Why is My Visa Being Delayed Due to Administrative Processing?

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer.  Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.  Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.

It is important to note that before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.

About Visa Processing Wait Times – Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants

Information about nonimmigrant visa wait times for interviews and visa processing time frames are shown on the U.S. Department of State website, as well as on U.S. Embassy and Consulate websites worldwide.  It should be noted that the “Wait Times for a Nonimmigrant Visa to be Processed” information by country does not include time required for administrative processing. Processing wait time also does not include the time required to return the passport to applicants, by either courier services or the local mail system.

Administrative processing is a black hole because the reason for the temporary delay is obscured and the length of that delay is uncertain.  Our firm usually follows up to check on the status of administrative processing after 60 days. We typically first contact the consular post, then if no timely response is received consider the following steps:

  1. escalate the inquiry to a supervisor within the consular post;
  2. contact the Department’s Visa Office;
  3. follow up through the committee that provides liaison between the Department and the American Immigration Lawyers Association;
  4. file a Congressional inquiry through a member who is willing to be helpful; and/or
  5. file a mandamus action in federal court.

Before condemning the Consulate for falling short of the Department’s instructions on how quickly to complete “administrative processing,” also consider that the fault may lie not with the periphery but with the center for its failure to institute an efficient, transparent, and uniform rule of law.