After a visa interview, there are two potential outcomes, the consular officer will either issue or refuse the visa. In some instances, the consular officer may request additional information to determine the applicant’s eligibility for a visa. In such cases, further administrative processing is required. Administrative processing times vary based on individual circumstances. Learn what it means to be placed in “Administrative Processing” and the steps that can be taken to move the case forward.
What is administrative processing?
Administrative processing refers to additional clearance procedures or the submission of the case to the Department of State. Most cases referred to administrative processing are resolved within 60 days from the interview date. Although an officer cannot reveal the reason for administrative processing to the applicant, the following is a list of reasons why an applicant can be sent for administrative processing:
- Further consultation: A consular officer can place a case in further “administrative processing” if they determine that there are circumstances that require further supporting evidence or advisement before making a final decision.
- Database “hits”: All visa applicants have their biographic and biometric data checked against various databases and the results are provided to the consular officer during the visa review process. If these checks indicate a possible match (or ‘hit’) to a person about whom the US government holds adverse watchlist information, consular officers must ‘clear’ the hit by seeking confirmation that the person applying for the visa is not the same person on the watchlist before issuing the visa.
- Technology Alert List: When a visa applicant intends to participate in certain commercial or academic activity it can triggers concerns about the possible illegal transfer of technology as defined in the Technology Alert List (TAL). When a consul encounters an applicant who intends to pursue activities in one of the areas included on the TAL, the consul must submit an inquiry on the matter to DOS for a determination of whether the risk is significant enough to require a visa denial.
What happens if my case is placed in administrative processing?
Once an applicant is placed in administrative processing the consular officer follows a strict timetable for processing. The following steps can be taken for a case that is in administrative processing:
- After 60 days contact the consular post where the interview took place.
- If there is no action or response from the consulate within the next two weeks, you can then contact the Department of State Visa Office again to inquire into processing.
It is important to follow this procedure once a case is placed into administrative processing. Failure to follow this procedure will only delay case processing.
Important Notice: Before making inquiries about the status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.
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