Basic Categories

221(g) can be broadly classified into four categories, based on the kind of additional processing needed:

1. Administrative Processing – 221(g) is given in this category when visa officer wants to check something in your background. The case is sent to an agency in Washington, D.C. for further handling to establish the applicants eligibility for the visa. A clearance by this department or agency is required for issuing the visa. Usually the consulate mentions to the candidate that they are sending the case for administrative processing when they give them 221(g) in this category. Name Checks, Security Review, TAL etc, fall in this category.

Standard Statement on 221(g) letter: Your application for a non-immigrant visa has not been refused. At present, your application must be suspended under section 221g of the immigration and nationality Act. Embassy xxxxxx will resume action on your application after we are informed that this review is completed. Please be advised, however, we do not control the pace or scope of this review.

  • Administrative processing “

Once the application in held under this category the some of the following steps usually happen:

  1. Extensive Name Check – For common name hits that occur at the consulate further investigation is carried out to ensure the identity of the individual
  2. Finger Prints Investigation- Finger prints taken at the interview are forwarded to FBI for cross checking against records
  3. Condor Checks: This happens to check on the following items
    1. Travel to predominantly Muslim countries
    2. Prior foreign military service in certain countries
    3. Prior employment in sensitive sectors
    4. Specialized training that may have military, intelligence or security implications
    5. Birth or residency in certain countries
  4. Mantis Check – Conducted on individuals involved in one of the 15 fields in critical fields list on the Department of State Technology Alert List
  5. NCIC (National Crime Information Center) Lookup: For checking on any previous criminal records
  6. Consulate Consolidated Database (CCD) check – for all previous applications and records with US consulates
  7. Checking in any of the alert systems: IBIS (Interagency Border Inspection System), NIIS (Non-Immigrant Information System), CLASS (Consular Lookout and Support System), TIPOFF (Classified DOS Bureau of Intelligence database), NAILS (National Automated Immigration Lookout System), TECS II (Treasury Enforcement and Communucation System), TSC and TTIC databases (DOS Terrorist Screening system)

Further information about administrative processing, processing times and issues can be found on:;topic=267544.0;attach=725104

2. Further Consulate Review – 221(g) of this type is issued when the visa officer wants to further investigate your application file. The case is held at the consulate for additional time to carry out this investigation. The consulate officer gives 221(g) in this category as supporting documentation or information to clear these cases is not immediately accessible, so they put the visa on hold at the consulate till that missing piece is available. It also can happen when your case is being more closely scrutinized for accuracy. They mention to the candidate that everything is fine with their application but the consulate needs more time to process the application.

Sample Statement on 221(g) letter: “Your application for a non immigrant visa has been placed in our pending category. Per section 221(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act further documentation or processing is needed before we can make a final determination on your case.

____When the processing is complete on your case, someone from the consulate section will notify you and ask you to return the Consulate General on any workday”

Usually in these cases the resolution time is quicker as the the case is being verified by the consulate itself unless it is further reclassified into other categories of 221(g).

3. Missing information or documentation: When the visa office discovers that the applicants file is missing some document or information, the individual is given a sheet of missing documents and informed that their application is suspended under 221(g) until the documents are submitted. The applicant has a time period depending on the consulate to submit the missing document. Upon submission the case is reconsidered.

Sample Statement on 221(g) letter: “Further action in your case has been suspended under Section 221(g) of the United States Immigration and Nationlity Act, pending the receipt and review of the information and documents below”

Submit the requested documents as soon as possible.

4. Employee Employer Relationship(EVC/EC Model) – This applies to H1B holders only. The visa officers has concerns with the nature of employment so 221(g) is issued. The case is sent back to USCIS as the consulate sees mismatches with information within the PIMS (Petition Information Management System) conflicting either the employee-employer relation or issue with one of the companies in the relation. The USCIS needs to check and validate the employee relation is genuine and the companies are not under scrutiny for any violations. In a employer vendor client (EVC) model or employer client (EC) model if the candidate is missing essential documentation (such as Client Letter) or provides mismatching information the consulate sends the cases back to USCIS to verify the initially approved application. If the USCIS reaffirms the approved visa application the consulate can either accept that decision or invite the candidate for another interview to further clarify any questions regarding the application.

Sample Statement on 221(g) letter: “Your case has been suspended under section 221(g) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. We have returned your application and petition to United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).”

The application is forwarded to USCIS with a memorandum explaining the case as presented at the time of the interview. The consulate does not handle the case any further until a clearance is obtained from USCIS.

