*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

2 Reasons Your Visa May Be In Administrative Processing

You may be wondering… Why was my visa put into administrative processing? Why was my visa delayed? Why was I given the 221(g) worksheet?

My name’s Joshua Goldstein and I am an immigration lawyer. I help families across the country and around the world get their visas out of administrative processing. So why is your visa in administrative processing in the first place?

What is Administrative Processing?

Administrative processing is a source of tremendous frustration because it makes no sense. Your visa is very similar to a friend or family member’s visa. But your friend got his visa approved very quickly, and yours is stuck. And you’re left wondering… Why is this happening to me?

The important thing to know about administrative processing is that the government is very secretive about this. They don’t give out any information about what they’re checking with administrative processing.

What is the nature of the delay? What caused the delay? How long is it going to take for them to finish their administrative processing? What steps, if any, are you, the visa applicant, supposed to take? Are you supposed to provide documents or information?

It’s An Unfair Process

A lot of times, they just leave you waiting blindly, with no information. You try to contact the consulate, and you get nowhere. They just send you a boilerplate email that says to check back in 30 or 60 days. It’s really frustrating. You don’t have any information, you don’t know what’s going on, and you’re sitting on your hands and waiting.

Two Main Factors

So, what is really going on? I’ve been involved in countless lawsuits against consulates around the world. I’ve sued many, many of these consulates to challenge administrative processing delays, and I can tell you that I’m just as confused as everyone else is about administrative processing.

But from my experience, I can point to two factors that suggest why a particular visa might be in that status. While not everyone who is in administrative processing has one of these two factors, these are the ones that I have often come across in my practice.

Legal Complications May Trigger Administrative Processing

The first factor as to why you might be in administrative processing is that there is some kind of underlying legal complication with your case. For example, I had a case where my client needed a specific waiver, an I-601 waiver. So, I helped him apply for a waiver, and we got the waiver approved.

But instead of issuing the visa to my client, they said, “Oh, no. We’re going to put you into administrative processing.” And he sat there. We finally were able to get his case resolved, but we had to take extra action.

So, a lot of times, when people are in administrative processing, there is an underlying problem. In another case, for example, my client was a U.S. citizen. She had petitioned for her parents. This case was in Vietnam, and her father had been in the communist party.

Well, Vietnam is a communist country. Practically everyone is in the communist party. My client’s father wasn’t a politician. He was just a businessman and the communist party is something you join to get along in society. It should have caused no problems whatsoever. Yet that case was stuck in administrative processing until we got involved. We were able to challenge it and get the visa approved.

So, the number one reason why your case might be in administrative processing is that there is some issue, or that the consulate thinks there’s some issue.

Being Muslim or From a Muslim Country

The second reason why your case may be in administrative processing — and this is the most common one — is that you are Muslim or you’re from a predominantly Muslim country. This means that if you’re from Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco, Lebanon, or another Muslim country, there’s a good chance that your case will be put in administrative processing. That’s much less likely to happen if you’re not Muslim and you’re from France.

This is infuriating because it’s profiling based on religion. It’s also profiling and discrimination based on your country of national origin. There’s no reason in the world why Muslims should be treated differently than anyone else. Or why people from one country should be treated differently than people from the next.

There is no reason in the world why Muslims should be discriminated against in our visa system. In fact, it’s flat out illegal. It’s unconstitutional to discriminate based on national origin, ethnicity, or race. It’s blatant discrimination and it infuriates me. It’s a grave injustice. And that’s one reason I’ve dedicated my career to helping people who are stuck in administrative processing.

It’s not right. It’s not what America is all about. It’s unfair. It’s un-American, and we need to stand up and challenge administrative processing for the injustice that it is.

So, to summarize, there are two main reasons why your visa may be in administrative processing. First, there may be some underlying legal issue that causes complications. And the second reason is that you’re from a Muslim country, a predominantly Muslim country, or you yourself are Muslim. I’m not saying that this is fair or this is right, but this is what’s happening right now.

There’s One More Thing…

Before Donald Trump became President, administrative processing was incredibly rare. It was an unusual thing that happened only occasionally. Now, under the Trump administration, it’s the policy. People are routinely put in administrative processing. It’s almost like administrative processing is used as a tool. It’s as if they’re building a legal wall to prevent you from coming into the U.S.

We Have A Solution

The good news is that there is a solution. There are things you can do to fight this. And I’ve devoted my career to helping people stuck in administrative processing and getting them out of that status fast.

So if you’re stuck in administrative processing, if your visa has been delayed and you need help, or if you have questions, get in touch with me. Send me a message or an email, ask your questions, and I’ll be happy to help you out.

Josh Goldstein
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