Ask the Consul – Applying for a Nonimmigrant U.S. Visa: Visa Approval, Denial, and Administrative Processing

An image of a visa.

In the previous Ask the Consul articles we discussed how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa and prepare for your visit to the Embassy.  Once you have followed all these steps and completed your interview, the consular officer will tell you if your visa application is approved, denied, or pending for additional administrative processing.

The three sections below explain in more detail what each decision means for you and the next steps that you may take:

Approved – You have met all the qualifications and are approved to receive a visa. After being approved, you will receive an email during the next 5-10 business days indicating that your passport is ready to pick up at the selected location in your profile.  The notification email will be sent to the address registered to your profile.  If you used a lawyer or travel agency to set up your profile, be sure to check with them to ensure that you pick up your visa in a timely fashion. You can track the status of your passport online at www.ustraveldocs.com or by calling the call center.

Not Approved – Your visa application has been reviewed and you do not currently qualify to receive a visa. Each visa application is reviewed individually in accordance with the requirements of U.S. immigration law and applications are refused if an applicant is found ineligible. In most cases, being denied does not prevent you from reapplying in the future.  There is no requirement on how much time you must wait before applying again, but it should be sufficient time to allow for a significant change in your circumstances.

Administrative Processing –The consul may advise you that additional processing is necessary to determine your eligibility for a visa. Many factors can determine these additional checks. In some cases, we may require more information from you, the applicant. Most of these administrative processes are resolved within 60 days of the interview, but the time may vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case. If your case is in administrative processing, you can track the status at ceac.state.gov, the same site where you filled out the application form.