f1 visa administrative processing

Are you stuck in F1 Visa Administrative Processing?

It’s difficult to deal with Administrative Processing for sure. Let me give some examples of how others have dealt the F1 Visa Administrative Processing and what you can do about it.

Remember this:

Administrative Processing can happen even after the F1 Visa is approved (see below).

What’s Covered in This Article:

  • Two Types of Administrative Processing
  • Administrative Processing Cases
  • Reasons for Administrative Processing
  • Processing Time for 221g
  • Possible Outcomes

Two Types of Administrative Processing

  1. F1 Visa Approved. Visa yet to be Printed
  2. Pending Document or Information

After the Visa Officer says that your US Visa is approved, and before the Visa stamp is printed on your passport, your case could show Administrative Processing. This is a standard process. The applicant would see the status change from Administrative Processing to Issued in few days.

F1 Visa Administrative Processing due to pending information or documents will cause delays. When this happens, there will be uncertainty and delays.

f1 visa administrative processing

Source: Visa Status explanation from the US Embassy in Japan. And waiting time will be frustrating while your Visa application is undergoing the necessary Administrative Processing under the section – 221(g).

F1 Visa Administrative Processing After Approval

Visa Officer approved the F1 Visa during the interview. After two weeks the case was put on Administrative Processing.

Heer is an example, where VisaF1 Visa approval, followed by shocking news of Administrative processing.

I had my F1 Visa interview on the First Week of August.

During the F1 interview, only general questions were asked during the F1 interview, and at the end of the interview, the Visa officer said your F1 visa is approved and you will receive the passport with visa stamp it in a week.

I waited for more than two weeks. There was no update from the US Embassy. So, I contacted the U.S Embassy yesterday and they said the following: Unfortunately your F1 Visa is under Administrative Processing and may take couple of weeks to process. We will contact you as soon as your F1 Visa is processed. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I was shocked to hear this. Because at the time of F1 Visa interview I was not given any Administrative Processing 221(g) form nor the Visa Officer mentioned anything about administrative processing. My classes start soon and I am worried that whether I will receive my passport on time.

Am I the only one with such case ? And whether people with such cases got their visa ?

In the above case, the application went into administrative processing without 221g form being issued during the visa interview. So, when does the application go to Administrative Processing?

  • During the Visa Interview
  • After the Visa Interview

During the F1 Visa Interview, Visa officer could hand the Administrative Processing form. they could be asking for the student to submit additional documents. And there will be an instance, they don’t additional documents, but they want to check for more background information about the applicant.

After the visa interview, the F1 visa application can be out under Administrative Processing as well.

What can you do about it?

Nothing. You have to stay patient and let the Administration Processing run through its course.

Reasons for F1 Visa 221(g)

Most common reasons for F1 US visa applicants undergoing Administrative Processing is if their area of study matches the TAL (Technical Alert List).

For instance, a student applying for study Biotechnology, Robotics, Rocket Systems, Nuclear Engineering, etc would require the US Department of State to check the types of research or studies you would be doing.

Speaking of Robotics, read this interview – 221g Issued F1 Visa due to Robotics Major.

I can think of other reasons as follows:

  • Validate the Information you gave during the interview
  • Perform additional background verification
  • Get additional information about the nature of your course and research

And there can be many more reasons. The Administrative Processing is like a Black Hole. Submit the required documentation and then wait.

Here is a Student Visa interview, that shows that 221g can be issued for reasons that are not obvious.

I have attended F1 visa Interview on 8th July at Hyderabad Consulate and my application is still under 221g administrative processing. My Visa interview went on for only a few seconds like this:

VO: Why are you going to the US?
ME: I am going to do my Masters in Electrical Engg at XXX University.
VO: What is your area of Interest?
ME: My area of interest is Power Systems and Power Electronics.
VO: Do you have any backlogs?
ME: I do not have any backlogs.
Then VO checked something on the system and written some code on my application, handed over the passport to me and asked me to go to a different counter.
I went to that counter, there I was given a white sheet to fill up and submit. I filled up the sheet and submitted along with my passport, I-20 and admission letter, then they asked me to submit my resume through e-mail to their ID. I submitted the same.
It’s been 20 days that I have attended my interview, will I get the visa? It hardly took 30 seconds for my interview, how could a person judge me within this time frame?

