Bridgetown U.S. Embassy – Ask the Consul: Processing Non-Immigrant Visas
How long does it take to process my nonimmigrant visa after it has been approved? My case is in administrative processing. What does that mean and how long will it take?
The Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel and providing prompt and courteous service. At the same time, we must ensure that applicants are both qualified for the visa and do not pose a security risk to the United States.
If you are informed at the end of your visa interview that your visa is approved, it means you have been tentatively approved. If your security checks clear without any difficulty, we will issue your visa and return your passport to you via courier within five (5) business days. We ask our approved applicants to make arrangements with a courier to pre-pay an airway bill for delivery of their passport. If you need your passport returned to you without the visa in order to travel home, you will have to send the passport back to us via courier. When you send the passport, please include a pre-paid airway bill and mailer for delivery back to you. In typical situations, you can expect to receive your passport back with the visa within five to seven (5-7) business days after we receive it.
In case of a true medical or other emergency, the Consular Section will do its best to work with you to accommodate urgent travel. Please note that we are unable to guarantee that your visa will be ready in time for your travel.
Applicants sometimes require additional screening to determine whether they are eligible for the visa. The term “administrative processing” refers to various additional checks that must be done before their visas can be issued. Administrative processing does NOT mean that the U.S. government has identified the applicant as a security risk. Many factors can trigger these checks. The consular officer will not be able, however, to provide specific information regarding what additional checks are to be performed. In some cases, the consular officer may need to request additional information from the visa applicant. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview, but the timing can vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. The Department of State is continuously working to improve processing and expedite visas and we appreciate your patience. The best way to ensure your visa will be ready in time for your trip is to apply as early as possible. Many applicants wait until the last minute to apply for their visas. In order to ensure that you receive your visa in time for your trip, please apply as soon as possible. That way, if your case requires administrative processing, it is less likely to interfere with your travel plans.
We highly recommend that you do not make travel plans until you have received your passport with the visa.