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

A Background Check Or Administrative Processing


Today I’m answering a question from the Facebook group about 221-G, administrative processing, and it comes from somebody named Zi Han.

Zi Han, I hope you’re doing well and you’re safe. He got a response to an inquiry from an embassy and he wants to know if his case is on background check or normal administrative processing.


An email response from the embassy

The embassy response says, “Thank you for your e-mail. Our records indicate that your documents have been received. However, your case also requires administrative processing. It is your responsibility to keep the Embassy updated if your address or phone number changes. We recommend you contact us every two months to check on the status of your case. If you have questions, bla bla bla…”

It looks like he’s in Pakistan and it’s about an immigrant visa, so this comes from one of the members of the Facebook group that focuses on administrative processing, 221-G, and visa delays. If you’re interested in these sorts of things and you’re not a member of our Facebook group, you can easily join. Look for the link below.

I’m Josh Goldstein, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. I help people and families across the country and around the world get their visas out of administrative processing.


How I help people

I hate administrative processing and I sue consulates. I file writ of mandamus lawsuits against consulates to help people just like you, people who deserved to be approved but who’ve been given the runaround from the consulates.


In answer to the question

Let’s go back to the question. He received an email, and he’s asking, “Is my case in background check or normal administrative processing?” My opinion is that these emails are essentially meaningless. They don’t really tell you anything and I don’t pay any attention at all to these sorts of emails. They are automated emails, and not necessarily something that has anything specific to do with your case. It’s not like someone is giving you meaningful information.


Background check vs. administrative processing

What’s the difference between background check and administrative processing? There is no difference. These are just meaningless terms. There’s only one question that matters. It is, do you have your visa in your hand?

If you do have your visa in your hand, then you’re approved and all set and you can return to the United States. If you don’t have your visa, then there’s some sort of delay going on, whether they call it a background check or administrative processing. They may also say it’s refused or there might be some other kind of delay. It doesn’t matter. These are all just delays and excuses for not approving your case.

You deserve to be approved and they’re dragging their feet. It says in the email that you should check back every two months. That’s meaningless. Nothing is going to happen in two months. Maybe they’ll approve you, maybe they won’t, but it has nothing to do with this automated email.

Don’t pay any attention to these automated messages. Don’t pay any attention to what they say on the CEAC system, the State Department system. I don’t think those are meaningful ways they’re communicating with you.


The one question that counts

There’s only one question that counts: Do you have the visa in your hand? If you don’t, you have a delay and you can take action. You don’t have to sit and wait. That’s where we can help you. We file mandamus lawsuits, we sue the consulates and after we sue, they release the visa.

I have filed three lawsuits against the consulate in Islamabad in the past few weeks and I’m pushing to get all these people approved. The consulate in Islamabad delays people routinely and there’s something you can do about it.

You can take action and if you have a question about that, leave it in the comments below. Or get in touch with me and shoot me a message. I’ll be happy to help you with your case. Hope this is helpful. If you have more questions let me know.

Josh Goldstein
Social Media