Yes! Just wait patiently.

Processing Time for Administrative Processing

There is no set time limit for the Consulate to resolve the Administrative Processing.

Once the Consulate has put the case under Administrative Processing, and after you have submitted the required documentation, the case might go to a central processing center for future checks. If that happens, there could be a delay in hearing the results.

If the Consulate is validating the information within the COnsulate, then you may hear back sooner.

I applied to Florida State University for MS Nutritional Science. My visa got approved on August 11, but was not sanctioned as I did my graduation in Biochemistry which is a subject that comes under the TAL  subjects to be verified and rechecked under section 221(g).

The last date mentioned on I-20 is Aug 28th, after which the entry in the US shall be denied and admission stands canceled. Its already 24th August and still my case is lying pending under administrative checking.

I have no clue where is my fault in all this and whom shall I contact under the present circumstances? The university authorities have clearly stated that the first day of attendance at FSU is compulsory, failing to attend the classes shall automatically cancel the admission. Can you please suggest me what should I do?

There is no set time for the Consulate to clear the processing. It’s hard to say if the visa application will be resolved in 2 days or 2 months or 1 year.

Possible Outcomes – Rejected or Issued

Majority of  F1 Visa Administrative Processing cases are approved.

It’s possible for  F1 visa application to be rejected after Administrative Processing.

You really can’t compare apple to apple when it comes to Visa application.

When I appeared for the F1 visa at Chennai consulate, even I was issued a 221g. Now it has been about a year since I am in the US doing my Ph.D. They will normally issue the visa. But it will take time- more than 4 weeks-in my case. So don’t worry or panic, it is going to be alright.

The outcomes of the 221g processing depend on your profile,  background (personal and academic).

221g on f1 visa

Related Articles: F1 Visa and Administrative Processing


  1. Jaishree R on October 23, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    Hi ,

    I got my F1 visa approved in 2014. But I couldn’t go to US due to some unfortunate situations Now I am applying for F1 visa for a different University and different course.Kindly guide me on this .

    • Raghuram Sukumar on October 23, 2018 at 10:19 AM

      Please take a look at F1 Visa Free training (delivered via email and webinar).

  2. Aakash on July 4, 2015 at 11:17 PM

    We have applied for k1 visa and I just gave my interview in new Delhi embassy ,
    We had traditionally marriage ceremony in temple in india , I wrote it for them as they told me to write it ,
    After this interview she gave my passport back and with a slip where there was written ” please bear with us while u undergo mandatory aadministrative process . They wI’ll contact me when the process will be completed”
    I don’t know what’s going on ?
    How wI’ll get visa ? I know I am temporarily not eligible .
    Is there anyone have same problem!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 11, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Refer to 221(g) section in the blog.

  3. Ankur on June 19, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    Hi! Can you contact me regarding what happened in your case ?

  4. Atif on May 26, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    So when did u get back ur passport?? Reply soon..mine is also same case..

    • Ankur on June 18, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      Hi! Can you contact me regarding what happened in your case ? Have you got your passport ?

      • atif on June 22, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        Heyy..i got my passport after 2 days bcoz of holidays in consulate..

  5. skeedy on December 22, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    I attended F1 visa in December 6th and everything went well, I was told by the VO that further administrative process is required he said it might take one week up to six weeks, on ma I-20 it says that I should report to the school no later than January 3rd
    my question is : is it possible to receive my visa this week ? it is really frustrating to be waiting like this

  6. Mohammad Kazi on November 26, 2012 at 5:03 AM

    I had appeared for an H1B Visa interview on the 15th of October in Mumbai, where I was handed over the yellow form under section 221g stating that my application requires additional administrative processing.
    They did not take any of my documents during the interview, and I was told to monitor the status of my application online on their website and was asked to submit my documents (passport, i797) via the staney office when my CEAC number shows up on their site. I was also told that once I submit my docs, my application will be processed within 3-5 days after that.
    My number came up on the website on the 7th of November, and I sent my documents to the Mumbai consulate via the Hyderabad Team Stanley office the very next day. I havent heard back from the embassy officials since then. I was under the assumption that once the admin processing completes successfully, then the further formalities shouldnt take a lot of time.
    Can anyone tell me what I should be doing now, and what is the approx wait time between submission of docs and getting the visa for section 221g cases post admin-processing? I am really getting worried now πŸ™
    Thanks in advance,
    Mohammad Kazi.

