[Also available on LinkedIn.]
Let’s say you go to an interview at a consulate expecting to get a visa stamp to come to the US. Instead of a stamp you get a pink slip with a vague explanation that your visa has been refused and your case has been placed in 221(g) administrative processing.
First, the good news — a refused does not mean denied. In this context it means delayed. The officer felt that, for whatever reason, he or she was not ready to make a decision on your case.
Now for the bad news. The bad news is that administrative processing delays are indefinite. It could take weeks or years to resolve. On top of that, the consulate usually does not share many details as to why your case is delayed and how much time it could take to resolve. They simply leave many people in limbo here.
Back to the good news. 221(g) related delays that drag on for months are solvable problems with mandamus lawsuits. Frequently, these delays appear to be nothing more than putting a particular case at the bottom of the pile. There are no major concerns with the case, the officer is simply too busy and isn’t working on it. The 60 day deadline to respond that mandamus lawsuits impose on the government is usually enough to bring your case back to the top of the pile and get it decided.