The Beast called 221g – Process and FAQs

In Immigration| Visas by Saurabh1743 Comments

Any person planning to travel to US has to go through a visa 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 221(g)?
When the consulate officer determines that additional processing is required before they can make the decision, they issue 221(g).

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 Department of State (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 Dept of State, “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 alternatives to 221g ?
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.

Original Image : http://www.elfwood.com/art/l/y/lycos/numero_tresbmp.jpeg

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Comments ( 1,743 )

  1. Raghav

    Hi,
    Me and my wife appeared for stamping of our approved H1B and H4 in the New Delhi consulate on Oct 6 2017. We were handed a white 221g with a list of docs and our passports were returned to us. My company (the petitioner) sent all requested documents to the consulate on Oct 20 2017.
    For a long time there were no updates. Then on Dec 19 we got an email from Ustraveldocs to submit our passports. We submitted our passports on Dec 20.
    The status on ceac has always been Administrative Processing but the ‘Case Last Updated Date’ was changed once to Dec 28.
    Once we had submitted our passports the passport tracker used to say something like “Passport is with Embassy/Consulate”, but now it says “There is no status update for the passport number submitted”.
    I was hoping that once they asked for our passports they would process the application soon, but there hasnt been any update. Is there anything i can do except wait?
    I email/call ustraveldocs every other day.

  2. Surender Singh Sanghar

    I had an interview on 9th jan visa officer told me your visa is approved on next day I have received a mail asked for additional information on 11th I hv receives my wife n daughter passport with 10year visa I hv send e-mail on 12th I received my passport with green letter for visa officer Wii contact you via email can you help me wt they means as I am the main applicant

  3. Shekar

    Hi,
    I am from India and working in a MNC and having H1B Visa. I travelled officially once to US and again travelled unofficially means not informed to company/sponser and travelled to US for 2 weeks and came back to India. Now my H1B Visa is expired, and my company filing H1B Visa extension/renewal through premium processing. So Is USCIS or Visa Officer may ask any questions on my unofficial US trip or any RFE or any rejections may happen? Kindly suggest on this….

  4. Zubi sharma

    I am a experienced traveler Previously I been US, Canada, UK and Europe, including twice I have 10-Years multiple visa of B1B2 USA and it’s expired in June 2017, and after expiry on November 27, 2017 I applied for renewal of my visa along with my and minor daughter’s fresh visa applications.
    After a long interview visa officer informed us that our visa is refused but technically our visa applications are in pending and surprisingly she kept our passports, and tells me to wait for outcome within 2 days, meanwhile she give me my payment slip and an 221(b) white slip without writing anything on it, she just mark on embassy’s email ID for any additional contact.
    Now as per online tracking our Visa applications are on AP.. then after 2 weeks i email embassy and they inform that my case is still in pending AP and once its complete they will inform me.
    Is anyone have same story… what is the reason for all that, finally after AP did you get Visa stamp or refused the visa. Please shear your experience or guide me why it’s happened with me.

  5. sujeet

    Anonymous:

    Hi all i have below query–

    I have a approved petition till 2020.
    I was eligible for drop box and i submitted all the docs , I received the passport back without stamping and no slips.

    Few days later I got a email from Mumbai counsulate given below

    Dear Mr. XXXX,

    Greetings from the U.S. Consulate General Mumbai.

    Your application was refused under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for mandatory administrative processing. Your visa application will be reconsidered when administrative processing is complete. At this time, you are required to visit the Consulate General on any business day from 10:30am to 11:00am bring a copy of this letter and your passport. You do not need to schedule an appointment.

    Please note that the consular section is not open to the public on the second and last Wednesdays of each month.

    We will contact you as soon as we complete administrative processing and are able to reconsider your visa application.

    Sincerely,

    Consular Information Unit
    U.S. Consulate General Mumbai

    Please let me know if is it for interview or what ? let me know if anyone got similar letter and if yes what action you too.
    TIA

    1. Huzefa

      This is a green slip option.
      You must be called either for fingerprint verification or an interview. This might be a good sign.

      I got this slip too,with other opt marked and now i am stuck in AP for more than 3 months.

      Pls pray for me.

      1. Sujeet

        @Hufeza,
        I prey that u get your vusa soon.
        And did you reply me that my case is a green slip?
        I got email from counsulate to come fir interview but word ” your application is refused ” in email bothering me, please suggest

          1. Sujeet

            @Hufeza,
            Thanks , Yes you are right i got green slip in wife’s passport. It asked for FP.
            We went to FP and today CEAC says ” Visa issued” , is that looks good ?

          2. Puneet Sachdeva

            Me and my wife got US visa last year, but my wife was expecting at that time so we were not able to travel. After few months I got blessed with baby girl and then I applied for her visa too. She was eligible for Drop Box and I followed all the steps and submitted all necessary docs. Around 1 month late, I got her passport back with white paper inside the packet along with all the docs I submitted (My visa and my Wife’s visa copies, both passport copies, my daughter pic for Visa) and that white paper states that “We are unable to process your visa at this time, as we require your presence at the embassy. Your case has been suspended under section 221 (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act until the below indicated process is completed.
            Interview, Along with Parents (means interview of my child who is 4 months old and mine and my wife) They have also asked us to bring our passports along.

