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Why US Visa Status on CEAC says Refused for 221g ? Dropbox ? Visa Interview ?

When you check the US Visa Stamping Status online, there are some cases, where the online status on CEAC website shows as “Refused”, even though the consular officer said after the interview that it was approved. You may also see the same status, after you dropped off documents for US Visa Dropbox stamping or you received 221g Administrative Processing by Consular officer said they need some administrative processing and kept the passport.

In the past, it used to show “Administrative processing”, but it now shows as “refused” from March 3rd, 2020, for many cases. This online status of “Refused” can cause a lot of panic among many in 221g administrative processing, dropbox stamping or general visa stamping applicants. This article covers the issue with the status “Refused”, why it shows like that, and updated with user inputs & experiences.

How to Check US Visa Status on CEAC

If you do not know, US CEAC website is the place where you check US Visa status. CEAC stands for US Dept. of State’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). If you are new and not sure how to use CEAC website, you can read How to Check US Visa Status on CEAC website to get an idea on how to check the status online and understand the status that are typically showed, when you check the US Visa status.

Let’s first look at the common situation with 221g, where you would see “Refused” Status. We will review Dropbox and general visa interview later.

Previous US Visa Status for 221g on CEAC Website

In general, when you are issued a 221g for administrative processing, you used to see the status of “Administrative processing” on the US Dept CEAC Website and the text under it used to read like below.

“Your visa case is currently undergoing necessary administrative processing. This processing can take several weeks. Please follow any instructions provided by the Consular officer at the time of your interview. If further information is needed, you will be contacted. If your visa application is approved, it will be processed and mailed/available within two business days. For more information, please visit US Consulate General <City name>”

See the screenshot below on exactly how it looked.

221g Administrative Processing Status CEAC Website

We have picked a case that is still in Administrative processing from the past and have is how it used to look. But, that changed from March 2020.  Pay close attention to the number to check below.

221g Status Changed to Refused for US Visa on US CEAC Website

From early March 2020, many users have reported and we verified as well that most of the 221g Cases status has changed to “Refused”, even when there was no real update on their ‘Case Last Updated Date’ or anything has changed. One key thing to note is the text under it has changed. It reads like below now.

“A U.S. Consular Officer has adjudicated and refused your visa application. Please follow any instructions provided by the consular officer. If you were informed by the consular officer that your case was refused for administrative processing, your case will remain refused while undergoing such processing. You will receive another adjudication once such processing is complete. Please be advised that the processing time varies and that you will be contacted if additional information is needed. For more information, please visit TRAVEL.STATE.GOV or the website for the Embassy or Consulate at which you made your visa application. For more information, please visit U.S. Consulate General <Consulate name>”

Pay close attention to the bold text, it basically tells that, if you were given Administrative processing, then it will be processed in administrative processing. Also, see the screenshot below with status ‘Refused’, it is the same case number as above.

221g - Status Refused - CEAC Website

You may watch the below YouTube Video on 221g CEAC Status Administrative Processing, which covers the same details

Why has the Status Changed from Administrative Processing to Refused Suddenly ?

Well, CEAC website changed the displayed status text to be in line with the form given by the consular officer, and that’s why you see this big change and the confusion. If you  check your 221g notice or any of the standard 221g forms given, you will see the text that says “Your application for a nonimmigrant visa has been refused per section 221(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act…”. See below screenshots.

221g Refused Text on White Slip
221g Pink Slip Refused Text

So, technically, it was refused and the online status now on CEAC website now reflects the same. So, nothing to panic or worry.

The text below the actual ‘refused’ status on CEAC website tells clearly that if you were given administrative processing, it will be continued to be processed and you will receive another update on the decision/adjudication once the process is complete . There is nothing to worry, if you have been issued a 221g, it will be continued to be processed.

