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US Administrative Processing Immigrant Visa

Individuals applying for an immigrant visa may find that their cases have been placed in Administrative Processing for one reason or another. They are neither denied nor approved as additional time may be needed to make a determinative response in the case. This decision is made after the visa applicant's interview by a consular officer. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview, however, when placed in administrative processing, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.

In immigrant visa cases such as the K1 fiance visa, a consular officer may conclude at the end of the interview that there is simply insufficient evidence to approve the case. The reason may be that new evidence was discovered during the interview that raised a red flag, or an administrative discrepancy to warrant a secondary review. A visa case requiring additional administrative processing may take months to conclude, however, in this writer's experience, providing additional compelling evidence of the bona fides of the applicant's relationship to the American petition may assist the officer in making a definitive decision in the case.

Administrative processing is a state of flux that leaves a visa applicant frustrated and confused as there is no definitive guidelines as to what the immigration issues are and whether the applicants can do anything to compel the proper agency to respond. Additionally, it is within the discretion of the interviewing consular officer to place a visa case in further administrative processing as the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) provides ample guidance for officers to exercise this power based on their factual finding.

Whether the case is outright denied or placed in administrative processing, a visa denial applicant should consult with a competent immigration attorney to review the case and provide the best course of action based on the applicant's unique sets of facts. Consular processing attorneys are in a highly advantageous position to assist since they are able to inquire directly with the consulate and embassy where the applicant's case was denied.

About the author: Cathy Tran Reck is an American immigration attorney working from Bangkok, Thailand. Cathy is the Managing Partner at Cathy Tran Reck & Associates, Ltd. Bangkok with an office in Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Cathy is licensed by the California State Bar, American Bar Association, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She can be reached at or in Bangkok at (+66) 2 302 1448.


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