Visa Approved Status Admin Processing, Form 221g Solution

H1B visa approved but CEAC status is Administrative processing. VO said visa Approved. Identity verification - Form 221(g) issued but no documents asked.

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta          Updated  8 Jan, 20


After the H1B Visa interview at US embassy in Delhi, India, Visa officer took my passport and told me Congratulations, your visa is approved and I will get the passport in 2-3 days.

I just checked my CEAC status online and it says: Administrative Processing. I did NOT receive any form 221g or any other document whatsoever.

Why is it in Administrative processing then? This is pretty common question in this situation. Don’t worry.

Admin processing is the normal status and could mean multiple things with or without form 221(g).

A new type of admin processing is on the rise at US embassy when they issue form DS 5535 to go through your last 15 year travel history and residence addresses.

Form 221g Processing Time

CEAC – Visa Approved but Status is Administrative Processing status is common these days after visa interview in US embassy. If your visa was approved and no form 221(g) was issued, then you can expect your stamped passport within 5-10 working days. No need to worry.

It is possible that US embassy has not issued form 221(g) but the status will still show as admin processing on CEAC website.  But, they can still send your application back to USCIS in USA for US work location verification.

In this case, your application status will show as Administrative Processing even though the visa officer told you VISA APPROVED.

White Form 221g US Embassy Visa Interview – Real Life Case

This real life case happened at US embassy in New Delhi for H1B visa interview. This person worked for direct US employer full time. This H1B visa stamping was done just after H1B transfer approval in premium.

  1. Visa Officer (VO): How are doing today?
    A: I am doing fine. What about you?
  2. VO: What class of visa have you applied for?
    A: H1B
  3. VO: Which company are you going to work for?
    A: ABC Company.
  4. VO: What is the education of your wife?
    A: B.A.
  5. VO: Is B.A. equal to Bachelor of Arts
    A: Yes
  6. VO: Where have you lived in US and where are you going to live now?
    A: Tampa, FL and Westford.
    -I was interrupted by my kid here. So, could not answer completely and was immediately followed by another question.
  7. VO: Westford? Where? In Massachusetts?
    A: Yes, Massachusetts.
  8. VO: Is there any client or you are going to work directly for this company?
    A: There is no client. The work is directly for ABC company.
  9. VO: Please move to the next window and my colleague will help you.
    A: Okay.

They move to next window and then were informed that they are putting the case for administrative processing. They now ask following questions:

  1. Q: When did you change your address in last 15 years? Is it in 2006?
    A: I thought they are asking specifically about India as i was in India in 2006. I answered Yes, and gave my Indian address before and after 2006.
  2. Q: Do you have any brother/sister?
    A: Yes, I have.
  3. Q: What is the name of your sister?
    A: XYZ Sharma.
  4. Q: What is the name of your brother?
    A: I don’t have any brother.
  5. Q: When do you intend to travel?
    A: 11th Oct.

They hand over the white form 221g but keep passports with them.

Problem (as analysed by person himself and attorney): In this case, this person forgot to tell one of his address that he lived in USA to VO officer. VO did not tell this to the person but instead, just issued a form 221(g) with no documents to submit.

White Form 221(g) – No Documents to Submit

US embassy form 221g white
US embassy form 221g white issued by US embassy in New Delhi

Form 221g may be issued even if there are no extra documents required from you. Usually, the documents list is printed by default and the visa officer will cross it down.

Form 221(g) Solution by Attorney

Attorney and person went through the full transcript of the interview (as written above) and concluded that VO probably had doubts on person’s identity since he forgot to mention all his US addresses clearly.

The Attorney in USA then sent an email to USCIS premium service email directly with clarification on the address that the person forgot to tell the Visa Officer.

The is the the real email that was sent. I must say that attorney was really smart in this case and took fast decision and really helped the candidate.


Attorney response to USCIS premium email for white slip Form 221g
Attorney response to USCIS premium email for white slip Form 221g

The US Embassy was satisfied and they cleared the ‘Administrative processing’ within a week. The person had his H1B visa approved in 7 straight days including weekends.

A smart attorney can really take you far!

Is there risk of Form 221g issue in Canada/Mexico?

You can get admin processing form 221g issued in Canada or Mexico too. The risk of form 221g delay is always high if your paperwork is not complete.

What is Form 221g processing time in India?

Form 221g processing time varies between 7 days to 6 months. If the form 221(g) is issued with request to submit more documents, you can expect to wait form ore than 8 weeks. If there are no documents requested, then you can expect your US visa approval in 7-30 working days.

Can I get Passport for Travel while Form 221g Admin processing is pending ?

You can request to get your passport while US embassy is doing their internal admin processing. Once US embassy has cleared your case, they will send an email to submit passport again.

H1B Form 221g in Canada or Mexico

If the visa officer is not satisfied with your answers or you are working in an EVC (Employer Vendor Client model) with H1B visa, the chances are high for request for more documents.

