Master the O-1 Visa for Startup Success Register Now

Overview Of “Administrative Processing” And How To Avoid It

 

To avoid administrative delays, it's best to sufficiently demonstrate that you meet the requirements for your visa classification. We'll show you how!

Written in partnership with our friends at Argo.

Overview Of Administrative Processing

Under section 221(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, as a nonimmigrant visa applicant (e.g., O-1, H-1B, B-1/B-2, E, or L) you must demonstrate that you meet the temporary requirements for your visa classification. If a final decision cannot be determined immediately, the Consular Officer may inform you that your case will be put on hold until your eligibility can be determined. This processing “time out” is known as “Administrative Processing.”

Administrative processing delays can happen when a visa applicant is unprepared for the visa interview and cannot satisfactorily answer the Consular Officer’s questions.  As a result, it is important to prepare with an expert to understand what types of questions will arise during your interview given your circumstances, and how best to respond.

To avoid administrative delays, it’s best to sufficiently demonstrate that you meet the requirements for your visa classification. You should be prepared by bringing the required documents to your visa interview and answering the Consular Officer’s questions truthfully to secure a visa stamp:

  1. Bring all required documents to the visa interview: 
    • You will need to bring: I-797A Approval Notice, DS-160 Confirmation Page, Application Fee Payment Receipt, Valid Passport, Two (2) Color Passport-Style Photographs, and a Copy of Your Petition.
    •  Dependents will need to bring: I-797A Approval Notice, DS-160 Confirmation Page, Application Fee Payment Receipt, Valid Passport, Two (2) Color Passport-Style Photographs, Marriage Certificate (for Spouse), and Birth Certificate (for Child).
  1. Review your petition before your visa interview.  You should be prepared to discuss your job responsibilities, salary, and other details in your petition.  Not knowing the information in your petition could be seen as a red flag by the Consular Officer.
  2. Prepare your “elevator pitch.” Be prepared to articulate what your company does and what you will be doing in the U.S. 
  3. Make sure you’re familiar with your job duties and responsibilities listed in your job description. Be prepared to offer some details about your company and what you will be doing specifically. Do not be vague.
  4. Unless you are seeking an H-1B or L visa, you will need to maintain nonimmigrant intent. This means that you must intend to depart the U.S. after a temporary stay. If the Consular Officer asks about your long-term plans, it is important to emphasize that you plan to eventually leave the U.S. However, you must answer questions truthfully. If you are uncertain about your plans in the future, that is OK.  You can be honest about all of your different options in the future.
  5. Reply to questions with concise, relevant answers, but be clear, truthful, and confident. The Consular Officer will ask you for more details if they want you to elaborate.
  6. Consider preparing for your visa interview with a former Consular Officer from Argo, who will take the time to understand your situation and practice mock interviews with you.  Especially in more complicated cases, it is important to work with an expert to understand how to frame your situation to avoid misunderstandings, which can cause delays.
  7. Go into your interview with confidence and positivity!

What To Do If You’re Issued “Administrative Processing”

If your application is placed in “Administrative Processing,” this means that the Consulate needs additional time to review your application, or additional documentation/information, before they can issue your visa. Typically, you will receive a notice from the Consular Officer confirming that your case is subject to Administrative Processing.

If this occurs, you may follow these steps:

Stay calm and pay attention to what the Consular Officer is saying. After you leave, it is almost impossible to get information from the Consulate. 

Ask the Consular Officer: 

    • What documents were missing?
    • Could you please provide more clarification?

Afterward, immediately write down everything that you and the Consular Officer discussed. Pay special attention to any moments where the Consular Officer showed concern.

Contact us if you are subject to “Administrative Processing.”  Our team of qualified specialists can help you prepare the documents and information you need.  We may also refer you to a team of former Consular Officers for an assessment and a strategy for moving forward.  Be sure to provide us with the information mentioned above, along with any documentation you received from the Consulate.

We hope these tips will support you through your visa stamping process, and we wish you the best of luck on your U.S. journey!

About the author:

Argo and Legalpad