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What is 221g ? Process, How long to Resolve, Delay, Issues, FAQs

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 consulate officer reviews all the submitted documents and information and makes the decision, whether to approve or reject the visa for that individual. As part of the visa interview process, they often issue 221g form, when they want to do additional processing and cannot make the decision at the time interview is being conducted. Let’s look at the details regarding 221g and some of the process steps for 221g situations, what happens after that in this article.

What is 221(g) in context of US visa Stamping ?

When the US consulate officer determines that additional processing is required before they can make the decision on your US visa issuance, they issue 221(g) form. It is a basically a piece of paper and it can be in various colors, depending on the consulate and processing they would like to do or information they need to verify.

When is 221g issued ? What are the common reason for 221g ?

A person can be put under administrative processing,also called as 221g, 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.  Petitioner Information Management Service(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 visa stamping case is put under administrative processing using 221g, following steps happen:

  1. Issuance of 221g a Color Slip :  A slip will be issued to you as the visa applicant by the US Consulate officer. 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. Submit Documents, mentioned in 221g Slip : 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. Waiting time : After you submit the documents, if requested in the slip, you just need to sit back and wait for them to process your case. There is nothing you need to do, just need to wait…It can be long at times…
  4. Submit Passport or Visa issuance Decision : 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) and give a denial letter. Check out Sample 221g US Visa Denial Letter. 

[prompt type=”left” title=”221(g) Case Tracker ” message=”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.” button_text=”View or Add your 221(g)Case!” href=”https://redbus2us.com/trackers/221g-tracker/”]

How long does 221g processing take to resolve and come to a decision ?

There is no set timeline or SLA for 221g processing. It totally depends on the case and it can take as little as a week, or as much as several months. It is very hard to know how much time it will take for them to come to a decision on your visa stamping case. As per US Travel Docs Website, they say that most of the administrative processing cases resolve typically in 60 days, but there is no SLA as such. See below.

US Visa Administrative Processing Time for decision

 When can you follow up on 221g with Consulate or US Dept of State ?

As per US Dept of State, unless it is an emergency like injury, death of family member or something critical, you should not contact them regarding administrative processing before 180 Days. It is kind of long, but that’s what it is.. See below from Dept of State website.

US Visa 221g Administrative Processing Time for inquiry

How to follow-up on your 221g  processing  ? What are the options to check your 221g case ?

As per US Dept of state guidance, you cannot reach out before 180 days, but users can still track their case online using the options provided and sometimes, they can call as well. Below are the various options to follow-up on your 221g case :

  1. Track your passport on US Travel Docs Website 
  2. Track your case number on US Department of State Visa Status Page. Note that not all cases can be tracked electronically, and each consulate has a different method of updating the cases. You should check your country’s US Travel Docs website to know where to check.
  3. Call customer service using contact us on US Travel Docs Website. There are options for live chat, Skype calling and other options. Note that they will not provide any more meaningful information than what’s already available from (1) and (2), but you can always ask more.
  4. Email concerned US consulate (contact information available at respective consulate website). Note that they may not be very good in responding, but you can try it.
  5. Email or call Department of State in Washington DC (contact information available on Department of State 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. As they mention, you need to wait for 180 days before reaching out to them. In the past it was 60 days, but now it has gone up.
  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 180 days or more. Again, there is no guarantee. In the past we had the 60 days guidance to reach out on VFS website, but now it is different and the the guidance on Dept of State website is 180 days to follow-up for non-emergency cases. .

[prompt type=”left” title=”221(g)  Community Telegram Group ” message=”Do you need help from community in same boat with 221g ? Join the Telegram Group…Give or get advice….” button_text=”Join 221(g) Telegram Group !” href=”https://t.me/joinchat/JdJoSRfKSvtB_GftUCvaHw”]

Can I expedite 221g processing? Is there premium processing for US Visa Administrative Processing ?

Absolutely no premium processing or way to expedite the process, unless it is an emergency as indicated.  You just need to wait. The wait can be long, but it is what it is…

Does delay in 221g processing 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 situation for your US Visa?

There are not many alternates, but the few options available are:

  1. Apply for US 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 with US consulate.
  2. Apply for same visa but through another employer (applicable more to H1B 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 with 221g ?

In case the US stamping request is rejected after the administrative 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 I-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.

Again, this is a very lengthy process and can take time. Some of these steps would happen during the administrative processing as well.

We continue to update the 221g article, based on most commonly asked questions in the blog.

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.

