A change in the way the State Department updates its online visa status system for applicants who are undergoing administrative processing is causing confusion.

Administrative processing is an additional layer of screening that is not uncommon for certain nationals, including Chinese, Indian and others, as well as anyone whose application raises additional concerns. The additional measures can add several weeks and sometimes months to normal processing times.

Key points:

  • Visa applicants may check the status of their visa application on the State Department’s online application center (Consular Electronic Application Center, or CEAC). In the past, for visa applicants whose cases were in administrative processing, the system would indicate that their case was “undergoing necessary administrative processing.”
  • As of early this week, the system is now indicating that such cases have been “adjudicated and refused,” while also indicating that they “will remain refused while undergoing administrative processing” and that the applicant “will receive another adjudication notice once the administrative processing is complete.”
  • Additionally, for these cases, the “Case Last Updated” field has not changed in the system, indicating no new action on the case.

BAL Analysis: The change in the electronic status update system appears to be merely a change in language and not a reflection of a change in status of cases in administrative processing—technically all administrative processing cases are provisionally denied. Applicants who were told by a consular officer that their case is in administrative processing and who see the new language in the system should assume that their case was only provisionally denied pending a final decision in the case, and may contact the National Visa Center if they have questions or concerns.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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