  7. Mirah on August 15, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Hi!me,my sister and my father interviewed last July 19,2012 under F1-unmarried sons/daughters of US citizens.My father was given 221g form requesting for another affidavit of support(because we only have one affidavit of support).My father already mailed the documents last Aug.2,2012 and when we checked the 2GO e-trace we see that it is already receive by MANUEL MANALAYSAY(one of the consul in US Embassy).
    Now,my question is how long we will wait to have our visa? Is it 1 to 2 weeks ?

    PS;US Embassy took our passports.

  8. dhanniartist on July 4, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    I am on a h-4 visa and have stayed in US for a year and I applied and got into masters program. I had to come to my home country on a emergency family situation and I am supposed to do my f-1 visa stamping at the consulate here. If in a case I get my f-1 visa stamped now and then decide to defer my admission by a year, will I be able to defer it? Also, will I have to give the visa interview again?

  9. charles alale on April 19, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    I got my f1 visa last year but defer my admission to fall 2012 and the my school defer my admission to fall 2012 and send me a new I 20 letter but what I notics is that it has a new sevis number which his different from the sevis number on my F1 visa .please I need an advice cos I mail the school inrespect to the different but was told that it doesn’t matter at all.

  10. Jk prez on November 13, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Good, very good, you got visa, go ahead, all the best

  11. Jk prez on November 13, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    First it was not visa approval but visa consideration, hence nothing shocking, visa approval means when you have passport with visa sticker stamp in it, all other matters/points means visa
    under consideration

  12. khandoe on November 2, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    hi i got my i-20 but didn’t got scholarship.i have funds only frm my family.will it be a obstacle for my coming interview????/

  13. samanta on October 31, 2011 at 5:12 AM

    i was refused d f-1 visa cause i was told no strong family ties to home my country,i want to reapply again as my semester is in january,any advice before i go?

  14. samanta on October 31, 2011 at 5:10 AM

    i didnt get my visa cause i was told no strong family ties with my home country,i want to apply again as my semester is in spring i need your advice as to how to arrange my documents.thnx

  15. Dzudzor on October 24, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    My name is Patrick Randy Dzudzor i am a Ghanaian by birth,i will be going for my f-1 visa interview in december but my my uncle who is my sponser is not in the country now to give me another satatement of account.Can you please tell me if it can be possible for me to use the one he gave me in july since i have deffed my fall admssion to spring.Thanks

  16. ahmed on October 22, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Sorry for updating late ! didn’t knew when my email was posted !
    I got my Visa last week ! πŸ˜€ (After a long wait of 2 nd 1/2 months)
    Had deferred my admission to spring semester and already got my I-20 ! πŸ˜€
    Booked my ticket for 5th December 2011 ! πŸ˜€
    Thank you HSB for posting my email ! πŸ™‚
    And thank you all for your comforting comments ! πŸ™‚

  17. Sanjeev on October 20, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    Don’t worry. You will get your visa. This happened to me and i got my visa on time.

    • ahmed on October 22, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      Thanx ! Got my Visa ! πŸ™‚

      • Sahil on January 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        Hello Sanjeev & Ahmed,

        I had my Visa Interview on 20th January, and VO asked just 3-4 quest:(why this uni., who is sponsoring you and your educational background).

        She dint give me any slip or case number & VO told me to collect your passport in 5 days but still i am awaiting my passport.

        How long should i wait and how to go ahead now.
        Please advice urgently πŸ™

        • Mohamed Shoaib Khan on February 27, 2012 at 9:06 PM

          Hello sahil,

          Did you get the Visa. In my case the VO gave me a slip with my case number. already 100 days got over & I’m still waiting for the visa. Pls reply. Thanks in advance. Bye.

