What to do when you are stuck in "Administrative Processing"?
Author: US Visa Attorney Alena Shautsova
If one applies for a visa with a US consulate, he or she may encounter something called "administrative processing." In a regular course of events, a visa applicant receives response to the visa application the date of his or her visa interview. However, sometimes the date of the decision happens much later than the date of the interview.
The reason is that a consular officer feels that for whatever reason the applicant should not receive a visa, but cannot deny the application completely. The officer will then "invoke" INA 221(g). It is quite frustrating to receive the 221(g) determination. The 221(g) decision is not a denial per se, but basically puts the visa applicant in limbo when he/she cannot receive a visa and cannot apply for a visa with a different post.
The first step here would be to make sure that the applicant submitted proper paperwork proving eligibility for the applied visa. If some documents are missing, this will be a good reason for the consul to invoke the 221(g) provision.
The other reason for administrative processing might be that the interviewing officer believes that the alien is ineligible to receive a visa under section 212 or any other provision of law (i.e. INA & 221(g)). It usually happens when the applicant has a criminal conviction, has been in the US previously and was fond to be in violation of Immigration laws; or there are security concerns.
For example, the following are the codes for the security check ups:
- Visas Condor – This is when visa application has been "identified by law enforcement and intelligence information" for scrutinized review, while the average decision is rendered within 2-4 weeks for this type of administrative processing there are extreme cases in which the decision takes an elongated period of time to render. Speak to your attorney about forcing USCIS to make a decision if this is your particular case.
- Visas Mantis – When the applicants proposed activities in the US involve an exposure to a sensitive technology, a typical time for this visa clearance can be up to 8 weeks.
- Visas Donkey – When the applicants name matches one in the Consular Lookout and Support System’s name check database. This Visa can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to clear.
- NCIC Criminal Hits – Similar to the Visas Donkey, if the name is checked and a "hit" come’s up from the FBI NCIC records when this occurs the interviewing officer will submit the applicant’s fingerprints to the FBI. It is common for visa clearance on the same day when there is a false hit and the day after for a positive hit.
If you did receive an administrative processing determination and it is taking a long time to clear, you may choose to hire an Immigration attorney who will follow up on your behalf with the consulate and will make sure that your visa is not getting unreasonable withheld.