You will have to stay back in Mexico or Canada if your case gets into Admin processing. It may take 7-14 days to get your passport with stamped US visa.

You should not book your travel tickets with fixed dates if you do get form 221g as there are no fixed timelines.

Passport Returned by Visa Officer

If your passport has been returned by US visa officer after interview and a form 221g was issued, then the chances are very high that your case processing will take at-least 6 or more weeks.

You will get an email to submit the passport again as and when the US embassy is ready to stamp your US visa. Once you submit the passport again, you can expect to get stamped passport back in 7-14 days.

It is important to keep a buffer of at-least 3 weeks after US visa interview these days if you are going for visa interview especially H1B and L1 visas.

H4 Visa Approved, H1B still Admin Processing

It is also possible that with no Form 221 (g) was issued and Visa officer told you ‘Visa Approved‘.

Your dependent’s H4 gets approved but your own H1B visa status shows as ‘Administrative Processing‘ online.

This generally happens when US embassy is just verifying primary H1B’s credentials a little bit more or have sent H1B’s application to USCIS to confirm some more information.
One of them could be ‘Work Location‘.

No need to worry, you will get your H1B approved.
Remember, H4 cannot exist without H1B. If H4 has already been approved, your H1B approval is also on the way. Just a couple of more days to wait.

Reasons for Form 221g

There can any number of reasons for issuing form 221g by US embassy and some can be really un-heard of.

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.

We will add more form 221g reasons here as and when we hear.

Why Identity / Security Checks with Form 221(g) are done?

Identity checks are done by US embassy to get US government security clearance on the person before the visa is issued. You cannot expedite the security check process as the State Department (through the Embassies) takes its security obligations quite seriously.

We have found that once someone supplies the missing or corrected information, the security clearances can take 1 to 8 weeks, and unfortunately, the government shut down does delay these clearances.

The State Department do not have any specific time limitations to give security clearances.

Sometimes, these clearances are requested just because someone with a name similar to ABC’s name is on a watch list of individuals who committed a crime – and then the Embassy must be sure it can clearly determine that ABC is NOT that person.

USA Work in USA - H1B, L Visa

Recent discussion on forum

  1. Harish779

    Hi Anil,

    I had my Interview for F1 to H1B visa stamping on April 12th at Hyderabad Location and visa officer asked basic questions, she then told me I didn’t need to submit any documents and I will be getting my passport with in 3-5 business days and I was issued a small White 221g Slip. Its been more than 5 weeks and this is 6th week and here is my Case details.

    April 12: Interview
    April 15 -23 : Administrative Processing
    April 23: Application Received
    April 30: Application Received
    May 1: Administrative Processing

    No update after May 1st. So how long would it possibly take to get next update to my case as it almost 6th week?.

  2. thatguy7

    Hi @Anil.Gupta need your valuable comments on my case, my extension got denied and I traveled back to India, got the new I-129 approved through consular processing through a Big US based company for 3 years- full time employee, I was asked to do dropbox and after that I was asked to appear in-person for interview(alone with spouse’s passport) with some documents to be mailed in advance(new petition docs and proof that I was in legal stay while I waited for h1 ext. appoval) to be mailed (221g blue slip)
    Appeared for interview on 16th May, VO didn’t asked any questions related to employment just asked to show my previous h1 ext. receipt on which I waited and asked new h1 filed receipt and exact date of filing, I didn’t had the new h1 receipt and showed the new I797 and told approx date of filing as I couldn’t remember as my attorney’s filed that.

    VO gave 221g blue slip and told we don’t need any docs for now and need to do admin processing
    VO kept the passports (mine and my wife’s)
    Gave a case number and said you can mail if you want to track
    My case is still in admin processing (its 7 working days now)

    1. Wanted to get your comments on the same when I can expect the update on the same and if it’s usual or fine?
    2. My attorney’s said in cases like mine admin processing is common and no need to worry just wait and we don’t need to send anything

    Should we need to mail something or just need to wait, case shows admin processing with the date as 16th may- day of interview?

  3. kumuda_chowdary

    Hi @Anil.Gupta

    I attended the interview on aprl 9th and got blueslip and returned my passport asking for additional document of petitioner tax filing for two years and my employer submitted the documents on same day of my interview.

    last updated date was aprl 17th and till then i dont have any update and it is still under ap and it is almost like 60days.

    How long it takes to approve?

  4. Harish779

    Hi Anil,
    It was about some fine I paid in 2013 for not mentioning food items clearly.

  5. Subhash_Polineni

    Hi Anil,

    I have gone through am22tech website and you have given your valuable suggestions to all the people. Looks like your suggestions will be very helpful to me.

    I am also on the same boat who recently attended the H1 stamping in Mumbai Consulate on July 26th 2019. I carried all the documents but the VO did not ask my any documents except marriage certificate. And finally she gave me 221g (yellow slip) and blue slip to my wife.

