Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Planning on H1B Stamping in India - Please read this on 221(g)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | ,

For all the H1B holder planning to stamp their H1B visa in coming months should read this important information on

H1B and H-4 Visa Applications in India Plagued by 221(g) Refusals: Part 1
Posted 14.Jan.2011

Historically, the U.S. consulates in India have had a reputation for closely scrutinizing visa applications. The standards at the consulates for H1B visas were quite strict, even prior to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS's) implementation of stricter adjudications policies. Recently, however, the consular rates of reported issuance of 221(g) visa refusals and denials have reached a critical level. At the present time,
it would be wise for H1B workers employed by IT consulting companies, as well as their H-4 spouses, that they limit international travel unless it is absolutely necessary. Those working for employers in other sectors also face risks that should be carefully considered before traveling internationally and applying for visa stamps abroad.

221(g) Ineligibility

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 221(g) is a fairly generic provision, which states that consular officers cannot issue visas to applicants who are ineligible to receive the visas under any section of law, or if the visa applications do not comply with immigration laws and regulations. Put simply, 221(g) is a catchall provision for refusing a visa if, in the opinion of the consular officer, the applicant has not proven eligibility for visa issuance. The 221(g) is classified as a visa "refusal" and must be revealed as such in any later visa applications. This was addressed in our news article, 221(g) Visa Stamp is Considered a Visa Refusal (18.Dec.2009), available on MurthyDotCom.

For many applicants, the 221(g) notification (issued on various colors of paper) is not the end of the road. It is not uncommon for 221(g) visa refusals to be used by the consulates as a way of issuing requests for evidence (RFEs). They contain preprinted lists of documents, and consular officers check off the boxes corresponding to the additional documents needed to make their final decisions.

Some 221(g) notices are for administrative processing. These do not require additional documents from the applicant. They involve internal background checks on the applicant and/or the petitioning employer, if applicable.

Cases Receiving 221(g)s

The 221(g) can be issued in any type of visa application. We are receiving daily inquiries and requests for assistance from individuals and their employers after problems arise in their visa applications. The cases coming into the Murthy Law Firm and Murthy Immigration Services, Pvt. Ltd. (MISPL) in Chennai, India, most commonly involve IT consulting company employees applying for H1B visas. However, we are also receiving inquiries from individuals in other lines of work who have received the same treatment. While these types of cases represent a smaller proportion of those experiencing problems, it has become a common occurrence.

Why Visa Applicants Receive 221(g) Refusals

The 221(g) provisions have been used for many years to request additional documentation, or to put the application on "hold," pending additional background and security checks. What is occurring at the present time, however, is the seemingly universal use of a laundry list 221(g) in many H1B cases, without regard to the content of the H1B petition itself or documents and information offered at the interview.


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