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I was put into Administrative Processing. Does this mean my visa application will be denied?

Administrative processing

If your visa application was selected for Administrative Processing this means the application requires additional review before the application is approved or denied. The officer will usually give you a form at the end of the interview that indicates the application is currently refused under INA 221(g). The next steps in the process will depend on why the application was selected for Administrative Processing.

Please see some common scenarios below:

  • The officer needs more information or needs to see specific documents to determine visa eligibility: If the consular officer requires more information from you to determine your eligibility for the visa, the form should indicate which documents need to be provided and the manner in which they should be provided. For example, if you had a prior arrest and you did not bring the arrest report and disposition documents to the interview, the officer may ask you to send these documents to a specific email address so they can review and ensure there are no admissibility issues. In this situation the officer may need to discuss the case internally with other officers or may need to request an Advisory opinion from the Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Office. If they do request an advisory opinion, they cannot issue the visa until they receive this opinion.
  • Database Hit on Biographic or Biometric Data: As part of the visa application, each applicant must provide biographical data as well as a photo and fingerprints. This data is run in various government databases and if there is a “hit” in any of these databases it can trigger administrative processing. For example, if the person’s name comes up as a possible match with someone on a U.S. government watchlist, then the consular officer must make sure the visa applicant is not the person on the watchlist before they can issue the visa.
  • Issues with technology transfer: The Technology Alert List was developed by the U.S. government and lists several areas where the U.S. limits the transfer of technology and sensitive information. For example, one of the technologies on the list is technologies associated with rocket-propulsion systems. If a visa applicant is seeking to enter the U.S. to engage in any activities on the list, the consular officer is required to submit an inquiry to the Department of State to get a security advisory opinion to determine if the application can be approved.

Will the officer tell me why my application was put into administrative processing?

Consular officers will not tell you why your application was put into administrative processing if your case was flagged due to a database hit or a security issue. If the officer needs more information to process your case, they will inform you as to what additional information they need.

Does administrative processing mean my case is likely to be denied?

Being put into administrative processing does not mean your case will be denied. Although it can be frustrating to wait, many cases are approved after going through administrative processing. If a case is sent for administrative processing this usually means that the officer deems the case to be approvable. If the officer felt that the visa applicant was inadmissible or did not meet the visa requirements they would just deny the application, so being put into administrative processing does not mean the case is likely to be denied and many cases are ultimately approved after the additional information is provided or the security issues are cleared.

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