bit confused what is going on.
    can you advise me.

  8. Hi there 🙂 Thanks for the information.
    I’m from Syria. I applied for a business visa like 5 months ago and I’m still under administrative processing 🙁
    How do I escalate the issue to a supervisor?
    Anyway, I don’t need the visa anymore. But if I apply again for a different visa do I have to go through this again?
    Also what’s the average processing time for someone from Syria? And what could be the causes for the delay? Other than that they have a high volume of applications.
    Thanks a lot.

  9. I went for my interview on the 17 of August 2018. The officer was not friendly at all.. He was asking me questions about my previous marriage that my late wife filed my previous petitioned. I told him that my visa was revoked due to my wife passed away. He asked me little question about my new fiance I answered all his questions about my new fiance.. After the interview he gave me back my passport and gave me a white paper that he will get back to me by next week but the white paper he gave me said after 90 days if I didn’t hear from them I should email them. What does this mean

    1. …depends what’s on the white paper. If it indicates you are in administrative processing then you should expect a substantial delay – possibly a lot more than 90 days – while the case is investigated.

  10. Hi,
    First of all, I would like to say, your detailed description of what AP could be, is the most helpful information I have read on AP, from all the websites combined. So thank you for putting effort into educating us.
    My sisters case has been stuck on AP for two years now. It seemed that the AP was determined even before she appeared for the interview, because the 221G was handed to her when she first sat, even though the consular still proceeded with the interview. The interview was basic, and mostly friendly conversation actually and just informed her that her case will be on AP and ended. Now two years later, despite two Senator contact, and several inquiry, the only reply she gets is ‘it is still in AP’. But what I believe what makes her case unique is, she has before, and after been to continuously renew her visits visa and come to the US. I find this to be odd, because shouldn’t the US has the same system to issue a visa? Why would she be held up on AP for immigrant visa, but continue to receive visitor visa? And is there anything else we should do at this point like mandamus, or another agency we should contact or continue to wait?

    1. Agreed – that is odd that her B-2 visa has been renewed if there is a security-related concern in her case. We recommend contacting Jay Gairson in Seattle (easily found on Google). He has a number of federal lawsuits underway on related cases.

  11. I had my visa interview on July 12th and the interview took only 2 minutes and was told my H1B visa is approved. However, it has been almost a month I have not received my passport back yet. The ceac system says it is under administrative processing, and I was never asked for any further documents or anything. Is this a common case? Is there anything I can do to expedite the process? Thank you.

    1. Whether or not administrative processing is common (it’s hard to say from a statistical perspective) this is a serious development. Your case could be on review status for a year or longer depending on the nature of what’s being investigated. There are no easy options to getting such a case “unstuck.”

  12. My case is currently on administrative processing but they are asking for an identification card from me. But if your dad’s name does not tally but same surname from what was used what could be their decision. Thanks

  13. Hi! My fiancé had his interview on April 11th 2018 in Cairo Egypt. The Consular was very rude to him and asked some questions that were not only rude but quite inappropriate. Then after the interview, he pushed my fiancé’s passport back to him. When my fiancé asked what does this mean for our case, the Consular said “ Review or Overview” and that my fiancé would be back. When pressed further, the Consular stated we would hear back from them in 1 week. Then said “ week or months”. We have heard nothing from them except the emails to me say it is in Administrative Processing. It is now almost 4 months. Anything we should do?

    1. We are sorry to hear about that experience. There is little proactive you can do while your case is in administrative process. Indeed, the consulate itself may no longer have the case. These are security review processes that can be extremely lengthy (as in a year or more).

  14. I been on Ap from the 27 of February, and my status continued updating but it still at
    Ap on the date change ,what it mean?

  15. My daughter’s fiance had his interview on 11/22. While in college he’d unknowingly (being young and stupid or just didn’t know) he overstayed his Visa by 62 days. After that tried to return to finish school and was denied 3 times. Also there was one incident where he was out of town and his roommates got in trouble and had to go to court. Since he was on the lease he had to go but he was found Not Guilty while the roommates were found Guilty. After interview he knew, from past interviews, that the U.S. College record would come up. Even thought the gentleman did not hand him the 221g he requested one so he could turn in the records, even though they said they didn’t need them. He also had proof of his overstay and the amount of time. When he came in, when visa expired and when he left the U.S. and tried to come back (which is how he had no idea he’d overstayed). My daughter and him have been dating 4 years and have traveled all over the past 2.5 years to see each other (while he was not allowed back). Anyway after interview the guy said everything looked good just had to verify dates that he didn’t overstay 180 days or more, daughter’s fiance filled out 221G and brought it back on 11/27 with court record showing NG. On 11/29 Case went from AP immigrant visa to AR non-immigrant visa and back dated to 11/24. Then on 12/1 it changed back to AP with a note saying this could take 2 days to 10 days. This is where we are at now. He is from Portugal. Waiting and not knowing what any of this means is frustrating! Wedding is 1/6/18

    1. I attended my Immigrant Visa interview in Lagos on 30 October 2018. After the interview, i was asked to provide additional documents regarding my past military background (i discharged from the Army voluntarily) of which i did. I was asked to make inquiries after 90 days. This is 9 months now, all i am been told anytime i make inquiries is that my case is still undergoing Administrative Process. What steps do i take please. Thanks

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