The guidelines used for determining are mentioned in the USCIS link below and the validity of employee employer relation guidelines in a USCIS memo (Use it in preparing your application and interview)


The following are the next steps that take place

  • Petition is returned to the United States by the interviewing consulate for “further review” in what is called a diplomatic pouch.
  • Returned petition is received by the NVC. It is reviewed and entered into the fraud database by fraud management.
  • Returned petition is sent to the local USCIS service center where the petition was originally filed and approved.
  • Local service center receives returned petition.
  • Local service center who processed the original petition sends a notice of receipt to the petitioner.
  • Local service center reviews the returned petition and consular officer notes on the case.
  • Local service center then sends either a NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) or NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) to the petitioner also asking for more proof of the relationship, many cases have specific consular objections to rebut.
  • Petitioner is given 30-60 days from date of NOIR/NOID (depending on the service center) to respond with additional evidence of the relationship or other specific evidence. The timeframe to respond will be provided in the letter.
  • Local service center receives evidence…if in the timeframe given (30-60 days) the case is reviewed and either original approval is reaffirmed or the petition is officially denied.
  • If the petition is denied the local service center sends the petitioner an ‘official’ denial letter. This can be officially appealed if the denial letter states such.
  • If the petition is reaffirmed the local service center sends the petitioner an official notice of reaffirmation.
  • Local service center sends the reaffirmed petition AND its evidence provided in the rebuttal directly to the consulate along with a recommendation to issue a visa.
  • Consulate notifies the beneficiary of a new interview date.
  • Beneficiary has interview for the reaffirmed petition and the visa is either issued, or the case in placed in Administrative Processing which after cleared a visa is issued, or worst case scenario it is denied via Section 221(g) and returned again to the USCIS with a recommendation for revocation.


 Coloring Schemes

The U.S. consulate hands out a colored paper to the applicant they give 221 (g). The meaning of the color scheme varies according to the consulate and indicates different types of actions or information needed to clear the 221(g) status. In general though color schemes do not give enough information about what is needed to clear 221(g).

Some information on the nature of color coding can be found on the website:

There are some common recurring reasons as stated by the consulates to why 221(g) was issued. So here is a list of usual reasons the consulate officer gives an applicant 221 (g) with the most probable color.

1. Name check, background check (Blue, Yellow a Green)

An applicant is put under administrative processing in this category

  • If there is a name hit with the database. Common last names sometimes can be the reason for this and the consulate forwards the case to an agency to clear or establish the applicant’s identity.
  • If the applicant overstayed a previous stay in US or violated the rules of a previous visa. This includes individuals who went out of status for a short term due to an expired visa while a new visa a filed.
  • Some common religious last names
  • The employee educational background does not match with the job description or employee does not have qualifications for the job

2. Security review, background check (Blue)

This is given to an applicant when:

  • There is name hit in the security database
  • Admissibility issues due to security, legal or criminal concerns (such as pending traffic tickets, guilty ruling in a criminal offense etc)
  • Previous relation or visit to a unfriendly country
  • Work background in restricted technology areas on the Technology Alert List
  • Suspicion of document forgery

3. Application needs additional information (Pink, White)

The application is put on hold through 221 (g) and additional information is requested when

  • Vital information is missing from the application
  • The information provided during the interview conflicts with the information provided on the application
  • Not enough information to establish that the visa can be granted
  • Validating host – sponsoring company, university, relation
  • Not enough information or supporting documents from employer

4. Not enough Supporting documentation  (Green, Yellow)

Additional documentation is requested through a 221(g) when:

  • Additional documents to ascertain the legitimacy of the application beyond the primary proof (marriage certificate for H4, employment letter for H1, admission letter for F1, supporting letter for visitor etc.) to establish the need for the visa
  • Financial information to establish supportability – bank statements, tax filings, payments
  • To ensure the correct credentials – the job profile matches the educational background, the business credentials qualify for B1 etc.,
  • Unclear relationship- employee-employer (EVC model), family, relationship with a sponsor etc.,

5. Document and information validation (Yellow)

In cases where the documentation provided is not able to be verified immediately the consulate issues 221 (g) until the supporting documents can be checked. This might include:

  •  Calling the organization (School, University, Company, Financial institution) that issued the document
  • Using an agency or third party of verify the documentation
  • Request to provide further documentation

6. EVC Model, Employee-employer relation (Green, Yellow, Pink, Blue)

Usually issued when the applicant is working at a vendor other than the employer. The following are the reasons:

  • The application is sent to USCIS for verifying the eligibility of the candidate
  • The employee-employer relation not properly established
  • Job duties have changed significantly with the vendor and no amended petition was filed
  • Not enough information about the vendor or the client
  • Job profile does not match with employee background