Official Communication Travel.State.Gov New Alert

On March 5th, 2020, US Department of State update on their website in a news alert that they have made the status related text change to reflect the actual change, but does not really change the case information. As discussed above, it is in line with the 221g sheet given to the applicant, when their case goes to Administrative processing. Check below screenshot, that tells the change in text. You can check Official Travel.State.Gov Press Release for CEAC Change

Adminstrative Processing Changed to Refused - CEAC - March 2020 News Relase

National Visa Center – Verified Change

We called National Visa Center regarding the status changed and asked regarding the change. They confirmed that the status text has changed for Administrative processing, but nothing other than that. If you were given a slip for 221g or told by Consular Officer that your case will be in administrative processing, then your case will be processed accordingly. The status text of the refused for Administrative processing is different from the real refused case, without administrative processing. We cover that below. In any case, you can call National Visa Center as well and verify, if you are concerned. You need to have your Passport Number, Date of Birth and Your Case ID for getting info on your case. You may have to wait for 30 to 45 min, details of Phone Number for National Visa Center are at : https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/contact-us/us-visas.html

Actual Refused Status Text on CEAC ? Is it Consistent ?

It is very hard to say what the exact status you would see on CEAC website, if your US Visa was really refused for good. In the past, it was clear, but since March 2020 and in recent times in 2021, this has been very inconsistent. Many users see “Refused” status as an intermediate status as well.

In early 2020, some “refused” cases that were ultimately “denied” had “refused” status on CEAC website with shorter text. See below screenshots. But, that is not true always. Many cases in late 2020 and 2021 that had “Refused” status with shorter text as an intermediate status and later they changed to Administrative processing and then “Issued” . So, it is very hard to say the exact text for real refused cases.

Observed CEAC Status Changes : Refused ( with short text ) >> Administrative Processing >> Issued

The only way to tell, if your case was refused, is if you get a confirmation from Consulate that says, your case is refused. Sample US Visa Denial Letter from US Consulate after 221g

Example of CEAC Status Refused with Shorter text

  • Old Text for Refused : Your application was refused. Please refer to the letter or other instructions you were given at the time of your visa interview. For more information, please visit <US consulate name >
  • New Text for Refused : A consular officer has adjudicated and refused your visa application. Please see the letter you received at the interview. For more information, please visit <US Consulate name>
  • See below Refused Status with shorter text, before and after March 20th, 2020.
CEAC Status Refused - Before - After Change 2020
US Visa Refused Case status

US Visa Status for Dropbox shows Refused or Administrative Processing ?

Many users have reported that, if you have submitted your documents for US Visa stamping using Dropbox option for renewals, then you may see. “Administrative Processing” as status on CEAC website. Sometimes, due to the issue we described in article above, you may also see the “Refused” status as well. Usually, this status of “Refused” or “Administrative Processing” would change in about week to 10 days. If not, then you can reach out to consulate. Do not panic, if you see this status.

Also, at times, some users reported that you see “Refused” or “Administrative Processing” status for general US Visa in-person interview, where the consular officer said that your visa was approved and kept passport. Give it few days for the status to change. If it does not change after a week or 10 days, then reach out to consualte.

What do you see on your 221g Status on CEAC website ? How about Dropbox Status ? Share your thoughts in comments.

   

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914 Comments

  1. I had my H1b interview on SEP 22nd
    VO took my passport and fingerprints and was not given any 221G forms and didn’t confirm anything about visa approval and asked me to wait for a week for update ..

    My case has been moved from refused to administrative processing with in one day and next I day got NIE approved email from consulate but still my case is in administrative processing . ..

    Did any one facing similar situation ??

    Reply
  2. Hi I apply my renew C1d visa on 15 September 2021 next day they update aplication aproved and next day they update refused and after 4 days they update Administrative processing what that mean it will be issued or any problem please help me my question thanks

    Reply
  3. I had my H1B visa Interview on September 20th, 2021 and the VO took my fingerprints and said visa approved with NIE. Also kept my passport. Soon after the interview I checked the status and it showed as Refused. I was not given any slip or was told about 221 g.

    Not sure what happened.

    Reply
  4. Request for guidance –

    As part of recent H1 + H4 renewal dropbox appointment in Chennai, my H1 visa was issued whereas my wife’s H4 visa was refused. She received a 221g form to appear for an in-person interview upon resumption of regular consulate appointments.
    We have a USC and have her vaccinations and wellness checks coming up. Is there anyone who encountered a similar situation and also have successfully overcame this. Please advise. Appreciate all your support in advance.

