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Administrative Processing (221(g)) at the US Embassy in London

According to official statistics, 98,951non-immigrant visas were issued last year to applicants at the US Embassy in London, and an additional 6,073 at the US Consulate in Belfast. Nonetheless, at least some of these successful applications, as well as some additional applicants who were not successful in obtaining a US visa, were informed that their cases must be administratively processed under Section 212(g). This article explains what a 212(g) administrative processing means, why some individuals are successful in obtaining a US visa whereas others are not, and how to check the status of a case which is being processed under this section of the law.

What is administrative processing 221(g)?

Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that a consular officer must not issue a visa when the applicant appears to be ineligible to receive the visa applied for; the application does not meet INA or regulations requirements; the consular officer "knows or has reason to believe" that the applicant is ineligible to receive a visa (for example, because of drug use, although many other grounds exist); or where additional investigations are needed in order to determine the applicant's admissibility to the USA (for example, if a person has a common name which is shared by individuals who may have criminal histories, additional checks are needed to ensure that the applicant does not have anything in his or her past which could bar them from entering the USA).

If a person's case is subject to administrative processing, he or she should receive written notice to this effect at the end of the visa interview. A 221(g) finding counts as a visa denial and the applicant would have to declare that he/she has previously been denied a visa to the US in any future US immigration questionnaire or interviews seeking this information. You can read more about this issue in an earlier article.

Successful and unsuccessful visa applicants subject to administrative processing 221(g)

Because the 221(g) administrative processing can be required for a wide array of reasons from simple cases of missing documents to serious concerns such as security, the checks needed range widely in the time they take to complete and in their complexity.

An applicant who is simply required to produce missing documents such as financial documents may well be issued the visa right away after satisfactorily providing the items. At the other end of the spectrum, individuals who are investigated for possible criminal histories or security concerns may face a lengthy wait period and, if the concerns are substantiated, the US visa may well be denied.

Checking a 221(g) administrative processing case status

Applicants can check the status of their cases subject to 221(g) administrative processing online at:

On the right hand side of the embassy or consulate web page, under "Case status check", applicants can access a link displaying various case numbers and the status of each case. To check the status of their case, an applicant must have his or her "batch number". This can be found at the top of the letter received from the consular officer.

The embassy and consulate web sites provide further details on how to read the case status report. Applicants are advised that their cases may take 90 days to process, although they could take less time and, in some cases, they could take considerably longer to resolve.

The American Immigration Law Office handles a wide range of immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications and the firm's US immigration lawyer in London would be delighted to assist you with your immigration matter.