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Visas Pending Administrative Processing

The US government may require certain visa applications to undergo additional review before issuing the visa.

When subject to “administrative processing” or “security clearance,” the consulate must wait to receive clearance from several other government agencies. This can add weeks, or even months, to the amount of time needed for visa approval (though most clearances take three to eight weeks for processing). Plan your travel accordingly!

It is impossible to know which applications will require additional processing. However, additional processing is more common among applicants:

  • Coming from certain countries
  • Specializing in potentially sensitive fields of study or research (e.g., sciences, technology, or engineering)
  • Having common names that are likely shared with other people

If you suspect your application may require administrative processing, the International Services Office (ISO) recommends that you request a letter from your department to offer additional details about your program or work in the United States. This letter may include:

  • Specifics of your research
  • Source(s) of funding
  • Contact persons in the United States
  • Any other information that establishes the legitimate, non-military purposes of your stay

The letter should be written in English, with limited use of technical terminology or jargon. You may present this letter at the time of the visa interview, as needed. While it will not prevent your application from being subject to security clearance, the letter may help to provide explanatory information and speed processing along. Once a security clearance is granted, it remains valid for up to four years for subsequent visa renewals.

If your visa application is delayed, use the Visa Delay/Denial Form to report your application and delay details to ISO. We will monitor your case and, as needed after 60 days pending, may report the delay to the US Department of State.