    Reply
  5. Hi Everyone,
    Here is my F2 Visa experience.
    Hope it will help those people who are seeking the support / Guidelines

    1. I have attended the Visa Interview on 19th Aug 21. VO took my passport and asked for the fingerprints. I wasn’t given any slip. When opened the CEAC site to see the update the status was “REFUSED”(i checked just an hour after the Interview). Was so upset and didn’t understand what has happened as VO took my passport but the status says something.
    2. Status remained the same for 3 days. on 23rd Aug, it got changed from REFUSED to ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING
    3. Again on 1st Sep 21, staus updated but was same: ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING. and on 2nd Sep 21, status updated to ISSUED. I have received my passport with VISA STAMP on 3rd Sep 21.

    I understood from my experience that the status immediately after the interview will be always REFUSED. So do worry and wait for the status update after 3 business days. if you are not given any slip, the VISA process may be completed in 2 weeks. but though the slip is given or not, make sure to check your email as they may request the additional documents while our case is in Administrative Processing.
    If you don’t get the update within 10 business days, start checking with the consulate customer care or email support@ustraveldocs.com

    All the best !!

    Thanks & Regards,
    Jyothireddy K

    Reply
    • Hi Joythi

      My case also similar to your case.

      VO took my passport and fingerprints and didn’t confirm anything about visa approval and asked me to wait for a week for update ..

      My case has been moved from refused to administrative processing with in one day and next I got NIE approved email from consulate but still my case is in administrative processing . I wanted to know is this the same way for you as well .. I mean did you receive your NIE approved email before your case moved from administrative processing to Issued

      Reply
  6. Hello, my interview was on 11th of August. It was refused due to some missing documents which I provided on the 30th of August.
    Not the status is still showing same as refused but the ‘date update’ says 03 September. Does that mean that its fully refused or is it still in processing? Anyone experienced similar situation??

    Reply
  7. Has anyone ended up having a successful turnaround on their case status after being put into Refused (first long text) and then Refused (short text)? We’re stuck there now and getting a lot of feedback from others that it means it’s been denied. No email or anything from embassy communicating it.

    Reply
    • My case is exactly the same, I did not receive any communication but the long text has been reduced to short text now. Really confused if it has been completely refused it I still stand a chance.

      Reply
  8. Hi,
    Kindly help me with the below. how long should i wait to get the latest staus??
    Thanks in Advance.

    I have appeared for an F2 visa on August 19th, 2021.
    VO officer didn’t say anything but mentioned the NIE word.
    She kept my passport with her and also took my fingerprints, but when I checked the status, it shows REFUSED:
    A U.S. consular officer has adjudicated and refused your visa application. Please follow any instructions provided by the consular officer. If you were informed by the consular officer that your case was refused for administrative processing, your case will remain refused while undergoing such processing. You will receive another adjudication once such processing is complete. Please be advised that the processing time varies and that you will be contacted if additional information is needed. For more information, please visit TRAVEL.STATE.GOV or the website for the Embassy or Consulate at which you made your visa application.
    For more information, please visit U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad.

    Reply
    • Hi,
      Kindly help me with the below. how long should i wait to get the latest status??DId anyone had same exp at Hyderabad consulate

      I have appeared for an H1B visa on Sep1th, 2021.
      VO asked me about NIE I answered him but he was not convinced.he kept my passport with her and also took my fingerprints,and said me that he is giving 221g under NIE. but when I checked the status, it shows REFUSED:
      A U.S. consular officer has adjudicated and refused your visa application. Please follow any instructions provided by the consular officer. If you were informed by the consular officer that your case was refused for administrative processing, your case will remain refused while undergoing such processing. You will receive another adjudication once such processing is complete. Please be advised that the processing time varies and that you will be contacted if additional information is needed. For more information, please visit TRAVEL.STATE.GOV or the website for the Embassy or Consulate at which you made your visa application.
      For more information, please visit U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad.

