US Visa Stamp Clearance Received or Department Authorization and Issues with DS160

US Visa – Annotations : Clearance Received or Department Authorization Meaning ?

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 8 Comments

Sometimes, you may get US visa stamp in your passport with an annotation, sometimes there maybe no annotations in them. It can be confusing for few for us. Also, when you are applying for visa and filling out DS-160 form, you also may also encounter questions like below

We look at these aspects below along with some examples.

What is the annotation field in US Visa ? No Annotation ? Samples ?

Annotation field in US visa stamp is for the US Consular officer to put in additional notes related to your visa. Depending on the kind of visa, it could have details like University Name, employer name, work visa petition number, etc. Also, it could include restrictions or checks done so that it can help CBP officers at port of entry. Below are some samples.

Sample US B1/B2 Visa Stamp in Passport without any annotation

US Visa Stamp Sample Without Annotation - Blank

Sample US H1B Visa Stamp in Passport with Employer Name and Petition Number.

H1B US Visa Sample with Annotation of Employer Name and Receipt Number

US Visa Stamp annotated  “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”

Some of the US visa applicants get “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization” in the annotation field. It could happen for few reasons. The US Consulate officer, while reviewing the applicant’s file, found some issues with the applicant’s records, but they believe that the applicant is eligible for visa. It could be for reasons like name mismatches, security checks, etc. Also in some cases, it indicates that they may have contacted other agencies like USCIS and got it sorted out. This annotation is an indication to CBP officer at US Port of Entry to make sure, if something shows up in their system to review as needed and allow the applicant to US.  It looks like below.

Sample US H1B Visa Stamp in Passport with “Clearance Received” Annotation

US Visa Annotated Clearance Received - Department Authorization Sample

Filling our DS-160 form, question on “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization” – What to Answer ?

When you are filling out DS-160 form, you may come across questions tied to annotations like ‘Was your prior H1B Visa (temporary occupation, temporary worker or trainee) annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”? ” ‘ or it could be same wording with other visas like H4 Visa or B1 /B2 Visa.  First thing you need to check is your US Visa stamp on your passport, if it says any of these words “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”, then you would answer “Yes” for that question. If annotation section is blank or just has employer name or school name, then you need to select ‘No’.

Should I worry, if my US Visa stamp has “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization” ? Will it impact Future Visa Applications ?

In general, it should be fine. But, as it indicates there was some issue with your name or any other details in their systems, you may be subject to few more questions or screening in some places. So, be prepared with all the documentation, in case any questions arise.

Also, sometimes Visa officer may stamp “Cancelled without Prejudice” on your old or valid US Visa, to understand on the details, you may read details on Cancelled without Prejudice – US Visa – Meaning

Did you get this annotation in your Passport ? What was your experience ?


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Comments ( 8 )

  1. Ossama

    I applied for US Visa in 2018 so I went the interview and it takes long time, and the consular took my old passport and go to another one into and then come back again took the letter that I have it from the University. Then he came back and kept continue asking me about some country’s I went before, then he told. Me that I deserve the visa but he can’t take the decision and will put my Visa application under administrative processing. Then I kept send email to US embassy each 3 months and ask about my case situation. And it takes from May 29, 2018 to February 2020 then they told me send my passport to work on your visa application, a month later they send my passport back with a visa B2 for 4 months will expire at the end of July 2020 with annotation ( the name of the University with date 2018)
    So can I travel as a tourist with visa? Or I gonna get a problems with the officer in port because the issue I took the visa for it, not any more because it has been in 2018 ??? Please I need an answer from your experience in this situation

  2. Becky flick

    If you got approved for a 6 months b1/b2 us visa and when you received it under the annotation it say should fly by a certain date, does that mean you can’t fly after that date. The fly by date was only 20 days after the issue date. It is also has M right above the annotation

  3. Mayank Saluja

    My past two visa Interview story:

    December 2011
    I went for first-time visa stamping in Mumbai India. The VO asked me some questions and took an excuse and went to some senior officer. After 10 mins he came back and asked me if I have some documents that show my full name. I gave him my Degree certificates. He again left for 5 mins. He came back and said, “Your Visa is approved.” I collected my visa the same day in Mumbai.

    September 2018
    I went for a Visa Interview in New Delhi. There the VO asked me some questions and told me she needs some time and closed the window and called one of her colleagues. They both were staring at the computer screen and were discussing something. After 5 mins she said she needs some more time and asked me to sit. I was sitting in the lobby and after around 10-15 mins she called me and said: “Your visa is approved.”. This time I had “Clearance Received” in my Visa.

    I am planning to go to Mexico for my Visa Stamping in October 2019. I have a valid visa stamped till November 2019. Should I be worried?

    1. administrator

      Well, hard to say… Both were done in India…In general, there could be some false alarms or something in their system that flags your application, so they could be discussing and then doing a review before approving it….Be confident, but have a backup plan, if something goes wrong….not to scare you, but just to be prepared ahead. Do update, how it goes here with community.

  4. Murali

    Also , to the term “Prior Visa” .It was a bit confusing as I had my last H1B visa stamp that did not have clearance received, but the visa stamp before that one had clearance received. I couldn’t get a clear answer from the customer support and I chose “No” for that question as i felt the question is for the most recent visa. I used the dropbox facility and got my Visa stamped in 2 days , no issues. So if any one has the same issue, you can go for the dropbox.

    1. administrator

      Thanks for sharing. Just to clarify, you mean to say, having ‘prior visa’ in the annotation field ?

  5. Steve

    I have 2 questions about h1b visa stamping/renewal (not 1st time stamping). The 1st visa was stamped with administrative processing and have the annotation “clearance received” on the stamp with a date on it.

    1) Does that date really mean anything? If i renew my visa prior to that clearance received date, would i get admin processing again? If so, that would be my 2nd question

    2) If my old visa stamp isn’t expire, can i come back to US if I do get administrative processing and VO didn’t take my passport? That way i can still work in US while waiting for the visa approval.

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