The Beast called 221g – Process and FAQs

In Immigration| Visas by Saurabh1523 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]

Also, you can check out our 221(g) tracker that has anonymous data with users like you, who added the details for community benefit.  Waiting for the 221(g) response from US Consulate can be very painful…To help everyone be informed on average processing time and other similar cases,  we have built an easy way to track for users their 221(g) status and let the community have an idea on the timeline as well. It is fully anonymous. Please add your case to the 221(g) Tracker.

221(g) Case Tracker

View 221(g) Cases by added by community. Please add your 221(g) Case for everyone's benefit. It is fully anonymous and will help many waiting for it like you.

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Comments ( 1,523 )

  1. xyz

    Hi All,

    Did any one 22G got cleared for 2017. How much does it takes for clearance? I am eager to know about average time period for clearance for “administratative process” after documents submissions? Please help

  2. Nalini

    I was working in US on H1 and traveled to attend a marriage. I went for interview and was given a 221g administrative processing in Dec 2016.
    Its 4 months, and when I called NVC, they said my file is still with the consulate. and status at CEAC says update – 14 dec 2016.
    I am unable to understand, can they keep my file and do nothing for 4 months?
    When you say – Email consulate, how to do that since VFS doesn’t seem to be giving any proper status. My husband is in US, with a fractured leg, my daughter school has dropped her and my client is no longer to wait now.
    How can I get my passport back, because the employer is in a mood to revoke my H1 and I would like to apply for a H4.

    1. Kartikka

      Hi Nalini,
      My case is same as yours.
      I interviewed with Delhi Embassy on 24th Jan’17 and yellow slip was issued to me.
      No docs have been requested till date and Embassy is giving no status updates.

      I don’t know what’s going on with my application.

      Please keep posted your status if you hear anything from consulate.

  3. Manas G

    Hi All,

    I interviewed wit the US consulate in New Delhi on April 3rd . They kept my passport, returned my I-797, and gave me a 221g stating “Sevis Hit Removal”

    Anyone has any idea about Sevis Hit removal?


  4. Terry

    Good morning sir,

    I went for my follow up interview at the Lagos consular in Nigeria on the 10th of March 2017, after all the follow-up interview went well, the consular asked several questions regarding my job non destructive testing that uses iridium-192.

    Thereafter my wife was equally interviewed separately and our passports was retained by the consular.

    On the 23rd of March, I received a message that the passports were ready for collection. I did picked up the passports without the visa, I saw same 221g paper that we are still on administrative processing.

    Note: I applied for b1/b2 visa

    Pls, What should I do at this point



    1. administrator


      Looks like your job has triggered this administrative processing. They may conduct background check before issuing the visa to you. Nothing you can do at this point except to wait patiently.

  5. riz

    My fiance is a USA citizen, he applied for a K1 visa. I am from India. When I went to the Delhi Consulate for the interview , after some questions the officer gave me a white slip which said your case has been refused under section 221g, please bear with us while your case undergoes administrative processing. She also returned my Passport.

    When I track the case number it shows returned to NVC.
    Is it a Denial?
    What steps can I take?

    Also Will this impact further if my fiance applies for a CR1 (Spouse Visa) ?

    1. administrator


      From the name I assume you have a common Muslim name. They may be doing background check. It is not a denial but a delay. Nothing you can do except to wait patiently.

  6. Alok

    I attended interview today at Hyderabad Consulate and they gave me 221(G). and mostly my case is of
    Employment check.

    How much time do you think this will take?

  7. Ram

    Please clarify me on the below one.
    I had attended US consulate at Hyderabad for H1B stamping on 13th Feb 2017 and was issued 221(g) white slip for administrative processing with case number, by holding the passport .
    How any days actually US consulate holds passport?
    Are there any chances to release the passport and continue with their administrative processing?
    Because i need to travel to other country where i am currently working, if US consulate holds my passport for too long then I will loose the current job and visa
    Did you ever heard of this cases in past?
    Please advise…

  8. Syed Siraj


    My wife went for the H4 interview on December 7th 2017 at Hyderabad. The interview was straight forward

    CO: Where does your Husband Work
    Her : XYZ Company

    CO: where do u live
    Her : Virginia and the address

    CO: how long you are in USA
    Her: 3 years

    and then She said congratulations your Visa is approved and handed over a booklet (Rights in USA) and then said she will receive the passport in 2 days.The passport si still with them. But since then her Visa is in admin processing. It been more than 55 days now.

