File H4 visa while H1B form 221g is pending

Hi Anil,

I was wondering if you came across anyone having a similar experience. I gave my H1b visa interview on September 23rd-2019 and was issued a 221(g). CEAC.gov shows the case is still under administrative processing which is super frustrating. It’s been more than 100 days and no update whatsoever from the US Embassy.

What logical steps can i take next to get me out of this situation ?
I am curious to know if i can apply for a H4 during the 221(g) processing ?
If so, what is the process and also can i change my status to H1b once the processing has been finished.

All responses are welcome- Thank you !!

Hi @M3p1

It depends on what type of form 221g it is.

Were you asked to provide any documents? Was your passport returned to you?

Were you asked to provide your last 15 year travel history and addresses?

Hey Anil,

It’s a 221(g) white slip. I was asked to submit my Bachelors Transcript to hydfpu@state.gov instead of the usual hydadmin@state.gov but that’s about it. No update on the case ever since. Yes, my passport was returned to me. No other things were asked like travel history, addresses etc.

A little bit more info, this is my first h1b stamping. I am a full time employee at a very big corporation. I had all the documents straight that they can possibly ask for.

Thank you !!

Hi @M3p1

What questions were asked in your visa interview?

Have you studied in US or India?

I did my Masters in US and Bachelors in INDIA. I worked for sometime on part time CPT while in college followed by OPT and then eventually H1b.

During the interview i was initially asked the questions regarding my Job, employer etc by the VO.

Then i was taken into an adjacent office space for additional questioning.
This time around another lady interviewed me asking questions about my previous jobs and employers.

I was made to give a written statement about my time in US pertaining to previous employment and time frames for each.

This went on for about an hour and then i was handed over the 221(g) white slip for additional administrative processing.

Ok, so, this is important information that you did not tell earlier. I am not sure what your expectation is from this forum.

Nobody can really suggest anything unless you tell the whole story. If you were looking for a random guesswork, then I can’t really help.

In your case, it does seem that visa officer has strong suspicion on your CPT time in US. Did you use day 1 CPT option?

Hey Anil,

I have too much at stake right now to expect random guess work, the reason i chose this forum is because you are much more knowledgeable in this area than me and i don’t want to miss out on any other ways to get me out of this. I just tailored my question short because i know i cannot do much on a 221(g) than wait. Sorry about that, no wrong intentions here.

No it’s not a day 1 CPT. I Started working towards the end of my Second Semester and i haven’t had any RFE’s regarding this during my H1b which is so confusing to me.

Do you know what usually happens in such cases and how long it takes for them to resolve if at all they do resolve ? It’s so frustrating with not knowing what’s happening and not knowing if there are any other alternatives out there.

Thank you for your reply.

Hi @M3p1

I can understand the frustration. In your case, it seems that embassy is trying to verify your status and past status legality.

As per my opinion, you might end up with same form 221g again if you apply for H4 visa. This usually happens if the visa officer is trying to verify your personal details.

You can file a writ of mandamus application to force embassy to resolve your case within 60 days.

Hi Anil,

Thank you. According to the article it looks like it’s safe to apply but i wasn’t issued a DS 5535. So, is this applicable to me ?

I would like to know if anyone else filed this and had success getting a reply within 60 days ?

Hi @M3p1

Writ of mandamus is not only for DS 5535 cases. Most people who use it though are stuck in 5535 processing.

Mandamus is a legal option available to you to force government to answer within a specific time.

Many people have got answer within 20-60 days after filing mandamus.

Hi Anil,

Thank you for your help.

Hey Manasa,

Just wanted to check with you if you have tried the writ of mandamus? I am on AP for the past 2.5 months and planning to try this option if I don’t hear back in the next 2 weeks.

Hi @221g_mat

Writ of Mandamus can help only if you file it keeping in mind the normal processing time at the specific US embassy.

Have you contacted embassy? What is the usual time they have mentioned in their response email?

I contacted Chennai consulate, below is their automated response:

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your email.

We are in receipt of the documents. Your application remains refused under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for mandatory administrative processing. U.S. immigration law requires that additional steps be completed in some cases before a file can be advanced for adjudicative review.

While we cannot predict when the processing of /your visa will be completed, please be assured that the Consulate General and the Department of State are aware of your concerns and will ensure that the application is adjudicated as soon as the administrative processing of your case has been completed.

Please be assured that we will contact you as soon as the processing of the case is complete.

You can check the status of this application on https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC/ .

We hope this information is helpful in addressing your concerns.

Sincerely,

U.S. Consulate General

Chennai

Hi @221g_mat

What was requested in form 221g? Do you work in EVC model or a full time employee?
If EVC, has any client letter been requested?

Has your client/employer been contacted by embassy till now? Usually, in client cases, embassy emails your client manager directly for confirmation of your work and duties.

I am a FTE. Embassy has not reached out to my company,
detailed project description
petitioner’s IT returns for 2 years
previous and current LCA and I-129
my w2
12 months payslips

Hi @221g_mat

You should have no problem if you are FTE. I think embassy is just trying to validate your employer documents.

Is it a small company that’s not very well known publicly?

I suggest to wait another 4 weeks and then you can contact the attorney which we have suggested on writ of mandamus page.

It is not well known publicly, its a healthcare product company mainly used by state governments. It has grown tremendously in the past 10 years. It has over 500 employees.

ok…in that case, just wait for another month and then you can take a decision.