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

   


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1,938 Comments

  1. Hi
    My eb3 interview got over on jan2021 and I was issued with 221 g for birth certificate and marriage certificate . I took drop box appointment Bangalore and submitted notarised copies of both on feb 12 Th . In feb 17 Th I got call from Mumbai embassy asking to submit original certificates of documents . But I am unable to schedule drop box appointment and my passport status shows still in embassy . What should I do to submit documents with out scheduling appointment

    Reply
    • Hi Malz,

      If you don’t mind, can you please tell me how did you schedule the drop box appointment to send your birth certificate and marriage certificates notarized copies? Actually, my fiancé is also issued a 221g but unable to schedule drop box appointment. Also, he’s unable to upload documents on CEAC. Please advise. I shall be grateful to you for this.

      Reply
  2. I got 221g green slip along with approval slip
    He took my passport with the words now you don’t have to do anything just pray
    What does it mean???
    The CEAC status shows refused if they already rejected my case then why he took my passport?

    Reply
  3. Hi there! Thank you for this article.

    I was given a 221g on medical grounds, and had to provide documentation that I was fit enough to study abroad.

    Once a 221g has been overturned, does it still constitute a denial? Do I have to say that I was denied a visa on future visits?

    Reply
  4. HI,
    Me and my wife are holding B1/B2 visa, now we are looking for B1/B2 visa for my kid (He is 6 months old ). I have cross checked with US embassy about the drop box eligibly and it has been confirmed. But i am not able to book an appointment.

    I need help from your side to know that is there anyone successful in getting the B1/B2 visa with drop box process? , any other way to get it done fast or any tentative date to open the appointments for B1/B2 drop box process.

    Thanks in advance , your response is more valuable for us.

    Reply
    • Hetvik,
      You can try to apply for it, it is standard process. The current situation is consulates are not processing B1/B2 ( assuming it is US Consulates in India )

      Reply
      • Hello Kumar,

        Does working for a product company as direct hire full time employee in a non-TAL domain lessen the chances of 221g for dropbox? Your insights will be really helpful.

        Reply
  5. AS one see, their dates keeps changing but same update, refused with long text/ administration process. what does it mean when dates keep changing but not heard from embassy yet. this is a K visa application

    Reply
  6. Sir Kumar interview done December 20 2019 they gave me 221 g ask me additional decoments I submitted dec 27 with passport January they ask me additional documents again I submitted next day after that they updated my case February 27 no changes after February 27…. interview was Montreal for my 7 year old daughter she is born in Canada I sponsored her I m Canadian citizen plus green card holder … any idea Montreal embassy’s issue F2 a visa ??? Plz ans THANKS in advance

    Reply
  7. Hello Sir, my family’s In immigrant visa was interviewed on 12 February 2019 in Mumbai, then at that time he received in 221(g) refusal letter white slip, it has been 1 year and 5 months on the interview but still on his side Nothing has been asked for nor any email has been received, then you can tell how much more wait :pls tell me kumar sir

    Reply
  8. Hi All,
    I have attended H1b Stamping interview in Delhi office on 20th Feb .VO issued me a 221G blue slip and asked some documents need to send on given email id . i have sent those documents on 3rd March but after that no information on my case . my worried is my VISA end is 31 August 2020, dont know it is possible to extend the date or any other option .

    Reply
  9. Hello All,

    I have been interviewed on the 23rd of October 2019 for B1/B2 and given the white slip of 221(g) wherein they mentioned that company(where I am working) should give direct confirmation over mail to US consulate about employment and which the company has already sent.

    I was following up with them every week but the same response that it is under administrative processing and will take some time and suddenly on 10 March 2020 I got mail to submit additional details which I am still collating and on 16th March 2020 I got the mail to submit the passport and which I already submitted. So, should I submit the additional documents asked on 10th march or should I wait for there response since they ask for a passport Please help me out?

    Reply
  10. Hi Swathi,

    Same thing happened to my case as well. From Feb 25 2020 my case was showing Administrative processing and yesterday on 03 Mar it is showing as refused. If you get any update please let me know

    Reply
  11. I had interview fed 14 2019 f1 category immigrant visa.almost After one year some councilor officer come to my place investigate everything and same day the update my case Refused. What should I do next .its true or fake . How can I conduct case officer ?? Why the refused. Pls help me KUMAR.

    Reply
  12. Hi Kumar,

    Our status on ceac changed from administrative process to refused. However we have not gotten any email on this. Is this normal ? And does it really mean our application has been denied?

    Reply
  13. I received the 221G blue slip on January 22nd. It said ‘administrative processing’ all this while when I tracked it on the CEAC website. On February 21st, I was asked to submit my passport. Today, March 3rd, the case updated date remains the same (Jan 22nd), but it changed from ‘Administrative processing’ to ‘refused’.

    Does this mean my case was denied?!?