    This has happened to her the first time as well , she was approved after 3 months. Not sure why they are making her go through the same again

    has anyone gone through this ????

    I am worried how long its gonna take for them to approve again.

  9. Vicky

    Hi Saurabh & Team,
    Please clarify me on the below one.
    I had attended US consulate for H1B stamping on 28th Dec and was issued 221(g) white slip by holding the passport. Its been almost 4 weeks and I am yet to hear any response.
    How any days actually US consulate holds passport?
    Are there any chances to release the passport and continue with their administrative processing?
    Did you ever heard of this cases in past?
    Please advise…

  10. sumit shah

    Hi Saurabh/ Kumar,

    My petition had an rfe but was approved when I converted to premium.

    I did appear for the consulate interview and was issued 221g in Nov. My employer submitted docs in dec. Consulate then has sent back my case to USCIS in Jan. It is under review by USCIS and would probably be revoked.

    Will any other company be able to file a cap expemt h1b on my i797 in such a case.

  11. AM

    I attended my visa interview on 19th January and was issued a yellow slip saying ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING. My company went into a merger with another company and its name/identity was changed. VO collected my Passport and original I797 petition. Also the VO said “Unfortunately I can not assign you a visa right away but we will try to approve your case by the end of the day today”.

    After reading online and contacting the VAC looks like I am in a bad spot since the process is not transparent and can take forever to qualify.

    1. Any suggestions regarding steps to take to get out of this mess?
    2. I understand the website says 60 days, so should I expect it in 60 days or is there a possibility that it can actually happen in a week or so?
    3. Is it helpful contcting the US embassy at New Delhi?

  12. MV

    I had my L1B visa interview today in the Dubai US consulate office. Visa officer wrote approved in the I129S action block but handed over the yellow slip for administrative processing with case number. Does this mean that my visa is approved and that it just needs some processing for clearance? How long does it take for this admin processing to complete in my case?

  13. Jatin


    Today i.e. 10 Jan 2017 I went for H1B interview at Delhi and lady taking my interview gave me the yellow slip after few questions. She took my passport and also asked for all the documents and said it is under Administrative Processing now. Did not ask for any more documents as of now and also did not write anything on the yellow slip.


    1. Chirag

      I went to H1b Visa interview at Delhi Embassy on Jan 5th 2017. Lady there took my passport and documents and gave me yellow slip. she said it would not take long and you will hear back in 2-3 days. today is Jan 17th and I am still waiting. Looks like there is no way to escalate, My approved vacation is coming to end and Flight is tomorrow which will wasted.

      Hope it come soon.


  14. 221G_H1B

    Dear Saurabh / Team,
    I went for consular interview yesterday for H1B and was issued 221(g) white slip requesting for the below details. However they kept the passport with themselves and asked me to email the below informations.
    Invite Letter – I already have this letter.

    I had completed M.Tech Biotech back in 2009 and joined one of the top Indian MNC in Information Technology and has been working since.
    My Queries are:

    Research – I am not involved much in research in my current job in IT company.. do i mention Not applicable or do i mention few of my projects on Biotech back in 2007 and 2009?

    Funding – I am on my Company’s Payroll and will be paid as per my certified LCA.. do i attach the LCA and say my trip will be funded by my company and will be paid as per LCA or should I show my bank balance statements here in India too?

    Itinerary – my company has provided itinerary of services which clearly mentions my company’s address in US and the client address and the work duration.. do I also need to have a confirmed flight tickets and hotel accommodation and send it across as my reply to consulate

    If any one else had this kind of queries replied to consulate, please leave your contact details on [email protected] , It will be of immense help. Also please advise me on the processing timelines as I was supposed to join my client in US by mid of Jan ’17, thanks

  15. SK

    Hi Saurabh,

    I had gone for my H1 interview on 28th October. My petition was filed for an internal project by the company. However the interviewer didn’t ask me many questions. He took my passport.

    After 2-3 days when I went to collect my passport, the visa was stamped but there was a rubber stamp on that saying that Cancelled without prejudice. Also attached was a white 221g form asking me for client documents.
    I talked to my company and they said since they had filed for an internal project they will state the same as the response.

    What are the chances of my visa getting approved.
    How much time they take for deciding
    If they reject the visa, can any other employer file a cap-exempt visa on the same petition

    Please help

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