When you go for US Visa stamping and it is approved, you get your passport with US visa stamp foil glued inside it. Sometimes, you may see some text in the annotation section like the company name or other details… But, it can be confusing when you see some text that says “Clearance Received” or something on that lines in the same annotation section.
Also, when you are applying for a US visa and filling out the DS-160 form or on CGI Federal website, you also may also encounter questions like the below:
- Was your prior H1B Visa (temporary occupation, temporary worker, or trainee) annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”? “
- Was your prior H4 visa annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”?
- US visa – B1/B2 Visa with annotation “Clearance Received”
In this article, we look at what that means and how to answer DS-160 questions, including samples with screenshots.
Before we dive into the details, let’s first understand what are annotations in the US Visa foil, and why that field exists.
What is the annotation field in US Visa? No Annotation? Samples?
The annotation field in the US visa stamp/foil is for the US Consular officer to put in additional notes related to your issued 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 the port of entry. Below are some samples.
Sample US B1/B2 Visa Stamp in Passport without any annotation
Sample US H1B Visa Stamp in Passport with Employer Name and Petition Number.
US Visa Stamp annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”
Some US visa applicants get “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization” in the annotation field. It could happen for a few reasons as listed below:
- 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 the 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 officers at the US Port of Entry to make sure, if something shows up in their system to review as needed and allow the applicant to the US. It looks like in the below screenshot.
Sample US H1B Visa Stamp in Passport with “Clearance Received” Annotation
DS-160 Application form “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization” – What to Answer ?
When you are filling out the US Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, aka 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 the same wording with other visas like H4 Visa or B1 /B2 Visa.
The first thing you need to check is your most recent US Visa stamp glued in your passport, if it says any of these words “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”, then you would answer “Yes” for that question. If the annotation section is blank or just has the employer name or school name, then you need to select ‘No’.
You should answer it truthfully as the US Visa stamp says, you cannot select the wrong option here. The US Consular system already has this information captured, so you should not try to lie or change it otherwise. If you do so, you could be penalized for stating wrong information on DS-160 form.
US Visa Dropbox Eligibility with ‘Clearance Received’ or ‘Department Authorization’?
When you are filling out your dropbox or interview waiver questionnaire on CGI Federal website, you would be asked the question “Was your prior XXX visa (visa details XXX ) annotated ‘Clearance Received’ or ‘Department Authorization’?“
The question clearly says prior XXX Visa, so you need to first check your most recent US Visa Stamp in your passport. You need to answer “Yes”, here, if see the words “‘Clearance Received’ or ‘Department Authorization” in the annotation section of your most recently issued US Visa in the XXX Visa category.
It looks like in the below screenshot for the H1B Visa Dropbox Questionnaire and the moment you select “Yes”, the system will automatically exit you out of the wizard and ask you to schedule an in-person interview.
Modified US Visa Interview Waiver Question asking for ‘Clearance Received’ or ‘Department Authorization’
US Dept of State announced on Dec 23rd, 2021 the new Visa Interview Waiver option for Certain H1B, H4, Others. This is applicable to anyone who had a previous US visa issued and does not have any other ineligibility on their visa or application. As part of the new questions asked to determine the dropbox eligibility, the USTravelDocs system has the question that says: ” Was your prior visa annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”? as show in the below screenshot.
You need to answer “Yes” to this question if you have the annotation text on your most recently issued or approved US Visa that says “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization“. If you have multiple US Visa stamps on your passport, look at the most recent one. If you see it closely, it says ‘prior’, meaning the most recent one. If you do not see any annotation on your Visa stamp, then you answer this as “No”. In general, if you answer “Yes” to this question, you would not be eligible for the interview waiver.
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 and would not directly impact your future US Visa stamping chances. Having said that, what it does indicate is that there was some issue with your name or any other details in their systems, you may be subject to a few more questions or screening in some places. So, be prepared with all the documentation, in case any questions arise. Also, as mentioned above, you may not be able to get the US Visa renewal using the Dropbox option.
Also, sometimes Visa officer may stamp “Cancelled Without Prejudice” on your old or valid US Visa, to understand 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?