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J1 Visa is not approved

“J1 Visa is not approved” – WHAT?!

I couldn’t believe what was happening! Oh well, now I can say I left all that stressful moment behind and here I am, at my internship in NYC writing about it.

Probably the most frustrating part of the process “J1 Visa is not approved“. Like I said in my previous post, I would like to tell you about my own experience because I’ve gone through a couple issues that even though they weren’t serious, I was really scared of not getting my visa approved. So I thought it would be a good idea to write about it so if anyone goes through the same situation, they can keep calm before freaking out (like I did!).

“I can’t approve your visa today” was the last thing the counselor officer said at my interview, he handed me a 221-g form, didn’t explain why nor gave me any reasons and said I should be hearing from them in less than a week. He didn’t even let me ask anything.

I was literally in shock when I heard the words your J1 Visa is not approved. I couldn’t believe what was happening! Oh well, now I can say I left all that stressful moment behind and here I am, at my internship in NYC writing about it. When I left the embassy that day I automatically started looking online for any reason why that could have happened to me and what that form was:

Even though most of the J1 Visa applications are approved at the moment, according to the US embassy website, “some of them require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case.”

Any person that needs a visa to travel to the USA has to go through an interview process at the US embassy, where the officer reviews all the submitted documents and information and makes the call whether to approve or reject the visa. As part of the process, they often issue 221g form when they want to do additional processing, and cannot make the decision at the time of the interview.

If the consulate needs additional documents for the processing, they will ask you to submit them. The form will have all that information, and will also say if another in-person interview will be needed. After this, you just need to wait for them to process your paperwork and contact you back. Once the processing is complete and your visa is approved, they will stamp it in your passport and send it back to you.

A person can be put under administrative processing, because of several reasons. In my particular situation when a J1 Visa is not approved, I kept Architect-US updated all the time about my visa status and they were very supportive. After talking to them and telling them about every detail of my interview, we got to the conclusion that they just needed to double-check the records regarding my previous stay in the US since I have dual citizenship (Argentine and Italian). They told me such administrative processing is quite common, but of course, as I don’t know much about the process I was absolutely nervous.

So now you know, if you ever have a problem like that and you’re scared, don’t worry. If you did not violate any visa rules on your previous visits to the US, there shouldn’t be any problem at all!

After a week since the day of my interview, I got an email saying my visa had been issued and my passport was on its way to the post office. Just a few short days after that I was travelling to pursue one of my dreams.

Don’t let anything stop you!!!

Denisse Gerard

Intern at JMAPCNew York

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