    Reply
      • Approved by interview..
        Next day received 5535 form deep check..
        My passport returned by courier.
        3 days later requested to submit my passport as AD completed.

        Submitted passport
        Visa stamped by annotation (clearance received-date-).

        My question..
        Next time apply visa… will i go through same process or might get it directly after interview as happned twice before last time?

        Reply
    • Hi Swathi,

      Same thing happened to our cases well. It says the counselor has adjudicated the case and refused your visa application. Please follow the instructions provided by you counselor. However we have not received any email. Have you gotten any email from us counselor? What is the text under your status ?

      Reply
    • Hi Swathi,

      Same thing happened to my case as well. From Feb 04 2020 my case was showing Administrative processing and yesterday on 03 Mar it is showing as refused. If you get any update please let me know

      Reply
    • Swathi/Kumar
      Same thing happened to our case as well. As of y’day status was Administrative processing and today (Feb 04 2020) case showing Refused Status . Does this mean visa got denied or its just status before documents get reviewed by officer ? Admin please provide your comment on same.

      Reply
      • Visaclari,
        As we wrote to in article, the text says clearly that, if you were given 221g, it will be processed and you will receive further communication on the same.

        Reply
    • Same thing happened to my fiance’s visa on Jan 22, 2020 it had Administrative Processing and then it changed to Refused on March 6, 2020. Im dealing with Consulate in Morocco. Anybody else with this issue kindly respond.

      Reply
  14. Hello Everyone,

    I had my H1b Visa Interview yesterday. She request for my Client Letter, Vendor Letter and Employer Offer Letter. I gave all those documents to her, after 5 minutes she gave me a 221g gave my passport back and told to wait for an email from their end. Any idea what is the reason they gave me a 221g? and what will be the timestamp. She said It will take 2 weeks, but I doubt that. If anyone had same issue before please reply. Thank You.

    Reply
    • Kirti,
      it is very common to get 221g these days, they may call the client and validate, inform them that it may happen. We do not know, if it will be done faster or not…All we can do is stay positive and wait…Do update your case here.

      Reply
      • Hii,

        My Client got an email from Hyderabad Visa Office on Feb 21st and they responded back positively. Currently waiting for the decision on my end. Any idea how much minimum time it might take?

        Reply
        • Kirti,
          That’s very positive. Usually, it can take anywhere from couple of weeks to few more weeks as they are pursuing it….But as you know, 221g can be really tricky and it can be further delayed.

          Reply
          • Hii,

            I received an Email from Hyd Consulate to submit my Passport. Can I know how many days more will it take to get my passport back after submission. Thank You.

  15. Hi kumar,
    Myself ismail Muhammad,I hope you doing well..on 23 January I went to the us consulate in China for interview with b1 visa they keep my passport and invitation letter and give me 221(g) green slip..so on that slip they do cross on two heading ..No1 no re interview required ..No2 plz submit the documents checked below via email.. so my question is that. No1 can they send me email for documents that supposed which documents they required or I can send my all documents by self..and No 2 what should I consider from this 221(g) green slip related to visa …. thank you so much have a good day

    Reply
  16. Hello All,

    I have attended my interview on 17th January at Hyderabad consulate. VO asked basic questions then asked my client letter. I have provided. Also provided 2 other layer letters as asked. I was issued 221g white slip. My designation on client letter is different than 2 vendor letters. Also, During my initial submission of H1,my Designation on client letter ( Which is same as now on vendor letters ) is different than the current designation on recent client letter. Would it be an issue ? Also, As per company policy our contracts renews on every 31st January 2020. So on client letter it was mentioned like “contract is ending on 31st January with intended to extend till Jan 31st 2021 as soon as budget is approved ” . Do i need to worry about these 2 things ? Please help

    Reply
    • Salman,
      Usually what matters is the job role and how you fit to the role…the titles can be misleading. I would suggest you discuss with your attorney as it is very hard to give an answer just based on these things. 221g is like a black box, we have no clue how they look…nothing you can do…all we can do is stay positive.

      Reply
      • Hello Kumar,

        Salman here again. My client manager received a verification email from USCIS. My manager didnt coordinate with me though i informed him. and given vague details while responding about my roles. He has given just 3 roles from the client letter. Also when they asked my assignment start date instead giving dec 26th 2018 he has given Jan 31st 2020 as per new contract as our contract renewes every year same date and also mentioned as per current plan i will be with them march 31st 2020 which ends next month. But requested to extend till Jan 31st 2021. You think this could cause issues ? Also designation is different in LCA and his response. He response on my designation was as per client letter. You think sending another email with more clarity advisable ? I am really confused . Please suggest and let me know your view if i am in trouble.

