There can any number of reasons for issuing form 221g by US embassy and some can be really un-heard of. There are no tricks to avoid form 221g that can work in all cases. It all depends on your visa paperwork and what the visa officer asks in your interview.
We have collected a list of most common reasons for form 221(g) which you can use to avoid form 221g.
Not Declaring Food Items at US Port of entry
Recently, a person was issued form 221g and asked to submit the details of CBP encounter at US port of entry. This person had paid the fine for not declaring the food items that he was carrying from India.
US embassy is acting like your mother-in-law to cherry pick issues with your application. Beware.
Changing your US address Frequently – Identity Check Form 221g
US embassy system may flag your name for security checks if you have changed your residence address every year in past. Usually, the person who is moving too often is considered to be involved in suspicious activities and hence need to go through security checks.
This is what was shared to us by a reliable source who has gone through these Identity checks based on US address twice in his last two H1B visa stamping at New Delhi. Both times, he was issued white form 221g with no more documents to submit but was asked about his addresses in last 15 years while interviewing.
Working in IT consulting Company – EVC model
The chances are very high to get a form 221(g) if you are working in a small IT consulting company with 5-100 employees.
You may be asked to submit your employer’s federal tax return documents, client contracts and details of all employees currently working in your organization.
Form 221g in Ottawa Canada Timeline
- May 13 (Monday) – H1B visa stamping interview in Ottawa, Canada. White Form 221g is issued.
- Embassy told that they want to verify client and employer details.
- Questions like ‘How many months trained on OPT’, ‘How you got this job’ and ‘are you paid on time’ were asked.
- Embassy called end-client and verified the job details. Client responded same day.
- On next day (Tuesday) embassy sent second interview request for Thursday at 2 PM. Automatic appointment booking.
- May 17 (Friday) Morning – CEAC status changed to Visa issued.
- May 20 (Monday) Got the passport from US embassy Ottawa.
This white Form 221(g) was issued in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for H1B stamping:
The person was told that he will have to appear for one more followup Interview after he was given the white form 221g after first interview. He works in EVC model in US. The second interview appointment was scheduled by embassy officials automatically and an email was sent.
USCIS may or may not contact your employer directly in these cases. If your employer does not share these documents with you, the chances of your visa approval are very low.
Some people have reported that they received Yellow slip at the end of H1B interview in New Delhi Consulate asking to submit I129 along with end client letter in pdf format. I-129 is the application form for employment based US visa like H1B, L etc.
F1 to H1B Stamping
Many people receive form 221g refusal in India when they go for H1B stamping after studying on F1 in USA. The visa process is common for people after H1B lottery selection with consular processing.
The US embassy usually sends your application back to USCIS to check for any F1 status violations while you were using your OPT or CPT. Day 1 CPT cases have very chances of visa denial after form 221g.
Example case: F1 OPT to H1B Yellow form 221g
This yellow form 221g was received by for first H1B stamping after F1 OPT (CoS was filed with H1B and stamping was after 5 months on H1B).
Visa officer specifically asked if she has ever been out of status on F1, which she denied. The officer said that there is an issue with her SEVIS record and her visa is approved but will that up to 15 days for administrative processing.
After 10 days of admin processing, she started creating service request, stating that she had work, home and an outbound flight, which always resulted in same reply to contact after 60 days.
She had to convert her outbound flight to an open ticket. Her employer also asked her to go on unpaid leave. Luckily, she was able to get permission to work remotely.
After contacting USCIS multiple times through a phone call, she got to know that there were flags on her SEVIS record. University informed that had done everything and closed the file when she moved to H1B.
After 93 days of waiting on admin processing, the status changed finally to visa issued.
It is recommend for anyone who’s planning to go for stamping for first time after F1 to contact USCIS and make sure that there are no issues with SEVIS or anything else, before you leave US.
H1B Status Violations from Previous Employers
This kind of status checks are done when you have filed multiple extension, amendment or transfer applications without getting approvals on any one specific application. You will need to submit your H1B receipt i797 forms if they were still pending or approval i797C is they were approved.
US consulate tries to validate that you were not working in US without a valid H1B approval.
H1B Amendment Pending
You can expect a form 221g if you have filed H1B visa stamping request based on your previously approved petition but answer questions related to your client and work location with pending H1B Amendment.
The most important point to note is that your H1B visa stamp cannot be approved with pending amendment.
Here is the case where US embassy refused H1B visa stamping with pending amendment using yellow form 221g.
I suggest to wait for approval and then go for stamping if you have already started working as per new location for new client in US.
Promoted to Managerial Role on H1B
Your employer did not file an H1B amendment after your promotion to IT project manager, then you are asking for trouble in your next visa stamping.
This person was handed over form 221 g by New Delhi US consulate and was asked to submit following documents as he was trying to get H1B visa stamp using approved H1B i797 prior to his promotion.
- Original LCA
- Employer Cover Letter
- Pay Stubs
- List of all employees working in same company
- Start & End date of all employees in same company
- Salaries of all employees working in same company
Working in Arms & Amunition, Nuclear Technology
You have high chance of getting a form 221g issued for your H1B or L visa job if you are working in a technology that is related to Nuclear technol.
On the contrary, some people working in MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) have been issued form 221g and a possible H1B revocation at the time of H1B visa interview.
So, there is no real way to find out who will get a form 221g and who will not.
You would not believe that people who have gone for their first time H1B visa stamping have been issued form 221g and asked to submit W2 at Hyderabad US consulate. In this case, I suggested the person to submit their Indian pay slips and tax returns.
Form 221g After Dropbox
This blue form 221g was issued by Mumbai US consulate after dropping H1B visa documents using Dropbox.
The CEAC status was shown as Passport ready for pickup 2 days after the dropbox. There was a blue slip (form 221(g) attached inside the passport.
You can go any day for interview between 10:30 to 11 AM. Basically by 11 AM all normal appointments are done and then form 221g interviews are taken.
Then around 11:30, all 221g candidates were sent inside one by one.
This happens daily as there is always a batch of around 20-30 people with 221G who wait outside and are taken in once all regular appointments are done.
H1B visa was approved.
Form 221g can be issued after Dropbox.
There are no tricks to avoid form 221g but you can make sure that you do not repeat the simple US visa mistakes that other people made by reading list of form 221g reasons.
Form 221g processing time varies from 7 days to 17 months. Time depends on the specific documents requested from you and your employer.
From 221(g) refusal is a document that is issued by US embassy if they need more information about your visa application. The form 221(g) is printed on various color paper including white, yellow, blue and green.
Have you gone through some of the weird form 221g issuance with no real reason, then do share your experience with us in the comments.