K1 Administrative Processing: Reasons, How To Address Them & Timelines

When a US citizen applies for a K1 visa for his or her fiancé to come visit the United States to be married within 90 days of arrival, they have to keep their fingers crossed that everything goes well. Getting a Request for Evidence or being sent out to administrative processing derails the process and delays the outcome.
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HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationK1 Administrative Processing: Reasons, How To Address Them & Timelines

What Is K1 Administrative Processing?

After an interview is conducted, a consular officer may request for further information and investigation into the K1 application. In order to further review the case, the consular officer issues a written notice under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that there is a need for some additional administrative processing and no visa can be granted until then. 

Also known as Security Advisory Opinion (SAO), the US embassy may request for more documents and/or other evidence that has to be reviewed before a decision can be reached on the K1 visa. When the agency needs more time to review the merits of the application and investigate matters further, they send the K1 application into administrative processing. 

Reasons Why Your K1 Visa Application Went For Administrative Processing

While administrative processing doesn’t mean an all-out denial of the K1 petition, it does cause delays and anxiety for the applicants. The additional time and documentary evidence is sought from the applicants or this may pertain to further background checks on the applicants itself. 

Please note

As per protocol, the State Department refers to the 3-5-day period between a consular officer’s K1 case approval and it is stamped into the passport as “administrative processing”.

Below are some of the reasons your K1 visa application may get sent for ‘Administrative Processing’:

  • To investigate and to further verify information submitted in the K1 application. This could be to check for fraud, verify the legitimacy of a marriage, the applicant’s educational background or work experience, the authenticity of a marriage or birth certificate, etc. 
  • If the applicant has withdrawn his or her visa application;
  • A background check that has a history of arrests or convictions;
  •  Even after the consular officer approves the visa, it could be sent for administrative processing if chosen for review by a supervisor at the consulate;
  • Any national security alerts or hits on the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) can also lead to delays because administrative processing

Timeline: After K1 Administrative Processing?

The timeline that the Embassy takes during K1 Administrative Processing can vary widely. Moreover, with the current backlogs, this is delayed even more.  In a perfect world, the delay in adjudicating a K1 visa application after being sent in for administrative processing is about 30-60 days. In order to expedite this and save on time, the applicant should respond to an RFE and all requested information at his earliest convenience. Go all out and produce everything asked for and support it with any evidentiary documentation. After this, he has to be patient and wait for the system to take its due course.

Important to note: If the K1 application is by any chance denied after being placed in Administrative Processing, you can refile for another K1 Fiancé Visa or get married and then file for a CR-1 Marriage Visa. This however, means further delays and additional paperwork.

Check K1 Case Status

The State Department allows you to check the case status  to see how far your K1 application has come along. However, it cannot estimate how long the administrative processing will take. 

If you do not hear back from the agency after 180 days for after administrative processing to be completed, you may inquire with the Consulate. Please be patient, given the indefinite backlogs, the delays may just be prolonged.

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