If you have just received a decision on your visa application only to find out that it has been approved but is now undergoing administrative processing, you may be feeling both relieved and confused. While the approval means that you are one step closer to being able to travel to the United States, the administrative processing can be daunting, and the fact that it is not fully resolved until 2023 seems like a long time to wait.
But what does this mean exactly, and what can you do while waiting for the processing to finish? Let us help you navigate through this situation with some useful information.
- Visa approval and administrative processing are two different stages of the visa application process
- Administrative processing is when additional security checks or verification are necessary to ensure the applicant’s eligibility for the visa
- The length of administrative processing can vary widely from weeks to several months, and in some cases, it may take over a year
- During administrative processing, neither the U.S. embassy nor the Department of State can provide the applicant with additional information about the status or timeline of the processing
- While waiting, applicants can check their visa application status online, contact their U.S. senators or representatives for assistance, and seek legal advice if necessary
What Is Administrative Processing?
Administrative processing is not uncommon, and it is not necessarily a reason for panic. It can happen for a variety of reasons, such as the need for additional documentation, a security check, or a more thorough background check. Your visa has been approved, but the consular officer needs to do additional checks before issuing it. This process helps to ensure that the visa applicant meets all eligibility requirements and presents no security risk to the United States.
Although the underlying reasons for administrative processing are usually innocuous, the wait time can be long and frustrating. It can last anywhere from a few days to several months, and sometimes it can take even longer. In some cases, the process can take over a year. However, the processing time varies from one application to another.
What Can You Do While Waiting for Administrative Processing to Finish?
Waiting is never easy, but there are several things that you can do to help ease the process and make the most of your time. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Check Your Visa Application Status Online
The U.S. Department of State provides a website that allows visa applicants to check the status of their visa applications online. The website updates every weekday, and it provides current information on the status of your visa application, including whether administrative processing is required. Keep in mind that, while helpful, the website may not provide an exact timeline or status of administrative processing.
2. Contact Your U.S. Senators or Representatives for Assistance
If your visa application has been pending for more than a few weeks, you may wish to contact your U.S. Senators or Representatives for assistance. They have the ability to inquire about the status of your visa application and can often help expedite the processing.
3. Seek Legal Advice
If you are facing an administrative processing delay, you may wish to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to explore your legal options. An attorney can help you understand the process, assess your eligibility for the visa, review your application to make sure there are no issues or errors, and contact the consulate or embassy to get more information about your file. An attorney can also assist you in drafting a compelling legal argument, which can improve your chances of getting the visa as soon as possible.
What Is the Difference Between Visa Approval and Administrative Processing?
Visa approval means that the consular officer has concluded that you are eligible for the visa that you have applied for. Administrative processing is a more in-depth review to ensure that no security risk or ineligibility issues exist.
Can I Travel While My Visa Is in Administrative Processing?
Unfortunately, no. You cannot travel to the United States while your visa is in administrative processing. You must wait for the administrative processing to finish before you can travel.
How Long Does Administrative Processing Take?
The length of administrative processing can vary from one application to another. It can last from a few days to several months, and in some cases, it can take over a year. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long it will take.
Can an Attorney Help Expedite Administrative Processing?
An experienced immigration attorney may be able to help you obtain your visa more quickly. They can evaluate your application and identify any issues or errors that may be causing the delay. Additionally, they can help advocate on your behalf and contact the appropriate authorities to expedite the review process. However, it should be noted that lawyers can only do so much and there is no guarantee that they will be able to accelerate the processing.