What is section 221(g)?
Section 221(g), of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a temporary hold or refusal on a visa
application. In order to receive a visa and enter the United States, an immigrant must attend a visa
interview. If a visa application needs further work or review, the application will be suspended under
section 221(g). When this happens, the visa petition has been approved by the US Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS), but the consulate is not convinced that the immigrant is qualified to
receive a visa on the day of the interview.
Is my visa petition rejected?
No. By placing a visa application on hold through section 221(g) the consulate takes the time to obtain
and review additional documents and information to make sure that everything is valid before a visa is
issued to the immigrant. Section 221(g) enables the consulate to suspend the petition instead of rejecting
How do I know that my petition is suspended?
When an immigrant’s visa petition is suspended, they will be handed a colored slip at the end of the
interview process. The paper explains that the application is on hold under section 221(g). There is no set
timeline for how long it will take for the consulate to reach a decision. It can take weeks, months, or more
than a year.
The standard message on a suspension slip is:
“Your application for a nonimmigrant visa has not been refused. At present, your application must be suspended
under section 221g of the immigration and nationality Act, as amended (INA), for further review at the Department
of State or by another agency. Embassy xxxxxx will resume action on your application after we are informed that
this review is completed. Please be advised, however, we do not control the pace or scope of this review. When the
process is complete, we will contact you with further instructions or to advise you that your visa is ready for pick-
Why does the consulate question my visa petition?
The number of visa petitions placed under section 221(g) increases every year. The main reason is a
sense of national distrust towards immigrants. The idea that immigrants are “taking all of our jobs” has
tightened the immigration process. Although there is no specific policy against immigrant employment, the
Department of Security has made the process of employing immigrants harder. The establishment of the
Department of Homeland Security also increased the caution exercised by the government when granting
visa petitions. Section 221(g) is seen and used as an additional security procedure.
What does section 221(g) say?
Section 221(g) of the INA can be found on the U.S. Department of State website. The exact wording of
section 221(g) is as follows:
(g) No visa or other documentation shall be issued to an alien if (1) it appears to the consular officer, from
statements in the application, or in the papers submitted therewith, that such alien is ineligible to receive a
visa or such other documentation under section 212, or any other provision of law, (2) the application fails
to comply with the provisions of this Act, or the regulations issued thereunder, or (3) the consular officer
knows or has reason to believe that such alien is ineligible to receive a visa or such other documentation
under section 212, or any other provision of law: Provided, That a visa or other documentation may be
issued to an alien who is within the purview of section 212(a)(4), if such alien is otherwise entitled to
receive a visa or other documentation, upon receipt of notice by the consular officer from the Attorney
General of the giving of a bond or undertaking providing indemnity as in the case of aliens admitted under
section 213: Provided further, That a visa may be issued to an alien defined in section 101(a)(15)(B) or
(F), if such alien is otherwise entitled to receive a visa, upon receipt of a notice by the consular officer
from the Attorney General of the giving of a bond with sufficient surety in such sum and containing such
conditions as the consular officer shall prescribe, to insure that at the