    I have sent all documents requested the following day and when I check the status its showing the application is under AP and the case created on July 25th 2019 and case updated on July 26th 2019.

    I have again checked the status on August 10th 2019, its showing the application is under AP and the case was created on July 25th 2019 and case was updated on Aug 9th 2019.

    So looks like they started processing the application. We are curious to know how long it gonna take to hear from them. Need your advise. Is there any way to expedite this??

Comments are closed. Ask question on Forum (we answer in 1-24 hour)

109 more replies

  392 Useful Questions & Answers

  1. Roshan Pranay
    Roshan Pranay 6 Jan, 20 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Anil,

    This is Roshan. I recently travelled to India for my sister’s wedding. I went to the consulate to get H1B Visa stamped on passport. They issued 221g and returned my passport. Asking for full project description, recent end client letter and 2017 and 2018 corporate tax returns of the client.

    The client is not willing to share the tax returns. What are my options now? How should I approach this case?

  2. JD
    JD 23 Dec, 19 at 2:23 pm

    Hi – I went for my H1B interview at Calgary consulate on Nov 27 and visa officer said Visa is approved. No slip was issued. It is dec 23 today so almost a month and my status is still in AP…. i see people say that when no slip was issued and no docs were asked for, you will get visa in 7-10 days but not sure what is happening with my case..

  3. Vinay Singh
    Vinay Singh 23 Dec, 19 at 2:23 pm

    HI Anil
    I appeared for L1A blanket visa interview on 19th Dec,2020 at Chennai with my dependent family of 3(Wife and 2 kids). My interview went on for 4 mins, out of which officer went out from his cabin for 2 mins. Finally, he said that your visa is approved and keep the I129S safe else bad things will happen. He kept all 4 passports with him as well and 1 copy of I129S and returned me 2 copies of I129S with stamp and visa end date in 2022.

    Later in evening when i checked the status on ceacstattracker, it showed that case is currently going under Administrative Processing and it will take few weeks. Case created date is 17-Dec-2019 which was 2 days prior to my visa interview and the last updated date is 19-Dec-2019 which was my visa interview date. Also, i was not asked for any documents ,no form 221G was given, and no email has come from consulate since then. Can you please help me make some sense out of it ? This is the same status for all 4 of our passports / Application Id. My guess is probably he saw something in my profile and went out for 2 mins to get more clarity. After coming back, he just asked when are you planning to go to the US and approved my visa.

  4. Vishal Tiwary
    Vishal Tiwary 16 Dec, 19 at 2:37 pm

    I got my passport (H1b) after visa interview but for my wife h4 it is showing passport is still with embassy … what can be wrong?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 16 Dec, 19 at 2:37 pm

      I do not think anything is wrong. You should be able to get H4 stamped passport sooner or later. Just have some patience unless H4 is issued a form 221g.

  5. Sarath
    Sarath 16 Dec, 19 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Anil ,
    I am currently on an F1 visa with valid status . I work for Indian consulate , recently they offered me A2 diplomatic visa . I submitted the documents and attend interview at US embassy in Canada . The visa officer didn’t ask me anything during interview. He instead ask me to come back after 4 days to collect the passport. Later in the evening I received a email stating that the Consular Officer has determined that your case is subject to additional administrative processing, under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (INA). We cannot proceed further with your application until this administrative processing is complete.

    Can you please give me any advice or suggestions if you knew about this situation. Also I want to know if I can travel back to US with my valid F1 visa . I really appreciate if you have any advice.

    MANPREET KAUR 16 Dec, 19 at 2:38 pm

    Hii Anil, actually i had my interview today. The officer said that my us visa has been approved but he did not give me any approval letter. What could it then mean?

  7. Arvind Ramesh
    Arvind Ramesh 20 Jul, 19 at 1:43 am

    Hey Anil,
    I had my F-1 Visa interview on 18th July, 2019 at the New Delhi Consulate. The interview went pretty much fair, but in the end I was handed over the Yellow 221g sheet with the details crossed out. The interviewer even took my passport. Later on the same day, I received an email from
    the consulate requesting additional documents, which I did on the same day itself. I would also like to point out that earlier in 2019, I had applied for a B1 Visa to present at and attend a conference, and had to go through a similar processing before eventual approval after about 6 weeks. Now I am really worried as if it takes that much time I will be late for my college term which starts in about 3 weeks. Is there a chance of my approval getting expedited considering that the processing occurred so recently? More importantly, I wrote a similar kind of email to the Embassy help desk, and thet responded by informing that the passport is on its way back to me. However, when I did receive it, it had not Visa stamp on it, but with an instruction sheet asking for documents, exactly like the Email I received.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 20 Jul, 19 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Arvind,
      I have added your question here and replied too. You can ask follow up questions on the link itself.