        Reply
        • Salman,
          It is hard to say…Discuss with your attorney on what details were put in application and see, if there is something that can be done. We have no idea, how they look and qualify these…

          Reply
  17. Hi good day
    Went on the 13th of december 2019 for my visa interview in the us embassy trinidad got a 221g white slip the consular officer ticked 2 things to be received that i need to submit I-864 form for petitioner’s mother and passport today makes it 1 month and i have not received any response

    Reply
  18. Hi. Myself sudhir singh, seaman, i had given interview on 6th jan that time i was told that visa is approved and next day i got a mail that under 221 g my visa is refused with word file, that i have to fill and resend, they had asked me my name , country which i visited, name of siblings,social media user name, previous employer details and my address which i filled and send on the same day and other day they send back my passport with green colour slip with message your application requires additional administrative processing. My joining is on 21 march 2020. How long i have to wait and what can i do in mean time. I have traveled uae, srilanka, hong kong and maldives.

    Reply
  19. Hello,

    I got my H1b approved on Nov 27th but my COS got denied and I had the Chennai consulate mentioned on my visa. I came to India for stamping immediately and attended the visa interview on Dec 17th. The VO asked me basic questions and finally the client letter. As my client won’t provide the client letter directly, I provided all the supporting documents for that. The VO gave me a 221 g blue slip and returned my passport back. My employer responded with the required documents checked in the 221g blue slip on the very next day. I am checking the status daily and the status was still the same as AP. I am just wondering how long does this process take and what are what will be next step, as I have my passport with me, do I have to attend another interview again?

    Please assist.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Srikanth,
      221g process is like a black box, there is no estimated time. You can check our 221g tracker to get an idea.
      Next step is to wait for the consulate, hopefully they ask to submit passport. There may not be another interview.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the quick response Kumar. I just received an email from the Chennai consulate today asking to drop the passport. What will be the process know, do I have to schedule an appointment to drop the passport or I can just go to nearby US consulate and drop the passport. Do I have to carry any documents?

        Reply
        • The email would say clearly what is the process. Re-read it. In general, there is no need to schedule anything. It will have instructions on if you need to submit anything.

          Reply
    • Nilisha,
      Not very common, but can happen. Don’t worry, usually it should be fine for H4…What was it given for ? Do update here your status.

      Reply
    • Had the same issue, my husband is on H1B And I am on H4 . We had Dropbox on January 2nd . His passport came with stamp and I got green color 221g letter. I went 13 th of January to Bombay consulate and they took my passport and officer also told me “ your visa has been granted “ we had flight yesterday but I couldn’t able to go because I still haven’t received my passport and even my kids r with me . I don’t know how much we have to wait , they are saying minimum 10 days up to maximum 180 days we have to wait .

      Reply
  20. it will change to AP (administrative processing )
    then it will change to application received .
    then it will change to administrative processing .
    then it will update to issued ..
    it takes all together 15 to 25 days ..
    good luck

    Reply
  21. Hi, 10years ago I applied for an F1 student visa at the US Embassy,however at the interview my passport was returned back to me and I was given a 221g blue paper slip.I was told that I needed more supporting documents BUT I was never told my visa was denied.As luck might have it,the same time I was gathering the documents I got a job offer to work in a respected establishment in the same country of residence and decided to accept the job offer and put my visa application on hold for some time. 10 years later. I am now applying for a US spousal visa to move to the US and one of the questions in the visa form asked is ‘Have you ever been refused a US visa?’……what answer should I write to that?I am confused and do not know if I should tick on the Yes or No? Please help

    Reply
  22. Category :L2
    interview date : 11/6/2019 New Delhi
    passport returned issued 221g asking for submissions of additional documents ,I submitted them on the same day .
    mail received on 12/5/2019
    Mentioning the subject line
    Your ustraveldocs.com inquiry Case-2019- 12-05-****** Has Been Closed

    In the mail it has been mentioned –

    You are required to submit your passport at the nearest Visa Application Center, in order to proceed ahead with the case. Please submit the above requested document at the nearest Visa Application Center (VAC) along with a copy of this email.

    I submitted that passport on the same day itself . My case status updated on 12/6/2019 an on 12/11/2019
    and it’s still under AP.

    Any suggestions please

    thanks

    Reply
    • Well, Not sure…it may or may not…Ask the customer service or do a general inquiry to the embassy…Just write an email indicating the situation, it should be fine…

      Reply
  23. Hi kumar ,
    Need some advice ,I went for interview this week n gitv221g blueslip and in the slip vo marked documents to mail them and those documents I already had but while taking interview she was asking for client letter which I did not have ,now I am confused because she asked something but ticked something else in slip ,now what to do shud I send documents she ticked or asked in the interview

    Reply

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