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

What is 221 (g)


What is 221(g)?

What is 221(g)? What does it mean? If you have this question, it probably means that you or a family member or a friend went to a visa interview at a U.S. consulate abroad and instead of getting the visa, they got a sheet of paper, a worksheet, and on it, it said, “Visa refused under 221(g).” That’s section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. What does that mean? I’m going to explain that today.

In case you don’t know me, my name is Josh Goldstein. I’m an immigration lawyer and I help people across the country and around the world get their visas out of administrative processing.


What does 221(g) mean?

So what does 221(g) mean? It means that there’s something missing, and they’re not able to issue the visa at this time. It also means that the applicant has to go through additional processing, also known as administrative processing.

If you’re following what I’m saying, you’ll realize that it doesn’t make much sense. They’re saying the visa can’t be issued because it needs additional processing, but what does that mean specifically? That’s a very good question.

Administrative processing is just additional processing after the visa interview. You may keep asking, “Well, what does that mean?” or “Why is that?” and eventually…

This is what my son does. I have a 4-year-old, and he asks “Why?” 100 times. “Why this?” “Why that?” “Why is the sky blue?” He asks you a million “Why?” questions and you end up reaching a point where you can’t answer them anymore.


Questions without answers

When it comes to administrative processing, you may keep asking questions… “Why is it in administrative processing?” “What’s causing this?” “How long is it going to take?” “What’s the government checking?” “What’s really going on with my immigration case, or with my visa application?” Eventually, you’ll realize that you’ll never get any good answers from the government. They’ll never explain to you what exactly is going on.

For now, you should know that 221(g) means that you’re not denied and you’re not approved. They’re just making you wait. 221(g) is an excuse that the consulate is giving you when they want you to go through some additional background checks or additional reviews. But they never really define exactly what’s going on.

I’ve been involved with countless lawsuits against the state department and various consulates around the world. I probably know as much about administrative processing as any private bar lawyer, and I can tell you that I don’t know much about it.


It’s an excuse

It’s just an excuse that they give when they don’t want to issue the visa and they have no grounds to deny the visa. It’s just a delay. That’s what 221(g) means. It means that they want you to wait.

The solution, of course, is to fight back and I represent families and people, and I help them do that. But for now, you should know that you just have to wait. It’s very unfortunate and unfair, but that’s what 221(g) means.

If you need help or you have questions, feel free to reach out to me.