Many H-1B workers after an interview that lasts just minutes, learn that their visa application has been put in administrative processing and they are given a blue, pink or white sheet of paper with further instructions. Many times they want additional documents that relate to the worker but more often than not they are asking for documents to be provided by the employer.
According to the State department additional processing is usually resolved within 60 days of the application although some cases may take longer. Waiting sixty days (or longer) may place your job or an end client project in jeopardy. There is no one single reason that applications require administrative processing which is just another way to say the Visa Officer needs additional information to make a decision on your case. The legal reason is called a 221(g) refusal. Make no mistake, it is a visa refusal and must be reported as such on any future applications you make. You have 12 months to submit the requested documents without having to pay a new visa application fee. After one year the application is terminated.
The only thing you can do to ensure your case is not selected for administrative processing is to make sure that your DS-160 is completed correctly and review your I129 filing to make sure that you are working at the location listed on the LCA and you are being paid the prevailing wage. If a Request for Evidence was made regarding the initial filing, be familiar with the issue raised by USCIS. Make sure you have all the documents listed on the website.
There are other reasons that a case may be selected. You may require further background checks. The visa officer may wish to look into your employment history both in the United States and abroad. The case may not be updated in PIMS or the officer may request a document that is not routinely submitted such as an employer tax return.
Documents can be submitted electronically or by a drop-box. After this then you wait and once processing is complete and you are approved, you will be asked to submit your passport and the visa stamp will be placed in the passport. There are various ways to track the status but it is frustrating when there is no meaningful information provided.
If you are still refused a visa because they found you ineligible, the case is sent back to USCIS with a recommendation to revoke the approval. All original documents are returned to you and once USCIS receives the petition, they will send a notice of receipt to the petitioner. USCIS will eventually (and I mean eventually) send a Notice of Intent to Deny or a Notice of Intent to Revoke. By this time your employer may have moved on and has no interest in responding.
Every visa applicant fears the risk of administrative processing and some workers chose not to travel. The State Department has indicated that it is a small minority of applications that are subject to administrative processing. The best thing you can do is be over prepared. Hopefully your employer is willing to provide you with a travel package that will assist you in visa stamping.