H-1B 221g - NOT sure if an official 221g or not?


Last time in January 2019 my passport was returned after the dropbox appointment at the Delhi VAC and the visa was not issued to start with. I was given a white slip/letter by the Delhi Embassy and it said “we are unable to process your visa application at this time, as we require your presence at the Embassy.” At the bottom of the slip, it does show ‘221g July 2017.’ Also, to add the online visa status went into ‘admin processing.’

The letter does not state anything about 'visa refusal under the section 221g of INA…"

This has really confused me as 221g is technically considered as a refusal even if the visa was eventually approved. As we have visa refusal question in DS-160 form as well as on ustraveldocs.com, I initially scheduled my dropbox appointment by saying no to the refusal question and I had to cancel that appointment, repay and reschedule the appointment after changing my answer to a yes. I have not submitted DS-160 yet.

Now, an attorney just told me that the white slip that I was issued is not an official 221g refusal slip (irrespective of the fact that at the bottom it does show 221g and I was under admin processing) as it does not talk about refusal anywhere and hence technically I was never placed under refusal stage back then and therefore my answer should be a no for the refusal question.

So, at this point I am not sure if this white slip I received is an official 221g or not an actual 221g. Please advise.


Unless explicitly denied under 221g, it is always considered temporary refusal under administrative processing when a 221g (four different colors each used for specific reasons of refusal) is issued. Most of the time this is overcome based on the addtional documents being provided by the applicant as per request from CO via 221g or CO working on varifying supporting documents and validating the facts with other US agencies like USCIS.

White form is generally used for validating certain information re: H1B petition with USCIS.

In your case if the 221g was overcome and a visa was issued, you must select NO for visa refusal in past question.

Whenever you aren’t sure on the DS-160 questions, consult your attorney instead of ending up with incorrect answers and creating more confusion at your end.

Thank you so much for the response. I totally understand the definition of 221g and according to my employer’s attorney, they mentioned to be affirmative in my answers to the DS-160 refusal question and also on ustraveldocs.com. Their advice is to say ‘yes’ as a 221g being issued is a visa refusal, even if it was approved and issued after the in-person interview according to the following link.
Administrative Processing Information

I got confused as I have seen a lot of 221g (latest and from the last 3-4 years) and any 221g from any consulate or any color does have a common statement that clearly states ‘your case has been refused under section 221g if the INA Act until the below indicated process is completed.’ This particular statement is missing from the letter which I received back in January 2019, even though the form itself has a footnote at the bottom that says ‘221g July 2017.’ So, I am not sure if this is just because maybe that refusal statement got added later on or it does not matter as 221g itself is a refusal.

So, if I think in both yes and no directions, either answer seems to be correct but I don’t want to risk anything for myself by saying no and I don’t want to create issues by saying yes either when it’s not required and creating a red-flag for the CO for no reason. In short I want to know whether the doc that I was being issued wants me to say no or yes to the visa refusal question.