The Beast called 221g – Process and FAQs

by Saurabh · 976 comments

Any person planning to travel to US has to go through an interview process at the US embassy/consulate, and as part of the interview process, the officer reviews all the submitted document and information and makes the call whether to approve or reject the visa. As part of the process, they often issue 221g when they want to do additional processing, and cannot make the decision at the time interview is being conducted.

Here, I will try to capture as much information on 221g to try to explain the process.

What is 221g?
When the consulate officer determines that additional processing is required before they can make the decision, they issue 221g.

When is 221g issued?
A person can be put under administrative processing, because of several reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:
1. Background check: This can happen if a person has a common muslim name, or is working in an industry like pharmaceutical, biotech, engineering etc that’s there on TAL (Technology Alert List); or has a name matching to an entry in alert list.
2. Employment check: This can happen if a person is working for a consulting company and the officer wants to ensure that the submitted client/project information is correct; or want to check if the employer maintains control over employee’s tasks and activities (employer-employee relationship).
3. PIMS: This can happen when the petition has not been updated at the KSC (Kentucky Service Center) and the officer puts the processing on hold until the information gets updated there.

What does the DOS do after 221g is issued?
Once your case is put under administrative processing, following steps happen:
1. A slip will be issued. Different color slips are issued for different reasons by different consulates. The slip will have the case number assigned to your stamping. The case number starts w/ the year of interview date and will be of the format 2012xxx-xxx-x or 2012xxx-xxx-xx (assuming the candidate went for interview in 2012).
2. If the consulate needs additional documents for the processing, they will ask you to submit the documents. These can be submitted electronically or at VFS drop-box. The issued slip will have information about the required documents and how to submit them. The processing will not start until all the documents have been submitted.
3. After this, you just need to sit back and wait for them to process your case.
4. Once the processing is complete and you are determined to be eligible for the visa, then you will be asked to submit the passport (if not already submitted) and they would stamp the visa in the passport. If you are not found to be eligible, then they would return the original documents (except for 797).

How long does it take to resolve?
There is no set timeline for 221g processing. It can take as little as a week, or as much as several months.

How to follow-up?
As per DOS “Before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.” One can follow-up in following ways:
1. Track your passport on VFS website
2. Track your case number on concerned consulate website. Note that not all cases can be tracked electronically, and each consulate has a different method of updating the cases.
3. Call VFS (contact information available on VFS website). Note that they will not provide any more meaningful information than what’s already available from (1) and (2)
4. Email concerned consulate (contact information available at respective consulate website). Note that they may not be very good in responding.
5. Email or call Department of State in Washington DC (contact information available on DOS website). Note that they will not provide any more meaningful information than what’s already available from (1) and (2), and may be short in conversation.
6. If you were working in US, then you can email your Senator and ask them for help. However, this should be done only if it has been pending for more than 60 days.

Can I expedite 221g processing?
There is no way to expedite the process.

Does delay mean rejection?
Not necessarily. Unfortunately, administrative processing takes time, and one needs to remain hopeful. If one has been asked to submit the passport, then that’s definitely a positive sign. However, if one has not been asked to submit the passport, then it’s not necessarily a negative sign.

Are there any alternates to this?
There are not many alternates, but the few ones available are:
1. Apply for visa in another category. This can be done as long as you are eligible for that visa category. One doesn’t need to withdraw the pending 221g application.
2. Apply for same visa but through another employer (applicable more to H-1 applicants). Based on your current petition, an employer (same or different) can file cap-exempt petition for you. Once it is approved you can re-appear for visa interview. Again, one doesn’t need to withdraw the pending 221g application.

What happens in case of rejection?
In case the stamping request is rejected after the processing:
1. Consulate will send the petition back to USCIS for reconsideration along w/ their comments
2. All your original documents will be returned to you, except for 797 which is sent to USCIS
3. Once USCIS receives the petition, they will send a notice of receipt to the petitioner
4. USCIS will review the petition (this could take 2-3 months) and either issue NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) or NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny). The petitioner will be given certain days (30-60 days, actual days given is mentioned in the NOIR/NOID) to respond.
5. Based on petitioner’s response, USCIS will finally reinstate the petition or deny it
6. If it’s reinstated, then USCIS will send the document to the concerned consulate, which in turn will get in touch w/ you to appear at the consulate.