7. Verifying legitimacy of the candidate for the visa type (Pink, Blue, Yellow)

Sometimes when the consulate feels the candidate may not be fit for the visa applied they issue 221 (g) to ascertain the eligibility. This applies when:

  • Applicant does not seem to have qualification for the visa type
  • Suspicion the applicant would not leave US after the visa period

138 Responses to Categories

  1. syed shabi says:

    hi my Mom Dad had Interview at embassy the interview was smooth nd fine counsler asked my father about job nd then asked my dad About Cv but he did not took along with counslergave dad white paper and asked please Send ur CV on mailing address asp my case in under section 221 g:requires additional administrative processing….but i dont understand wht CV means is it cirriculam viate or some other thing plz help me

    • Padmanathan says:


      I applied for in-law B1 and B2 visa and my in-laws also got the same and the consulate has asked to send the Resume for my in-laws.

      1) Did you send resume for your mother and father?
      2) What is the status of the Visa.
      3) How long it took for the approval after the document is submitted.
      4) Can you send me the resume format to my mailing address(

    • Vivek says:

      It is “curriculam vitae” or “Resume”

  2. Naveen says:

    They rejected my visa, put my case under 221 G and told me that they need time to review the case and therefore your case has been put under administrative processing. Time limit they have mentioned that it may take short or it may take long depending upon pending cases. I have applied for K1 visa and have been rejected second time, however this time they have not returned my case to USCIS as the did last time and instructed me to wait. My point of concern is that they have mentioned in rejected in a white letter that they have given me. If it is rejected, what if the point of saying that they will contact me as soon as possible.

  3. I’m from India,
    I got engaged last year july and my fiance(US citizen) had applied for K1 visa.
    I had my interview 3 weeks back in which the officer gave me a white paper stating that your case has been refused under 221(g) of the immigration and Nationality Act. Please bear with us while your case undergoes administrative processing. We will contact you as soon as this process has been completed. ”

    I tracked my case online it shows that it has been sent back to NVC.
    What should i do? Has my visa been denied?

  4. Junaid says:

    Hey. I was given a green slip requiring my CV which i submitted the very same day on website but there was no acknowledgement. Should i post it too? moreover when i check on CEAS website the case status is in Admin processing and case was created on 28th feb and last modified is still 28th feb. i submitted the required document the very same day. thats how it is?

  5. Ali says:

    Dear akmohamm,
    I had my visa interview on 20th April, 2017 in US Embassy Islamabad. And after asking me about my research, the visa officer handed me a white paper stating that my application had been “refused” under 221 (g) and has been put on administrative processing. She kept my CV but did not ask for any additional documentation. I wanted to ask if I should take following steps.

    1. Write to the university and tell them about my situation.
    2. Send all my project reports and presentation slides to the embassy anyway.

    Also, what are the chances of getting accepted/rejected after administrative processing?

  6. tom says:

    My interview was on 11th April 2017 at Addis Ababa US embassy for CR1 visa category. I have been told my case will be under Administrative process but and given a white slip but do not requested any document to submit. The CO did not return my passport. Now its morethan two weeks since i got interviewed but my status on CEAC is still shows READY for interview. Why it is not changed to AP ?

  7. Jasvinder Singh says:

    Hello Sir,
    I am from India, I have applied for visitor visa of my minor son and kept his passport & issued a letter, which shows that your application has been refused under section 221(g) (Yellow Page). Further they have also kept parent passport alongwith my child. VO wrote down on the letter “221 G for further administrative work”. what does it mean and what should i do

  8. Nikhil kumar says:

    Hi, I gave my passport for F-1 visa renewal via dropbox. After 2 days , the status showed administrative processing and I was given my passport back with a white form stating that we are suspending your case under 221(g)of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) until the indicated process is completed. those process are
    1). Fingerprints (checkbox was checked)
    2). Interview (checkbox was checked).

    Also, I have been called to embassy with this letter. What does this mean ? Can you guys help?
    Thanks in advance.

  9. Sram says:

    First time i got 221g with request for employer documents , i then went for interview along with the requested documents, second time i got 221g saying it needs administrative processing but no document requested – does it mean it will be approved or denied? can someone help

  10. Aman says:

    Hello guys can anyone help me with my case, I
    Had a interview on 11th july 2017 at Mumbai location for the B1 visa. The VO just aksed me normal questions nothing out of the blue to which i replied preety confidently and the VO seemed to be in a mood to approve my case, but suddenly he started to think something and called another laddy after that they had a disscussion for 10mins ans asked me to fill a form which has all my personal info like how many addresses i have changed in last 15years, how many phone numbers i have changed in last 5 year, email accounts used by me in last 5years, family details including sblings and spouse, contries travelled in last 5years no of passports till date right from the birth, i filled all the questions in the form correctly and submitted back to the VO after which they reviewed it for 15mins and given me 221(g) (blue) and told me your visa is under administrative processing and we will contact you. What does this mean can anyone tell me.