            Can you please suggest what this actually means and what should we do now. If possible can you please also suggest what kind of questions can be asked in such interviews ?

  6. Zubi sharma

    I am a experienced traveler Previously I been US, Canada, UK and Europe, including twice I have 10-Years multiple visa of B1B2 USA and it’s expired in June 2017, so after expiry on November 27, 2017 I applied for renewal of my visa along with my and minor daughter’s fresh visa applications.
    After a long interview visa officer informed us that our visa is refused but technically our visa applications are in pending and surprisingly she kept our passports, and tells me to wait for outcome within 2 days, meanwhile she give me my payment slip and an 221(b) white slip without writing anything on it, she just mark on embassy’s email ID for any additional contact.
    Now as per online tracking our Visa applications are on AP.. then after 2 weeks i email embassy and they inform that my case is still in pendding AP, once its complete they will inform me.
    Is anyone have same story… what is the reason for all that, finally after AP did you get Visa stamp or refused the visa. Please shear your experience or guide me why it’s happened with me.

  7. Sunny D

    I provided h1b dropbox docs in Mumbai on 22nd Nov
    Got 221g so provided fingerprints on 30th Nov
    Its 7th business day and not updates as of yet.

    Dont know whats causing the delay.
    Have heard one more case same as mine but was approved so I dont know whats causing this issue. Had to cancel my flight too.

      1. Sunny D

        Yes, so sequence of events were

        Nov 22 – Dropped off Docs
        Nov 28 – Got email to collect passport with 221g
        Nov 29 – Embassy closed
        Nov 30 – Provided Fingerprint with Passport. Was told will get it back in 3 -4 business days
        No update since then

        1. Ash

          Did they ask for any other documents? Actually same happened with me as a part of first 221g they asked me to appear for interview then during interview they give me yellow slip with the list of documents and returned my passport.. I believe in your case you should get your visa soon because they didn’t ask for additional documents

          1. Rahul

            I am also in same boat. Dropbox document on 24th nov, got green slip for interview and the attended interview at mumbai consulate on 4th dec. Got another green slip ans vo told they need to verify some more info and still no update.

          2. Sunny D

            They didnt ask for any documents from me.
            There were a lot of people who got 221g only for fingerprints.

            For me, am still waiting on AP since 2 and a half weeks.

  8. Drakshi

    My Wife attended h1b interview at Chennai Consulate on November 24,2017 after she had dropboxed’d her application . All documents were submitted promptly during the interview but Passport was not collected by VO saying they need to verify her Employment details and will take a while.
    My question is : 1. Can she still keep her h1b (221G curently) active and simultaneously go for H4 stamping based on Husband’s h1b?
    2. If H4 gets stamped (without any probs) can she do the COS in US for H4 to H1b with new Petition?
    3. If 221g gets cleared , can she travel back to India get her original H1b stamped?
    What are her options ? please advice? Thanks

  9. Ronald Carlson

    Here are most recent timelines for Delhi.

    Nov 16th
    Visa Interview
    Visa type – B1/B2
    Got 221(g) yellow letter
    Passport returned to me.

    Nov 24th
    Asked to submit passport

    Nov 30th
    CEAC status changed to issued

    Dec 4th
    Passport delivered in hand via courier with 10 years visa

    Ron

  10. 221gsucks

    Ceac status still shows AP but passport status changed from ‘with the embassy/consulate’ to ‘no status update available’. Does this change mean anything?

  11. harsha

    I attended visa interview on 16th of November got 221g white slip ,after a week got a call and was asked for supporting documents to [email protected] . I have not get any reply back not even automated message , I am worrying now about documents received or not .Resent the documents again today. Did any one got reply after submitting the documents to [email protected] ? .

    1. Raji

      Sorry to hear that. Dont get panic. make a call to support desk and they have your information on their system. Ask them to verify that email id or any other option they have it.

      Good Luck.

  12. Swapnil

    Hello

    Yesterday I got a blue slip for my b1 visa application. I was asked to submit some documents along with my resume.
    I have sent that but later I found that I made a typo while writing my work experience years.
    Can I send documents again? or what should I do?

  13. 221g

    I have an Approved H1B petition and this was valid from 2015 to 2018.But During visa stamping got 221 and petition went for USCIS for revoke.Please let me knw if petition get revoked by USCIS.Still i am eligible for CapExempt??.

    1. Ashish

      Yes you are still eligble for cap exempt but it should be through different employer…When did you recieve blue slip ? and did they ask for additional documents? if yes have you submitted required documents?