[As I get more information on 221g and based on most commonly asked questions in the blog, I will continue to update this post]

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{ 976 comments… read them below or add one }

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Surenther October 10, 2014 at 7:04 am

Hi All,

I have attended my interview today in chennai. She asked my Employee and my Client. Then she asked my I797 Copy and Client letter. She kept those documents with my passport and she gave me blue slip of 221g. In that she selected “YOUR APPLICATION REQUIRES ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING BEFORE A FINAL DECISION CAN BE MADE” . She didn’t asked for any other documents. I don’t know what will happen!


Pallu October 9, 2014 at 5:51 am

I had my H1b renewal (extension) stamping interview at Hyderabad, India on Aug 13-14, 2014. I had my first H1b stamping done from the same post last year April 2013) and received the visa ~35 days post interview after administrative processing. I am a Ph.D from biological sciences working as a scientist in US since 8 year (5 years J1 & 3 years H1b). Since I received administrative clearance about 16 months ago, I did not anticipate: 1) my H1b renewal to undergo administrative processing, and 2) even if it undergoes admin processing, I expected it to be faster. Hence, I scheduled my interview for the very next day after landing in India. I was now traveling to India on bereavement leave as my father passed away suddenly in May 2014 & did not attend the last rites because of urgent planned experiments ongoing that time. Now my visa has been under administrative processing for 56 days and I am still waiting. My work is severely affected in the laboratory in US and I am fearing to loose my job. Also I am not able to reunite with my 5 year old kindergartener son who is with my husband in US. I have already changed my flight ticket 4 times in anticipation of visa issuance. Please guide me.


Pallu October 9, 2014 at 5:55 am

Also to add, I did not have a change of job, or change in visa, or chnge in employer, or change in name…no major changes since last year…still visa has not been issued yet.


nsns October 11, 2014 at 10:22 am

Did you get approval yet?


Pallu October 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm

No, I did not get the approval yet. Still waiting…58 days as of today post interview.


221(G) September 30, 2014 at 3:11 pm

I attended visa interview today and VO issued 221(G) blue form requesting for few more docs but he returned all documents including I797,I-129,passport etc. The USCIS case status still shows decision. I have asked my employer to respond with requested docs.
Anyone on same boat ?
Since, they returned all docs, should I still be hopeful ?

Pls advice, I am into big depression now..


Andy October 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm

There is hope. We were issued a white slip and after responding to it we received decision in one week. And visa is issued. Don’t worry.


Pallu October 9, 2014 at 6:03 am

My documents were also returned and I was asked submit more documents by email. I am still waiting for the visa though.
Best wishes for your visa.


Sai October 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Hi Pallu,

I’m exactly in your situation, Ph.D., Research Scientist , second H1B renewal , no change in employer or anything. Went to the interview on Aug 28th and got 221G and waiting since then.

Is there any update on your case?.



jawad September 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm

On my interview 17/09/2014 in Islamabad, Pakistan. They put me on administrative processing session 221G they told me it can take 6 months or years they also gave me green slip to track my case. They kept my passport when I got home from embassy that same day I got call from them that I got my visa and I should come and pick up my passport from embassy. 221g happened to most of my relatives n friends but they got visa within 2-3 days.


Raj September 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Hello Saurabh,

How long a case can take under 221g. Mine has been over 6 months now. I appeared in March 2014. They came to my employer(office) in mod june and after that there has been no update.



Sri September 6, 2014 at 12:45 am

Hi Saurabh,

I want to withdraw the 221g with Chennai consulate which was issues in Dec 2013.
Now,i want to withdraw the case.
How do i withdraw the case and how much time will it take?


Sri September 13, 2014 at 8:11 am


can the consulate not withdraw the case, even if requested? Can the consulate ignore the withdraw request


siva August 21, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Hi Saurabh,

I Went for stamping on 01 Aug 2014.
VO asked me my company’s and client name after then he asked me for Client letter, LCA, I29 which i provided him. He told me to wait for a while and then he called me and gave back all the documents including my passport and your told me application is on Administrative processing and will contact me if needed. He gave me 221g white slip.

When i check my visa status online:

U.S. Department of State
Application ID or Case Number: *********
Case Creation Date: 31-Jul-2014
Status Updated Date: 01-Aug-2014

Your application was refused. Please see the letter or other instructions you received at the interview.

For more information, please visit U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad.

