221g and Administrative Processing – Useful Tips

A various number of factors play a role during the H1-B visa interview, which might lead to a person having his/her visa approved or rejected. During the Interview, the decision is made based on how the questions were answered and the documents provided. If your visa is rejected, you will get a form with a refusal reason. Most of the refusal cases received a 221(g) form.

What is 221(g)?

Refusal under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act means that essential information or documents is missing from an application.Visa approval can sometimes be kept on hold for various reasons, such as administrative processing, requirement of additional documents, medical tests, insufficient validity of passport, etc.

Issue of 221g doesn’t mean that the visa is rejected or that the chances of issuing visa are likely low. But, it means that the visa officer couldn’t take a decision on the existing documentation and requires additional documentation for further review by the Consulate office.

Types of 221 (g):

There are different reasons for refusal under 221(g) section and the visa officer will give a color coded form. U.S. Embassy uses a specific color coding for each form to indicate the type of 221(g) and the form has instructions to be followed and documents necessary to be provided by the applicants for further processing of their visa application.

The following are the color codes and the explanation of what each color means:

Blue: A 221g Blue slip is given when the additional documentation is required. After submitting the required documents, a decision will be taken by the Consulate.

Pink: A 221g Pink slip is handed out when your application needs further administrative processing. The consulate will notify you once the processing is done. This form is most likely issued when the Visa Officer is doubtful about your current employer or work related information. You will be given a reference id and you can track the status online.

Yellow: A 221 g Yellow slip denotes general type of administrative processing. The Consulate looks at all the documentation provided by the candidate and the employer.

White: A 221g White slip denotes requirement for further processing by the USCIS. The Consulate pushes back these kinds of cases to the USCIS and the decision is taken based on the information obtained from the USCIS. 

Common Reasons for Issuing 221g:

  • Employee Verification: The Visa Officer would want additional documentation to verify your job. This is more likely the case with consulting or client-side jobs.
  • Employer Verification: Sometimes, additional documentation from the employer is expected and the candidate is asked for to submit these.
  • Missing PIMS: Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) system is a database which is updated with the employee information when a person’s H1-B is approved. This update is done at the KSC (Kentucky Service Center). Sometimes, when a person attends the interview before the PIMS is updated, it is likely that the consulate office would request for additional documentation.

Post 221(g):

Once a 221(g) form is issued, the documents necessary to be submitted to the VFS (Visa Facilitation Services) either electronically or at the VFS drop box.  The 221(g) provides all the necessary instructions to be followed during this process of documents submission.

The processing time of 221g varies from one week to several months.


Once the documents have been submitted, you need to wait to hear back from the U.S. Consulate. It is very difficult to tell how long a person needs to wait. It differs from case to case. You need to make sure all the documents are submitted properly, so that there will be no delay in your processing.

You can track your passport on the VFS website or call VFS customer service. You can also track using your case number on the corresponding Consulate website, where you attend your visa interview.

221g Tips:

  • This form is more commonly issued for candidates with client-side or contracting jobs. So, make sure all the documentation is genuine. You can get the Check list of h1b documentation at http://h1bwiki.com/h1-b-interview/.
  • A new LCA needs to be filed when a candidate changes his location at the client-side. In some cases if the job duties of the employee changes significantly, there would be necessity to file an amended petition.
  • It is very important to know your employer as well as the client (if any) details. And, we suggest you to go through the H1-B petition filed by your employer to USCIS before the interview, to see how your duties and responsibilities have been described.
  • It would rather be a better idea to have your visa appointment during the time your presence is not highly critical in the project at your company. In case of 221(g) administrative processing, your project then wouldn’t be affected due to extension of your vacation upon necessity.
  • Before you would attend the visa interview, you should explain your manager about the visa rules and the possible 221(g) administrative processing issues. You could ask for a possibility about working from home (from India). Make sure you are carrying your laptop along with you and you have a reliable internet connection to work from home and a way to communicate with your employee (Phone, Magic Jack, Vonage, Skype, etc.)
  • Go confident and give your best at the Visa Interview.
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  • Syeda

