Student VISA

221(g) Visa for US: Success Rate, Processing Time & Reasons for Refusal

Yocket Editorial Team

We are sure by now most of you students might have received a handful of admits and might have even decided on your universities. By the time some of you read this article, the visa process for US might already have been done, but this is for the students who are yet to be done with their visa interviews.

The key to a successful clearance of the visa interview is projecting strong confidence during the Interview. You have selected your university wisely, you have done your research on the university you are going to, you have your academic scores in hand, you have your GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS scores in hand and you know your future goals. Expressing these factors confidently during those couple of minutes of the visa interview will do wonders for you. Stay with us till the end, as this blog will enlighten you on the US F1 visa process, and section 221g. 

This video from Mr. Hiren Rathod will be equally useful for you to understand the entire study abroad process.

Let me start describing the process for the Visa formalities for you.

 Table of Contents 

The Visa Process for US 

This particular section will make you acquainted with the entire US visa application process, and the steps involved in the completion of USA student visa process from India. 

Visa Form Filling

Similar to the manner you worked on your university applications, you need to fill in the visa form known as the DS-160, to start your US visa application process. You can find the form on the US consular website and you can fill it in parts as the form can be saved after each step. There are multiple steps in this form and you need to sit with the I-20 of the university you are going to along with your passport while filling out this form.

Book the Visa Appointment

The next step in the USA student visa process from India is booking the visa appointment. You can find this form on CGI federal website. You need to create your new login id here and fill in the form. Remember that you are applying for a non-immigrant visa and under that the visa category you are applying for is F-1. 

  • This form can’t be filled completely as you will come to a point in the form wherein they will ask you to pay the Visa fees ($160 = Rs. 10,400) at either Citibank or Axis Bank. 
  • While doing so, you need to generate a receipt, print it, take it to the nearest Axis Bank or the designated Citibank of your City and pay the amount (Rs. 10,400) at the Teller Counter. 
  • Once you pay these fees, in the next 4 hours your online account will be activated and you can go ahead and book the Visa dates for your visa interview
  • You need to select 2 dates wherein 1 date is for your actual Visa interview while the 2nd is for the OFC appointment wherein you’ll get your finger scanning done along with clicking your Photo for the Visa at the US Travel Doc Office near the registered Consulate.

Note: Remember that the OFC date should be prior to the main interview date and even a 1 day gap between both is fine.

Pay the SEVIS Fees

Next step in your USA student visa process is paying the SEVIS fee. You can pay the SEVIS Fees at the Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security by using your credit card. You need to fill in your I-20 details in this form which include your SEVIS Number and the School Telecode Number. The payment to be done here through a credit card is USD 200.

Kindly remember that the website provides you with an option to select the time for your interview and the OFC appointment. Hence, be careful while selecting the same. For your OFC Appointment, you need to carry along with you the DS-160 Confirmation, i-20, Passport, SEVIS Fee Receipt, Visa Appointment Letter and the Axis/Citi Bank Receipt.

Suggested: Financial Documents Required for US Visa Interview 

The US Visa Interview Process 

The last step in your USA student visa process is the visa interview. During your visa Interview, you need to carry the above mentioned documents along with your Academic Documents, Financial Documents (from the sponsors), standardised test Scorecards, decision letters from other Universities, Resume and SOP

The Visa interview might not last more than 2 minutes but yes, all the efforts put in by in the last 1 year boils down to these 2 minutes. Pressure and stress are justified but careful research and going in strong with your goals will help you calm your nerves up to a very large extent and it will surely get you a successful result at the interview.

The US Visa unlike the other country Visas give you the decision immediately after the interview. 

  • The result can either be Accepted/Approved. The Visa Officer will keep your passport with him/her and you can collect the stamped passport next day from the OFC Office or they can give you a visa rejection by issuing the Form 214b which is a general letter describing that you are a potential immigrant. 
  • In such an unfortunate event, don’t lose hope and don’t argue with the office. Accept the decision gracefully and move out of the consulate. Your actions post this might influence their decision during the next attempt of the interview.
  • There can be a 3rd result too wherein they can give you the form 221g. Don’t be scared by this, this is not a rejection. Keep reading to know more about section 221g. 

What is Section 221(g)?

221(g) is issued by the consulate in case any doubts regarding your background or future goals or documents persist among the visa officials. 221(g) can be issued for minutest reasons like slightly tapered or torn mark sheets or passports. You need to be careful with regards to these factors while going for the US visa application process and interview. 

  • With the issuance of 221g, the Visa Officer needs you to submit some extra documents within a span of 15 days (generally) at the Consulate. 
  • They can ask you to submit your SOP, Employment records or academic records. 
  • Statistically, Ph.D. candidates are more prone to the 221g as the Visa Officer needs to understand the projects that you wish to pursue and details about your research guide. 

Suggested: All about the 214b Visa Rejection! 

What are the Reasons for 221(g)? 

Given below are the most common reasons for 221(g) visa rejection: 

  • You might get a 221g refusal when your application under the USA student visa process from India is incomplete. 
  • If your documents are incomplete
  • All visa pages in your passport are filled 
  • If you are working in a Technology Alert List (TAL) industry like biotechnology, engineering, pharmaceutical, etc. 
  • Your PIMS or Petition Information Management Service is incomplete

What Next If you get a 221(g)in your Visa Process?

The US consulate officers will offer you a 221(g) slip under section 221(g) which explains the process for the next course of action. You would also be required to fill up a form on their website and submit the same along with the required documents within the stipulated time. 

  • The consulate will take some time to review these documents, they will send you the result through email. 
  • Once your 221g visa approved through this process, all you need to do is, go to the OFC Center with your passport, submit it there and they’ll stamp your passport and hand it over to you in a couple of days’ time.

What are 221(g) Success Rate?

The frequency of 221(g) refusals has been recognized by the Department of State, leading to concerns about potential overuse. According to data from the Visa Office, during the fiscal year 2008, a total of 589,418 nonimmigrant visa applications were refused under 221(g) section. Approximately 510,549 cases, were ultimately resolved successfully, resulting in the issuance of the requested visas and a success rate of 87%.

Here is a some historical year wise breakdown data of 221g given and overcome:


221(g) given

221(g) overcome

overcome %

Ineligible Rejected


























What is the 221(g) Processing time?

There is no definite processing time for the 221(g). It can take upto few weeks to even months in some cases. If no additional document are required by the consultate, the application can be processed & resolved withing 60 days.

Suggested: 9 Important Visa Interview Tips for You! 

As an international student, the timeline for the 221(g) visa approved is undefined and it can take up to a month for the US consulate to give their decision. Patience is the key here. Also, we suggest that there is no need to panic with the 221(g) visa, as for most applicants, after successfully completing the desired tasks, the 221(g) visa gets approved. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Visa Process for US and 221g 

How long does it take to clear the 221g? 

Why did I get a 221g? 

What is 221g? 

How to check 221g status? 

How long does 221g processing take? 

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