Please help…



nag September 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Hi Siva,
Me too attended for h1b interview and consulate officer issued me white 221g form tick marking administrative processing.He returned all the documents similar your case.Do you have any updates regarding your case.


soujanya September 18, 2014 at 3:28 am

Hi Shiva,

I have also attended interview on 15th sept and was given 221g. My status is showing up as undergoing necessary administrative processing in CEAC website.My passports were given to me at time of interview by all company documents were taken by her.she took fingerprints from me and my Husband also. Is it a positive or negative sign.


rafael August 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm

My father in law has been waiting almost 15 months for his tourist visa to be renewed. It is ridiculous. They kept his passport but since it was taking sooo, we emailed them to have it back. They did give it back obviously without the visa and apparently the process goes on.


Rohan August 15, 2014 at 7:59 am

Hi Saurabh,

Thank you for your time and sharing very inportant information. I have one question that during the adminstartive process. can i re- submmit/update?

Because my purpose and the location of the VISA ic changed. So can update or change the documents which i shared priviously to US team via email….

Please reply Sir. am not able to get any appropriate answer on this


chandra August 1, 2014 at 2:45 am

hi saurabh
i had my f1 visa interview on 16th july and my was visa approved and was not issued any 221g or any other form. she just said i am giving u visa. The thing is i did not get any update on my passport till date and my passport status says: There is no update available….and coming to visa status says : it reads administrative processing….what i do not understand is i was not issued any form then why administrative processing? ….saurabh have you seen this kind of issue before and if so what could be the reason and what am i supposed to do. please reply


SA October 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

Do not worry. It is the terminology they use until they have you pick up the visa.


javan July 25, 2014 at 4:06 am

my F1 visa interview was onn 24th,june,2014. i was asked to submit affidavit of support and a bank statement.its now 30 days since i submitted the required documents and ioly have few days to my admission long do these people take to take action?my case was al;so updated on 13th,july…………what next for me,so frustrated…..


bik July 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Did you get your visa??


javan August 1, 2014 at 12:44 am

No i have not gotten my visa yet.the waiting is agonizing and so frustrating.Hope to hear from them, soon its been 38 days to date,your prayers.


shaiz javaid July 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

Hi all,
I got my visa rejection in 2013 and they gave me green paper which was 221(g).After three months the uscis send all the original documents back to me.
Now I want to know that can I reapply for immigration visa to USA?


Rajdeep June 9, 2014 at 3:43 am

I have attended h1b interview at delhi consulate, my visa was put in 221G.
Employer had provided all the requested docs, and then VO asked me for re-interview.
VO said that visa has been rejected and gave some lame reason.
It has been more then 3 weeks, but my visa status is still in refused status (last update date still first interview date).

Any idea what should be status once it get finally rejected ?


yashkant June 26, 2014 at 7:05 am

Hi Rajdeep
My case is same do you have any updates.I also attended on 15 june and they retain my passport and i 797 no updates after that.


Nilima July 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Did you get back your passport? I am on H4 and they kept my and my kids passport and wanted my husbands I797 copy. He is on H1B and has valid visa stamped. It has been 7 days since I sent I797 to their e-mail reply, no status update yet.
Just wanted to know if you got your passport back if if yes how many days after and is you visa approved?


Gebin Maxey September 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm

If your visa is rejected the status should read “refused” and no further action can be taken. Your only hope is to reapply next time with different credentials.


Balajee June 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm

h1b was applied on 01April 2013,
It took long time to know that it was selected in lottery, June
and then got RFE on 20th Sep 2013,
Employed replied and finally it got approved on 28th Dec 2013.
Attended interview at Hyderabad consulate on Feb 4, 2014, and got 221G (white paper)
employer took 2 months time to reply this, 01st April
following question was asked by consular office , and again employer took 20 days to reply.. 25th April.
and now its 01st June, and no ray of hope..
I have already went 1o times to chilkur Balajee and completed 11 rounds.. I also assured balajee that I will make 108 rounds once my visa gets stamped.. but either no help from Balajee yet..


nasir May 31, 2014 at 7:45 am

I was interviewed at us embassy in f1 category ,during interview I told them I am maried they changed my category to f3 ,and send my case to national visa centre to hold until priority date become current so at this point what can I do .thanks


sairam May 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Hi all,
Nice to hear from all, I am also sailing in the same ship . I got 221 g white form from London .The VO asked few Questions on my job profile, client….etc ,last she gave 221 g form and said she need more investigation on the client ,no documents asked retained I797 form and client documents and returned the passport. On 221 g form she rounded the passport, ticked the dsc 160,passport size photos, this plus.

