Obtaining a visa to the United States of America can be a surprising experience. When you apply for a US visa anywhere in the world, the visa officer interviews you in the US consulate or embassy in your country/city. Usually, the interview is 5 to 10 minutes long, and after the interview is conducted, the visa officer has three options to take a decision on your case. The first option is to refuse your visa application on the spot, the second option is to accept your visa application, and the third option is to put your case in “Administrative Processing” which can be a headache for many as it was for me, so let’s talk about it in details.
What’s US Visa Administrative Processing?
The US Department of State says something like this on their official website :
Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. All applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
After reading the above statement on US department of state’s website, and having searched for many hours on the internet. I came to know that Administrative Processing can take from 3 weeks to 6 months. But I was anxiously waiting for the decision to be taken on my case as my application also went to administrative processing. The administrative processing is actually done in Washington DC, which can take time.
My US Visa Application Karachi (Pakistan)
I applied for a US visa in Karachi (Pakistan) on 21 March 2016, and I was interviewed the same day. After conducting the interview, the visa officer told me that she’ll keep my passport, and gave me a form which I read later when I came outside the consulate. It was written in the form that my case has gone to administrative processing and it can take several weeks or months. It was also written there that I shouldn’t contact embassy/consulate before 60 days, because it can take 60 days to complete the administrative processing.
I came home, and searched on the internet about administrative processing, some people said it took a few weeks, and some other said that it took several months. I thought, it’s useless to wait for the visa, I should get my passport back from the consulate (as it was written in the form that I can anytime take my passport back when I needed), so I contacted the embassy on 4 April, and they sent me an email saying they’ve sent my passport to “American Express Center” located in Shaheen Complex Karachi.
The next day (5 April), I went to Shaheen Complex and got my passport, but my US visa case was still in progress. So they’d to inform me via email or phone about the status of my visa application. But at the same time, I could use my passport for applying any other visa.
On 6 April, I got a call from the consulate general of the United States in Karachi, the guy told me that they need my passport back as they’re doing the final processing on my case. I said, that’s great and fine, so I immediately went to the same “American Express Center” and gave them my passport. Two days later (8 April) in the morning, I got an email from the consulate that I can collect my passport from American express center.
The next day (9 April), I went to the American express center, and got my passport within five minutes. I checked my passport and a 5 years multiple entries visa to the United States of America was issued on my passport 🙂 Horaaah.
Conclusion of this post
Administrative processing is done in the capital of USA, so the waiting period will vary case by case. However, in most of the cases it’ll take less than 3 weeks, and you’ll get a decision from the embassy/consulate as you can see in my case it took only 14 working days.
If you’ve ever experienced Administrative Processing while applying for US visa then please share your experience in the comments form below, you can also ask me any question you have regarding immigration and visas.