Navigating Through Visa Application Delays: A Guide to Administrative Processing

by David H. Nachman, Esq., Ludka Zimovcak, Esq., Snehal Batra, Esq. and Samantha Chasworth, Esq.


Understanding the Intricacies of INA §221(g) and How to Manage Delays Effectively

Obtaining a U.S. visa can be hindered by administrative processing, a process used by the U.S. Department of State under INA §221(g). Administrative processing occurs when a visa decision can’t be made instantly during an applicant’s interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Unfortunately, administrative processing can cause significant difficulties for applicants, their families in the U.S., and their prospective employers due to the uncertainty and delays it creates.

Preparation is Key: Reducing the Chances of Delays

Thorough preparation before the visa interview is key to minimizing the chances of falling into the administrative processing loop. Consular officers handle up to 120 interviews daily in busy locations like Monterrey or New Delhi. Therefore, they value concise and well-presented cases. An applicant’s ability to effectively communicate their qualifications and purpose in a brief ‘elevator pitch’ can significantly enhance the prospects of a favorable decision.

Navigating Post-Interview Procedures

When additional scrutiny is required, officers issue Form 221(g), which outlines any missing documents and further steps. Keeping detailed records of the interview questions and responses can be invaluable for future reference and help to understand why a case is under administrative review.

Deciphering Visa Statuses: ‘Refused’ Does Not Mean ‘Denied’

A common area of confusion is the interpretation of the “refused” status on the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. Contrary to popular belief, this does not equate to a denial in the context of administrative processing. Engaging with consulate offices via email for clarity, although often limited in detail, can be helpful in understanding the specific reasons for refusal.

Understanding the Reasons Behind Administrative Delays

The timeline and process of administrative processing are case-specific. Factors that influence administrative processing include incomplete documentation, the need for further review of complex cases, legal queries, prior visa denials, suspicions of fraud, criminal history, or national security concerns. In some cases, additional interagency checks, such as Security Advisory Opinions (SAOs), are conducted for cases with national security implications, which can significantly extend processing times.

Conclusion: Proactive Measures for a Smoother Visa Journey

Although some aspects of administrative processing are beyond an applicant’s control, being well-prepared, having a clear and concise presentation, keeping detailed records of the consular interview, and understanding the potential triggers for administrative review can significantly improve the visa application experience. Knowledge and preparation are key to navigating the complexities of administrative processing delays.


About The Author


David H. Nachman, Esq. is one of the Managing Attorneys at the Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C., a pre-eminent International Immigration and Nationality Law Firm dedicated to providing a wide array of business and family immigration law services for skilled U.S.-and Canada-bound workers. The Attorneys in our Law Firm assist clients with waivers, marriage cases, citizenship applications, I-130 sponsorship for family, etc.
If you have any questions about how the immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your family members or if you want to access additional information about the United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can send us an email at info@visaserve.com or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at www.visaserve.com


Ludka Zimovcak, Esq. is a Managing Attorney at NPZ Law Group, PC. Mrs. Zimovcak's passion for excellence in immigration law derives from her own family's first-hand immigration experiences. She is fully licensed to practice as an Attorney in Slovakia and New York


Snehal Batra, Esq. is Managing Attorney of our Raritan, NJ office at the Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C., a pre-eminent International Immigration and Nationality Law Firm dedicated to providing a wide array of business and family immigration law services for skilled U.S.-and Canada-bound workers. Ms. Batra is an Indian-American attorney with a passion for immigration law which derives from being an immigrant herself. Having been born in India and raised in New Jersey, Ms. Batra understands firsthand the many difficulties and challenges that immigrants commonly experience while engaged in the U.S. immigration process. As such, she is eager to help families, businesses and individual immigrants to realize the American dream.


Samantha Chasworth, Esq. is Counsel at the Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C., a pre-eminent International Immigration and Nationality Law Firm dedicated to providing a wide array of business and family immigration law services for skilled U.S.-and Canada-bound workers. Ms. Chasworth earned a Juris Doctorate (JD) from the St. John's University School of Law in Queens, New York, where she was an editor on the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development and participated in numerous immigration and family law clinics and internships including time at the US-Mexico Border at the Karnes County Civil Detention Center.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.