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Posted By Karthik

What Does 221(G) Refusal Mean


(Last Updated On: June 19, 2019)

Consider this scenario. You just had a great interview with the consular officer but right at the end, he refuses you a visa, under Section 221(G) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act. You stare at him, while a sense of panic begins to build inside you!

Stop right there. This refusal does not mean you are permanently ineligible for a visa or that you need to go through the entire application process once again. Refusal under 221(G) only means that your application lacked some essential information or needs some administrative processing, due to which it has been put on hold. 

To help you take the necessary actions, here’s a guide on what to do after 221(G) visa refusal.

What does Refusal Under 221(G) Mean

At the end of the visa interview, you will be told whether your case is missing some documents, or whether it needs additional processing. You will also be informed about the process to submit the additional documents, if any are required.

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This is done via a 221(G) form, which will be given to you, along with a written letter. The letter will state that you have 12 months from date of the interview to submit the necessary documents. Beyond this window, you will need to pay the $160 visa fee once again, since your application will get terminated under Section 203(E) once the one-year time period lapses.

There are various types of 221(G) forms, each having a different color and a specific meaning attached to it. Here’s a look.

Yellow Form

This is issued when the consulate requires more time to examine the documentation provided. The time taken by the consulate to revert to you can fluctuate, depending upon their current workload.

White Form

This denotes a complex category under 221(G). This form represents the need for further processing by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The final decision will then be taken on the basis of information given by the USCIS.

Blue Form

This form is issued when the US consulate needs some additional supporting documents before it can make its approval decision regarding your visa.

Pink Form

When the consular officer suspects the integrity of the information provided, you will be issued a pink form. The information can be related to the purpose of your visit, work or educational qualifications. You will also get a reference ID, which will help track the application online.

Steps for Submission of Documents

The required documents need to be submitted at the CGI document collection office. Here are the steps you need to follow.

  1. Print a Document Submission Letter and complete the checklist
  2. Visit your nearest document pickup location. Bring all the documents mentioned in the 221(G) letter, along with your submission slip.
  3. Drop them off at the CGI document collection office and get the 221(G) Acknowledgement slip.

Your documents will be delivered to the consulate and, once processed, the documents will be returned to your chosen pickup location. In case you have been asked by the consulate to wait, do not rush to make an appointment. After the administrative processing has been completed, they will get in touch with you.


Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of stories to share about international travel, immigration and living as an NRI in the US. Add me on WhatsApp if you have any queries (+001-408-489-4785)