    Thanks in advance!!

  11. Henry says:

    Hello I’m Henry I applied from South Africa I’m a Nigerian I applied on the 20th June it’s been 2 months and counting no response from them they gave me a green form and took my passport what most I do?because I even sent them mail and tried calling for my passport but no response I’m so worried now thanks.

  12. nyny says:

    Hi,i went for an interview with my family and was given a white pickup sheet to go collect after 3days,on getting to the DHL office i was told the visa is not ready, so i sent mail to the consular only for him to reply that i should schedule follow up interview under 221G category with new appointment.please whhat does that mean.

  13. AJ says:

    Aman, If you have received your visa, in my case they ask me for same set of info

    but initially VO said your visa is approved and keep my passport but next day they return my passport through pickup location and ask for last 15 years of details

  14. William M. says:

    I have a question about immigration law. After 25 years my father’s petition for my brother and his family was finally partially approved. My brother and his family prepared all the paperwork and went to the US embassy for interview two days ago. Unfortunately, the consular officer denied them for the reason of Section 221. My dad is a dual citizen. The officials want my brother to provide copies of my dad’s bank account, US home address, driver’s license, and voter registration, all to prove he lives in the USA. However, my dad moved back to the Philippines in 2012. To solve this, do you think he should come back to the United States and stay for a short time to get all this paperwork? Any shortcuts here? Do we need an immigration lawyer?

  15. Ade says:

    I was supposed to renew my visa and my daughter’s by dropbox but eventually I submitted mine at the DHL office but my daughter couldn’t because of an error on her passport number generated on the dropbox confirmation letter. We were asked to go back and generate another one with correct passport number for her by mailing the embassy customer service and returning for submission at the DHL office( unfortunately despite calling several and reviving replies that my profile has been updated to accommodate my dependant in other to print another dropbox letter for her, I couldn’t as we speak and it’s been 2weeks since I submitted mine). I got a reply today from the consular to pick up my passport at the DHL office and reschedule another appointment via a 221g decison: “”it says pls return to the embassy at no extra cost to speak to an interviewing officer”
    My initial travel was for 4months with my daughter and the second was for 3weeks on my previous US visa. Do u think I’ll be questioned for staying for 4months before arriving. Why do u think they will want me to come for an interview? Or reject my visa ?

    • akmohamm says:

      Sorry for the delayed response, it seems based on what you stated there is some inconsistency in your application as your daughter has been added, that may have triggered it.

    • Nono says:

      Hi ADe,
      What was the final outcome pls?
      I also got 221g after submitting for dropbox. How were you able to reschedeule an interview? Kindly share your steps pls.

  16. Surbhi says:

    Applied for US visa B2. A lady took my interview and gave a white 221(g) form and asked me to submit additional information she took my passport. And my case is showing under process from last 1month. What does that mean. How much time they require

  17. Retna says:

    It is H1B Visa. Stayed in the USA for 1/1/2 years. Visa expired . Reached India Company applied for premium. Got the Visa extension a
    a fortnight ago. Visa interview held at chennai
    But due to a minor domestic violence held at the USA and the case expunged, the passports taken by The consular and the blue slip issued on AP . Necessary documents of the domestic violence submitted.

  18. Sandeep Rajani says:

    My wife and two minor children attended an interview for an I-5 (EB-5) visa in Abu Dhabi on 3 Jan 2018. The interview hardly took 5 minutes and the consular officer was very polite and only asked the usual / expected questions to be expected. However he said that he would like to see new police clearance certificates for my wife and older daughter from Dubai Police before he could authorize issuance of their visa. The reason given for this was that the certificates submitted to the NVC on 4 July 2017 were dated 29 June but stated that these were only valid for 6 months. He did not keep the passports and gave my wife a blue 221G form and put an “X” against the police clearance certificate and passport.

    The interview appointment letter from the NVC stated that we would need new police certificates only if the ones given previously were submitted more than 12 months ago. Nevertheless we wrote to the embassy in Abu Dhabi prior to the interview asking them to confirm that new certificates would not be required in view of the above but despite reminders, received no response from them.

    I read on this blog how “administrative processing” can sometimes take months before the visa issued is issued. Fortunately for us the visa was issued on 11 Jan, only 3-4 days after the new police clearance certificates and passports were given to the US embassy.

