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

Since March of 2020, there are some cases where the online status of US Visa Stamping on CEAC website shows “Refused” for some case situations. It could be situations like – you applied for US Visa and received 221g Administrative Processing or Consular officer said your visa was approved and kept the passport, or it could be you submitted your passport using Dropbox option and your status says refused.

In the past, it may have showed “Administrative processing”, but that changed to “refused” from March 3rd, 2020. This online status of “Refused” has caused 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, that 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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  1. Hello,
    I recently had my H1b renewal dropbox appointment at Hyderabad. Status changed to refused in 2 days and no update yet. It’s been a week and haven’t received any notification. But when I called the NVC help desk, they said they see that i need to attend interview on March 3. But I haven’t received any information regarding this and also my passport is still with the embassy. Did anyone have experience like this? Please let me know

  2. Hello!

    My husband had interview and was told he was accepted for the immigrant visa. The consular then realized something in the computer and the status is now Refused. His passport is at the emabssy and we’ve heard nothing. They said they would reach out if they needed anything and they haven’t, we’re super confused.

    Anyone have an additional check done on their passport? Thank you!

  3. Hello Kumar,
    I had to go for an official event in USA in March2020. I had applied for USA B1 visa for the same in Feb 2020. I went for interview and they gave me 221g asking me to email some documents. In March 2020, I received email to submit passport. But I could not submit the passport due to lockdown.
    Now on 19th Feb 2021, I have received an email to “appear in person for an interview” at the consulate with passport and documents. They have told not to schedule appointment, but use the email as appointment and reach at the date and time mentioned in email.
    Now the concern is, the visa that I had applied does not hold valid anymore as the event was in Mar 2020. So not sure why they are calling me again instead of asking me to send passport. So I assume there is no point going for interview.
    Secondly if I don’t go, as there is no reason to go, will it impact my further applications for visa?
    Kindly help me with these queries


  4. Hello,
    My husband got denied with the 221g today because my joint sponsor paperwork was not submitted to NVC. they said to upload it online and to email them to confirm it. Do you know what website we upload it to? the paper he got doesn’t say and NVC won’t allow us to add anything.

  5. If your status is update two time for the month is that a good look?it’s been one year now my husband case is in administrative processing

  6. Hi ,

    This is Sam. My wife currently in India gone for h4 dropbox(Chennai Consulate). Documents submitted on Feb 01. On Feb 08 status showed “Refused” with long text. Feb 10th collected the passport without stamping with 221g. With following Ask.
    to Email embassy the pdf showing- “All Evidence that Husband/PA is currently in the US. Do Not send pay slips or bank Statements.
    Evidence including most recent I-94,Copy of all Stamp pages on passport and others”
    This is exact statement written on 221g. (Nothing Else)
    Now, my current stamped visa/last -i94 is expired on Dec 2020. What i have is Approved I -979A with I-94 attached. What other documents we can email showing my current presence in US?

    Thank you!

  7. Coyane I had my interview with my husband from February 13th 2020 and is police record was expired and the council give me a wight slip 221g and for him to send the documents to the Korea service and we did .Friday is going to be one year and the case is still in administrative processing

    • Hi Kumar my husband case cr1 under 221 g update 8 feb ,9,10,11 feb now they sending something drop box delivery but case is still refuseed passport with my husbade i am very scared plz give me any clue

  8. Hi,
    I had an appointment of L1 A blanket visa with my spouse. The officer said that he had everything to approve my visa but cannot because he is unable to verify my case in system and wrote PIMS in the application that I gave and he shared back a 221(g) white form and kept the passport.
    Now the status shows administrative processing on the website.
    Wanted to know if I need to do any follow ups with my attorney or this is normal.


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