I am an Indian working for an MNC company from 8 years, earlier I visited to US for 3 months on L2 visa , and 6 years
back I got h1b stamped in delhi (did not went to USA on personal reasons).
Still now no email nor my status is updated in pdf file.Still now I don’t know what they are want from me.Can anyone suggest me.


Biplab June 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Hi Sairam,

When did you attended the interview? Is your visa approved now ?


Varun May 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Hi Saurabh,

Thank you for taking our questions! Let me start with a little back ground on my education/work history in the US. I traveled to the US in 2007 to obtain a Master’s degree in biotechnology, and upon completion I landed myself a job conducting research in a cancer research institute. I initially worked for them using CPT, OPT for about 1.5 years and then they filed for my H1B in May 2011. I worked with them for another 1 year on my H1B (non-profit). Please note that I did not come down to India for stamping because of time constraints. I then moved to another company, again conducting cancer research (for profit) in May 2012 after they got the receipt number for my H1B petition (the lawyer said that using the portability act I could begin working for them as soon as we received a receipt number since I already was on an H1B at the time from my previous employer). My H1B was approved with a starting validity date of 11/1/12. Now, I worked at the company for two years before I could travel to India about three weeks ago for my stamping. My interview was on the 22nd of April 2014. The VO asked me to show how I worked at the new company from May 2012 to November 2012 and I explained to her that the lawyer had advised the company about the portability act and I also told her that I had all the supporting paperwork that spoke about the act. She claimed she wasn’t interested in looking at the paperwork and just asked me to leave behind my passport, new 797 (the company that I work at right now), new i129 documents, updated resume, and my old 797 approval (for the previous organization I worked at). She then issued me a blue 221g form and didn’t ask for any additional documents and the form just has the “Your application requires additional administrative processing before a final decision can be made” box checked. I’m a little concerned because with some searching on the internet I was able to see that the blue form is usually issued when additional documents are required (although she did say that I had provided all necessary documents). Could you please advise on any additional steps I need to take, or should I just sit tight and wait? I’m extremely worried because I have a car, apartment, credit cards, etc that are back in the US and I’m extremely worried that the VO did not ask me for any of my tax documents or anything. Did my immigration lawyer just screw me over by making me start work using the portability act? I apologize for this long drawn out email. It’s just that I am starting to get really worried and I wanted to provide you as much detail as I possibly could. Any information or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again!

P.S The last time I visited India was in December 2008 – January 2009 while I was still on my F1 visa. Just making sure you have all the information :-)


varun May 6, 2014 at 3:26 am

Edit: They also kept the supporting letter from the company I worked at which states my role in the company and tasks that I perform, experiments, etc.


sajeev October 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Hi Varun,
I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I hope you manage to get the visa and is back in the US. I have a question for you. How could you transfer from non profil to profit and start working immediately? Didn’t you have to wait till october?



hk rohit May 2, 2014 at 2:40 am

my husband has gone for interview for k1 visa in april 27 2014. the consular officer has give him a white 221g letter . in that its just written is insufficient evidence of your intent to marry petitioner with in 90 days of arrival to usa .so you are ineligible for visa under 221g . we saw over status it was administration process for 2 weeks after the status change returned to NVC. we call to nvc they said your case is still in india . then i message to india consulate they said your case is now at nvc they send me a mail and they have given diplomatic pouch no . they said when you will call nvc tell them about pouch no ……what to do now help me
we have all the proof genuine . success me what to do ?????????


Faruk April 6, 2014 at 3:30 am

how dose us info pass work? do go out usa and coming back usa by info pass?


ahmed April 6, 2014 at 3:21 am

What is us info pass? may i go out and re-enter in usa by info pass without green card?


Venkat March 14, 2014 at 3:37 pm

i had Attended Interview in Chennai Consulate on Aug 27(2013) For H1 B.
i was issued blue slip at time of processing 221g. Still waiting on the updates
I don’t have 1-94 This is Fresh H1 which was picked in 2013 lottery. Is this Eligible for cap-exempt?


lokesh May 19, 2014 at 5:29 am

Hi Venkat

Is your visa approved ? .. pls help me in sharing ur exprriance with this 221g beast. i also got this last week not sure what’s going to happen. they did not asked any documents they just made tick on admin processing 221g lue slip and took all documents and passport returned. do let me know what was ur case and how it worked for you.


venkat May 19, 2014 at 9:06 pm

They Said My Case Has been closed . Reapply for Stamping


lokesh May 20, 2014 at 4:43 am

How much time did they took to give u this information. i hope and pray reapply helps you this time.


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