      Reply
    • I had interview in March 2021 and the concil approved the k1 visa and told me they kept my passport will send me with visa by mail after week but then i check the status write refused i contact with embassy they said me under review and still the last date updated 7 Sep 2021

      Reply
  9. Hi. We had visa interview on 19th july and after interview vo kept our passport and original i-797 and gave 221g white slip with no document required. After that time case status shows refused. We sent many emails to different email but standard response that our case is under administrative process. But how long we have to wait?

    Reply
  10. Thank you for this post. I attended my visa renewal interview on the 22nd of July, 2021 after which the officer approved my case and told me to expect my passport within 2 to 3 weeks. On getting home, I checked the status on the CEAS tracker website and was perplexed to see the status as REFUSED with the long text as mentioned above. I began panicking but after coming across this post, I became calm. I kept monitoring the status which remained the same. I sent a message to the Toronto visa office where I had my interview and I was told the case was refused under 221g and it is currently under administrative processing (I never received any slip after my interview and my passport was retained). I decided to call the USATRAVEL.GOV customer care number to ask about the status of the application. I was told it was pending administrative processing (at least not refused). Frome the CEAC website I was almost certain that my case was not worked on as the days turned to 1 week and then 2 weeks and 4 days. I kept sending messages to the visa office and I kept getting the same templated response. I had already booked my return flight using the 3 weeks turnaround time the officer gave me. I suspected that my case was forgotten seeing that the last date the status was updated was the day of the interview. I decided to go to the consulate to ask what’s going on and made them realize that I have to travel back in 1 week. The security officer was kind enough to make a call to the interview office. I was told that the case is currently under administrative processing and would receive a response before the end of the week. Later in the day, I checked the status on the CEAC website and saw that the status was updated to administrative processing. The next day it was updated to issued which made me very happy.

    My advice to anyone in the same situation is to keep checking the status online, call the USTRAVEL.GOV inquiry line, and if you can go to the consulate if no movement after the timeline given by the interviewer.

    I wish you all the very best!!

    Reply
    • I have lil bit same situation. We had interview on 19th july and vo kept our passport and original i-797 and gave 221g white slip,no document asked. Case status still shows the same refused. We did email and call but standard response that your case is under administrative process . What should we do?

      Reply
      • Sorry to hear this. It can be quite frustrating to be in limbo. Did the officer give any specific timeframe that you should expect your passport? Based on a previous experience of someone close to me, after the 221g slip was given, it took about 3 weeks to get a response and the visa. It appears today makes it a little over 3 weeks since you appeared for the interview. You may want to visit the consulate you had your interview and talk to someone. I hope you hear back from them very soon. All the best.

        Reply
        • I had drop box appt on Aug10th.
          Status as changed to ‘REFUSED’ with short text – A consular officer has adjudicated and refused your visa application. Please see the letter you received at the interview.

          Within 1 hour, it changed to Administrative processing. In the blog, it was understood that Refused with short text is actual ‘Refused’.

          Please let me know.

          Reply
          • Hi Sandeep,

            I am also on the same boat, but mine was still showing as refused, May i know if there is any update on your Visa..

    • Hi,
      Could you please confirm the email IDs which you have used for a follow-up?
      My case is similar to yours but the F2- VISA application. It’s been 8 working days but no status change from 23rd August.
      Just wondering, how you have sent a message to Visa Officer? need your help, request you to ping the more information on my email ID jyothi.kethireddy1204@gmail.com
      I have done many follow-ups via Support UStravel.com and also to customer care, but they are just asking me to wait until i receive an email or any notification from them,

      Thanks & Regards,
      Jyothireddy K

      Reply
    • I think I’m facing the same problem here but thank you for your helpful comment!

      Can you please give me the the USTRAVEL.GOV inquiry line number?

      Reply
  11. embassy saying me submit passport and medical report near VAC centre
    but i take appointments to VAC centre ..No slot available to submit document …
    Plz tell me when open slot open VAC centre 221g slot

    Reply

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