  19. Ankit Mishra says:

    Hi , i am eligible for dropbox so submitted my docs on VFC delhi on 29th jan 2018.

    After three weeks on 13 th feb recieved mail to to pick your passport but i went on 14 feb and found 221g issued and asking for fingerprint.

    I gave my fingerprints in embassy 15 feb before 10 am . Visa status date changed to 15 fev in ceac website. Again case updated changed on 20feb and 24feb but still it is showing administrative processing. I thought after giving finger priny it wont take more than 23 days but now it is more than a week. I am bot sure what is going on with this visa . Do you have any idea to share with me?

  20. Agnes Obi says:

    Good day,
    Please I would like to know if it is possible for someone to be given a refusal letter at d pick up dhl office after we have been given an approval letter by the consular on the day we were interviewed. My passport and that of my husband and d kids were retained on that day and we were told to pick them up from dhl office only for them to return our passports with the refusal form. Pls what could have gone wrong?

  21. Kwame Fosu Sarkodie says:

    I am currently 23 years but would be turning 24 on June 10. I would be going again for an IR2 Visa Interview after my case was reaffirmed. What are the possible documents to be sent and what are the likely questions to be asked.
    Thank you.

  22. Bobby says:

    Hi my mom dad had their interview on same time and with same person.the counselor asked questions to my parents they answered .then luckily with the grace of god my dad got his visa but my mom can’t and they give her white slip that her case case is in under administration process and her application is incomplete.please can someone suggest me what will happen next and can my mom get visa and how long we have to wait.please someone let me know if have the same experience.thanks in advance

  23. Akshay Maggu says:

    Today, I (for H1B) and my wife (for H4) went for our visa interview at the US consulate in Hong Kong. Our background: We are Indian nationals living in HK since 5.5 years as I did my PhD here and my wife is still doing a PhD here. We had this interview where the Consular Officer asked about what am I gonna do in the US, my job and research project that I answered being as natural as I could be. He looked at the I-129, I-797 stuff and then asked for my CV. Asked for marriage certificate asked my wife what’s her major in her PhD. All documents were given to him real quick and he complemented “thanks for being so organised”. After these few questions, he gave us both forms that asked tons of information and some documents that we could submit right away. Further, we were both given yellow 221(g) and asked to submit (via email) some more documents. For me, they asked to send them travel itinerary to the US and my (would be) US address and to my wife they asked a bunch of docs like CV, letter from her university and so on. They didn’t keep our passports, yellow 221(g) doesn’t say that we need to re-interview or to do a “follow up” appointment. Any thoughts what might be going on? Any thoughts are much appreciated.

    • anurag says:

      what is the status now ?? u got the visa? i am in similar situation . just want to know how much time they took to finally issue visa.. please help. if u have any additional info plz help
      thanks anurag

  24. Karan Madaan says:

    Hi, this is Karan Madaan and i got a refusal letter of 221g mentioning that some additional documentation is required and upon submission of these documents my case will be reviewed.
    I just want to know that is this letter fall under administration processing or just some additional documents required??
    Or how long will take after getting these additional documents from me ?
    My visa category is CR1 immigrant visa.

  25. Mayor73ng says:

    I went to my interview for my k1 visa the CO was asking me about my previous petition that why didn’t I travel with my first petitioner I told him my visa was revoked due to my petitioner passed away. He only asked me few questions about my new fiance. After the interview he gave me a white paper of Administration process he said they will get back to me next week but when I saw the white paper its stated 90 days. That if I don’t hear from them after 90 days that I should email them. They gave me back my passport as well. Please is my case a denial ?

  26. Suri says:

    What does it mean if they don’t give you any slip

  27. Pingback: US Tourist Visa from India - A Step by Step Guide - Travel Melodies

  28. Syeda shafaq says:

    My husband had his H1B visa interview on February 5th 2019 at rhe Chennai Consulate. The interview went well but his visa was rejected as the VO issued a blue slip under section 221(g) citing that additional documents are required from the US employer’s end. (Tax returns of the employer, etc..)
    My husband relayed this information to his employer, which they said they would take care off.
    The employer has been asked to mail the documents directly to the consulate.
    What is the procedure which follows after this and how long does it usually take?

  29. Pingback: US Tourist Visa from India - A Step by Step Guide - Travel Melodies

  30. S Chudary says:

    I alongside my wife appeared in USA embassy for B1 B2 visa.V O
    Very cool and interview quite relaxed but finally issued green slip 221 g passport kept visa officer. It’s about now 5 months passed still showing Administrative process.Some one tell how it will go long.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s