When you check your US Visa Stamping Status online, there are some cases, where the online status on the 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 form 221g Administrative Processing issued by the consular officer saying that they need to do 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 onwards for most of the 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 updates with user inputs & experiences.
How to Check US Visa Status on CEAC
If you do not know, the US CEAC website is the place where you check your 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 the CEAC website, you can read How to Check US Visa Status on the CEAC website to get an idea of how to check the status online and understand the status that is typically shown, 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 the general visa interview later.
Previous US Visa Status for 221g on CEAC Website
In general, when you are issued a form 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.
We have picked a case that is still in Administrative processing from the past and 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.
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, the 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 the below screenshots of sample 221(g) forms issued by US Consulates:
So, technically, it was refused and the online status now on the CEAC website now reflects the same. So, nothing to panic about or worry about.
The text below the actual ‘refused‘ status on the 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 about, 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, the US Department of State updated 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 the below screenshot, which tells the change in text. You can check the Official Travel.State.Gov Press Release for CEAC Change
National Visa Center – Verified Change
We called National Visa Center regarding the status changed and asked about 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 Case ID for getting info on your case. You may have to wait for 30 to 45 min, details of the Phone Number for the 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 the 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 the “Refused” status as an intermediate status as well.
In early 2020, some “refused” cases that were ultimately “denied” had “refused” status on the CEAC website with shorter text. See the below screenshots. But, that is not true always. Many cases in late 2020 and 2021 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.
US Visa Status for Dropbox shows Refused or Administrative Processing
If you have submitted your documents for US Visa stamping using the Dropbox option for renewals, like H1B Dropbox, then you may see “Administrative Processing” as the status on the CEAC website. Sometimes, due to the issue we described in the article above, you may also see the “Refused” status as well.
Usually, this status of “Refused” or “Administrative Processing” would change in about a week to 10 days. If not, then you can reach out to the consulate. Do not panic, if you see this status.
Also, at times, some users reported that you would see “Refused” or “Administrative Processing” status for a general US Visa in-person interview, where the consular officer said that your visa was approved and kept your passport. Give it a few days for the status to change. If it does not change after a week or 10 days, then reach out to the consulate.
What do you see on your 221g Status on CEAC website? How about Dropbox Status? Share your thoughts in the comments below.