Oftentimes an applicant for a visa at an overseas United States consular post will have his application sent for additional review immediately following the visa interview. This process is known as, administrative processing.
Unfortunately for the visa applicant and his family, the reason for this additional processing is never made clear. It is also often unclear how long
People also often ask how long the administrative processing will take. this is difficult because the timetable for completion of the processing is never known in advance.
The US Administrative Process: What is Really Happening?
It is impossible to know why “administrative processing” is occurring.
Oftentimes during this period, the Department of Homeland Security or FBI will conduct further background checks on an individual or, the consulate will consult Department of State attorneys concerning particular aspects of a case.
US Administrative Processing: How Long Does it Take?
The DOS Administrative Processing web page informs us that, “most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview.”
Unfortunately, many individuals experience months, if not years, of “administrative processing”, with no explanation provided at all.
Although there is no definitive data on this subject, anecdotal evidence reveals the longest delays occurring at posts in the Middle East and Asia.
Can Anything be Done to Speed up the Administrative Processing Timeline?
My office has had success fighting the Department of State in federal court through the filing of what is called a mandamus lawsuit.
In this situation, we are asking that a court enter an order demanding that the overseas consulate make a judgment on a particular visa application.
Examples of our recent victories, each resulting in completing an administrative processing and the granting of a visa:
- US Citizen wife, Pakistani husband (Islamabad, Pakistan; administrative processing – 5 years at the time of lawsuit)
- US citizen sister, Pakistani brother (and brother’s wife and two children) (Islamabad, Pakistan; administrative processing – 4 years at the time of lawsuit)
- US citizen husband, Yemeni wife (Sana’a, Yemen; administrative processing – 15 months at time of lawsuit)
- US citizen wife, Pakistani husband (Islamabad, Pakistan; administrative processing – 17 months at time of lawsuit)
- US citizen brother, Pakistani sister (and sister’s husband) (Islamabad, Pakistan; administrative processing – 3 years at time of lawsuit)
- US citizen daughter, Lebanese mother (Damascus, Syria & Beirut, Lebanon; administrative processing – 27 months at time of lawsuit)
I have found that once such a lawsuit is filed, a decision on the visa is almost always processed quickly.
For families facing delays overseas, a mandamus lawsuit is one option to consider.
Please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone ((212) 901-3799) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about administrative processing and how my office may be able to help.
***Attorney advertising; Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome***