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Administrative Processing "Waiting Game" Can Lead to Frustration

Applying for a visa or green card at U.S. Consular posts can sometimes prove to be a long waiting process, especially when you hear the adjudicating officer say, “Your case needs further administrative processing.”  The Administrative Processing process is a key tool in ensuring careful consideration and screening of individuals admitted legally to the United States.  However, hearing these two words can often bring about frustration for clients and attorneys alike.
The reason for this additional processing is never disclosed.  In fact,  the Foreign Affairs Manual at 9 FAM Appendix E, 404 states that Consular Posts should NOT inform interested persons, including attorneys, the specific reason for the administrative processing.  Therefore, even if you are being represented, your attorney cannot find out the specific reason for this delay.  Another frustration inherent in administrative processing is that the time-frame when a decision will be made is always uncertain.  While the adjudicating officer may say that this additional processing will be resolved in 60 days and while this is often the case, the timetable is indefinite and the process provides little remedy other than patience.
At Berardi Immigration Law we understand the “waiting game” is extremely difficult.  Therefore, we would like to provide some information that might provide a measure of comfort and ease during a protracted “administrative processing” wait:

  1. The Department of State recommends waiting at least 60 days from the date of interview before any follow-up action takes place, but once that time has elapsed an inquiry can be made to the specific Embassy or Consulate Post.
  2. The number of denials for cases subject to administrative processing is very small.  In fact, a case will generally not be sent for administrative processing unless it is otherwise approvable; and
  3. It will take as long as it takes – while inquiries can be made there is NO regulation that puts any limits on the amount of time administrative processing can take.