      1. 221g

        Thanks Ashish.I got the white slip from Mumbai consulate on Sept 2016.Asked project descriptions,Company Revenue docs,Employees info.But They didnt submit any doc.So on july 2017 Mumbai Consulate sent petition back to USCIS for revoke.

  14. Huzefa

    Hello,

    Me My wife ane 2 childern had our interview on 6th Sept.2017.
    VO said your visa is approved, you would get back your passports in 3-5days.

    But unexpectedly it stuck in AP.

    Then after waiting for about 70 long days, on 19th Nov 2017 i received all my passports with a Green Slip. The option marked on the slip says “Your application requires ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING.This office will contact you via e-mail.”

    Ofcourse, I am waiting for the e-mail.
    But suggest me what does the returning of my passports means?

    Does it happend to anybody else?

    Thank you.

    1. Ronald Carlson

      Doesnt mean anything actually. Its a normal process to send the passport back when AP takes longer. Dont worry just be patient and look out for email from them. And check your status at ceac.

    1. Ashish

      If it is mentioned in 221g notice to send documents through email then it is right way. Just follow the instructions given with 221 g notice.

  15. 221g

    I have an Approved H1B petition and this was valid from 2015 to 2018.But During visa stamping got 221 and petition went for USCIS for revoke.Please let me knw if petition get revoked by USCIS.Still i am eligible for CapExempt??.

  16. 221g

    I qualified for Dropbox option and submitted my documents on 23rd October. After more than two weeks, I got 221g on Nov 6th asking me to come to Embassy for Fingerprints.
    Gave fingerprints on Nov 7th and waiting since.
    Asked the VO – how long will it take? She said one week.
    I will keep you posted.

      1. 221g

        Yes, good news!
        Visa got Issued on 13th Nov and today when I tracked there was an update “Passport has been received from the consular section, and is currently being processed for delivery”.
        I had to postpone my tickets thrice. My latest (changed) flight was on 16th Nov at 1:30AM but I was not sure that I will get the passport tomorrow (15th Nov) so postponed it to Friday.

          1. 221g

            Thanks Ashish! Got my passport today.
            Yes, it was “Administrative Processing” and they needed my finger prints. I guess my passport got renewed, that’s why they needed it.
            Good luck!!
            Let me know if there are any other questions I can answer.

  17. ggn17

    Recently we came to India to visit family. On 01Nov17 we attended visa interview in Delhi embassy. VO asked some standard question (employer,job details etc) and in the end gave 221g white slip. VO said “Submit these docs and you will get your visa”. We have submitted all the docs next day (i.e 02 Nov17). Last updated date for my ds 160 on CEAC is 03Nov17.

    Visa interview: 01Nov17 (got 221g white slip )
    Documents submitted: 02 nov17(i797,i129,resume,project details, educational docs)
    Case last updated date: 03nov17 (only for my ds160, not for spouse and kid)
    my i140 is approved and i work for non consulting US employer

    We have return flights next weekend. Wanted to check if someone is in same boat or if someone can shed some light on how long this will take.

    1. Surbhi

      Hii
      My interview was on 27th Oct and Dan gave me same white slip for documents and I submitted does on 29th Oct. Today is 10/11/17 it’s still underprocessing. And I contacted d embassy but dey cannot do anything about it so we just have to wait.

        1. Ashish Kumar Dehariya

          @ggn…I submitted documents through drop box then after 2 weeks they sent me a blue slip and told me to attend in person interview then I went mumbai consulate then VO gave me a yellow slip for documents – 1 year payslip, account statement, offerletter, MSA, Client contract, project description, technical description and project status.

  18. Anirban

    I received a 221g Blue slip since my project was internal (In house) and Visa Officer asked for additional documents. Now I got a client name which can be amended in LCA. Can I withdraw my last interview and go ahead with new 797 /I-129 form? {Or} I have to submit additional documents related with my internal project only without client name amendment.
    Keenly looking for your advise.

    1. Ani

      I received a 221g Blue slip since my project was internal (In house) and Visa Officer asked for additional documents. Now I got a client name which can be amended in LCA. Can I withdraw my last interview and go ahead with new 797 /I-129 form? {Or} I have to submit additional documents related with my internal project only without client name amendment.
      Keenly looking for your advise.

  19. MyMistake

    Hi

    I attended H1-b visa interview last Thursday and was issued a 221-g, your application is going through needed administrative processing. I was stunned because I wrong for a top tech company as a full time employee. I reviewed and started searching in all my docs to uncover what must have triggered a 221g.

    I found that I made a mistake in DS 160 form for question

    Has anyone ever filed an immigrant petition on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services?
    I selected “Yes”

    in the explain section I wrote “My company filed H1b petition and it was approved.”

    It was my mistake I misread the question as has someone filed non-immigrant visa.

    Now I am a worried and would like to know what are the possibilities will consulate verify with USCIS and find out that I wrongly selected YES while I should have selected NO. (or) will they outright reject the application?

    Thanks

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