    Actally My husband was interviewed on 15th October 2012, But he got green slip they put under administrative processing so After 3 weeks he doesn’t get any call please tell me how does it take to complete administrative processing. Because I was mentaly upset and agony please help us

    • NadsH

      Totally feel for you Syeda, I am sure some one will surely respond to help. How about posting on H1bwiki facebook page? Hopefully more folks will see it there and respond to your questions.
      Here is the link https://www.facebook.com/h1bwiki?fref=ts

  • Priya

    Hello everyone,

    I attended my H1B Visa interview in Aug 2012, there I received 221g (They took almost all the documents I was carrying along with passport) and was asked to submit some documents, which I later submit in Sept 2012.

    Its been 11 months and I am still to receive any update from US consulate.

    Does that mean they are going to reject it?

    Should I withdraw my application and try with some other company/consultant with my petition approved?

    • teju

      Where did you go for stamping?

  • Soch The Power

    H4 visa interview experience Mumbai Jan 2014 (221g White Slip)



    My husband got his H1b visa visa approved on 26th December 2013
    from Chennai US consulate and H1B visa stamped passport after two days.

    We started processing H4 visa process for me n my 5 months old
    daughter (DS160 and payment of Fees). Got OFC done for me and my daughter on
    17th Jan 2014.

    We had visa interview appointment on 21 Jan 2014 7.45 am (first
    slot for that day) and i was first one to give interview for visa.

    VO: Good Morning

    Me: Good Morning

    VO: May i have your Passport

    I gave my n my daughter’s passport to VO

    VO: Do you have your husband’s visa with you?

    Me: Yes (i gave him my husband’s paasport also)

    VO: Where is your husband working currently?

    Me: ABC company (Indian Company)

    VO: Where he will be working in USA?

    Me: XYZ Company (Company In USA)

    VO: Why is he leaving company like ABC and going for small company

    Me: He wanted global career exposure

    Then VO started nodded his head

    VO: Why you did not appeared for visa interview with your husband?

    Me: We had applied for my daughter’s passport and i wanted to
    apply for visa with my daughter

    VO: Where is your daughter?

    Me: She is outside with my husband. My Daughter is 5 months old.

    VO: When did you got married?

    Me: 24 Feb 2011

    VO: Why you husband went for his visa interview in chennai and you
    in mumbai?

    Me: There was no interview slots available in Mumbai during that
    time and his employer wanted him to go for visa interview in that week only.

    Again VO nodded his head

    VO: When did you got married?

    Me: 24 Feb 2011

    VO: Where you daughter was born?

    Me: Mumbai

    VO: Where your stay?

    Me: Mumbai

    Then VO left from his seat and went to one lady (American) with
    our passport and he talk to her 8 to 10 min then he came back to his seat and
    started typing in his computer for 7 to 8 min

    VO: When did you got married?

    Me: 24 Feb 2014

    VO: Where you husband will be working in USA?

    Me: AM, MMMM

    Then he again started typing in his computer and after 5 min one
    white paper to me and said

    VO: Sorry i will have to take your passport for some admin

    Me: You will keep my husband’s passport also

    VO: Yes i have to take his passport for enquiry

    Me: When will i get all three passport?

    VO: It will not take more that one week. You will get notification
    regarding your passport through Email or SMS.

    Me: Ok

    Then i left from there. I was very tensed because VO took my
    husbands passport also and i did not wanted my husbands visa get affect because
    of my interview.

    After two days i got mail on my phone that my and my daughters
    passport is ready for pickup and even my husband got same message.

    Next Day we went BKC, Mumbai US Trade center and got all three
    passport with VISA STAMP.

    Missed those golden words “YOUR VISA IS APPROVED” but