221(g) Refusal

A visa application refusal under 221(g) is somewhat common and can happen for a number of reasons. In general, 221(g) means that the reviewing officer would like further information before making a final decision on your case. We discuss the meaning of a refusal under 221(g) and what you need to do here.

What is section 221(g)?

If you have been refused under INA Section 221(g), this typically means that the officer requires additional information before they can make a decision on your case. INA 221(g) does not mean that your visa has been refused permanently. This is commonly referred to as “Administrative Processing.” Under 221(g) no visa or other documentation shall be issued until additional evidence is received and any additional checks are performed. The regulation specifically states that further processing will be performed under 221(g) under the following:

  1. If it appears to the consular officer, from statements in the application, or in the papers submitted therewith, that such alien is ineligible to receive a visa or such other documentation under section 212, or any other provision of law,
  2. The application fails to comply with the provisions of this Act, or the regulations issued thereunder, OR
  3. The consular officer knows or has reason to believe that such alien is ineligible to receive a visa or such other documentation under section 212, or any other provision of law.

How long do I have to reply to a 221(g) request for additional information?

When refused under 221(g), the refusing officer will provide a letter that indicates what additional information is required to complete the visa application. You will have one year from the date of the refusal to submit the information, and no further action can be taken on your application until you provide this information.  Make sure your response meets the demands of the request and is complete and accurate before responding. The sooner you respond to the request the sooner you are likely to receive a final decision in your case.

Do I need a waiver for a 221(g) visa refusal?

There is no waiver for a 221(g) refusal. Simply comply with the request from the refusing officer in a timely manner. Once you respond then the case will continue to process.

How long will it take to receive a final decision?

There is no listed response time to 221(g) requests. Timing varies based on the individual circumstances of each case. You must wait at least 180 days from the date of your interview or submission of supplemental documents in response to the 221(g) request, or whichever is later, before inquiring about your case.

What if my case has been pending for over 180 days?

If it has been at least 180 days since your interview or response to the 221(g) request, you can inquire directly with the consulate where your case is pending for an update on your case. Here are some additional resources for cases that are stuck in this process:

My visa application is in administrative processing, what should I expect?

How do I request CIS Ombudsman support?

How do I get congressional help for my immigration case?

Mandamus Actions for Immigration Processing Delays

Additional Outside Resources

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