          • Sahil on February 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM

            Hello Mohamed Shoaib Khan,

            Unfortunately, i was denied Visa in second time Re-Interview, though in first instance my Visa had got approved as it was written on Interview Appointment Letter.
            I have no clue why they denied during the second time and why i was called for Re-Interview, as they had not asked for any document in first interview.

            But your case appears to be different as your case is in administrative process. I have read comments of guys here on HSB, who had got VISA after months.
            So be positive and good luck πŸ™‚

          • Mohamed Shoaib Khan on July 5, 2012 at 1:21 AM

            Hello Sahil,
            Hope you are fine.

          • Sahil on February 28, 2012 at 11:55 AM

            Hello Mohamed Shoaib,

            Unfortunately my Visa got denied in Re-Interview, which they had asked for me to appear after 10 days.

            I have no idea, why they rejected on second time and why i was called for Re-Interview, as during first time, they had not asked for a single document.

            But your case appears to be different, as your case is in administrative process, and i have seen guys comment that they got their visa after couple of months.
            So, be positive and good luck bro. You will get your visa πŸ™‚

          • Mohamed Shoaib Khan on July 5, 2012 at 1:20 AM

            Hello Sahil,

            Its almost 7 1/2 months still visa status is pending process.
            what is the status of your case?
            which consulate did you applied for the visa?

          • Sahil on July 6, 2012 at 3:31 PM

            Hello bro,

            I had got visa rejected at that time itself in the re-interview and i had applied at Delhi

          • Mohamed Shoaib Khan on July 7, 2012 at 2:22 AM

            oh, so have you applied again.

  18. Jk prez on October 18, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Yes, it happens, it is not shocking, keep us up dated

    • ahmed on October 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

      Got my Visa ! πŸ™‚

  19. Tejas on October 17, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    whats shocking in that?

  20. avinash on October 17, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Even though you receive your Visa after the date on I20(its reporting date not expiration date) you can still attend school if the delay is for few weeks as you can call ur school and ask them. if they say you can come n register for classes that semester then go ahead.

    But I you wait for another semester, You need a new I 20 from the same school because of your sevis. then If you take more than 6months from VISA issuance date to ateend the school you need a new VISA. look at the embassy website or search for F1 visa on happyschoolsblog
    Dont worry everthings for Good

    • HSB on October 17, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Correction – For same university, you don’t need new visa stamping again. Defer you admit, get new I-20 and travel with already stamped visa.

      • ahmed on October 22, 2011 at 8:29 PM

        Thanx for ur info !

  21. Kiran on October 17, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Same thing happened to me. Will be going next year instead. Sucks that you have to go through it. When the same happened to me I was traumatized. But I am better now. Trying to make the most of my Gap year πŸ™‚

    • ahmed on October 22, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      Thank you very much for your convincing words ! πŸ™‚
      Got my Visa last week ! πŸ˜€
      Had deferred my admission to spring !
      Fortunately had to wait only for 5 months ! Now 1 nd 1/2 month left ! πŸ˜€
      Hope ur time flies ! πŸ™‚

      • Ayat on May 5, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        What it takes from you to re-new the I-20 approval, after getting F1 Visa… I was interviewed on Apr/16/2013 and paid the Sevis on Apr/17, and now my study course will begin on May/20/2013, and I still haven’t received my visa. I contacted the US Embassy and said they will contact me once process finished. I don’t know what to do if I receive the visa later on May/20… is this going to cost me troubles at the airport in the US, or this is polite way to say they refused me after two interviews… cause I know the VO won’t be afraid to refuse me meanwhile the interview is going. He literally said your visa is APPROVED and hand me a yellow paper to send my passport when the embassy will contact me or I check online to see my visa status.. I’m really worried I only have like 14 days and should be for my language course very very soon. πŸ™

  22. ruth on October 17, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    Hi,am on H4 visa am hoping to change my visa to F1 ,do you think its wise?our perm was approved 2008,still waiting whats your advice

    • HSB on October 17, 2011 at 8:34 AM

      Go for it. Higher degree always helps.

      • ruth on October 17, 2011 at 12:05 PM


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