In this week’s article, we explore one common issue that happens to noncitizens
seeking entry into the United States from abroad. For those noncitizens who have
received an I-130 or I-140 approval and have a current priority date, many of them
have to undergo processing at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.
One issue they may run into is a hold under 221(g) of the Immigration and
In some ways, an administrative hold under 221(g) of the Act is similar to a Request
for Evidence (“RFE”) response that USCIS utilizes when a visa petition lacks
supporting evidence. The consulate or embassy can use 221(g) to place an
administrative hold to request documents related to statements made in the
support letter, information made on the USCIS Forms, or for other reasons. For
example, some H-1B visa seekers may have to explain projects they have worked
on, large spans of unemployment in their work histories, or specific projects they
intend to work on for other reasons. In other cases, a 221(g) hold may be placed for
medical or criminal reasons.
The first step the noncitizen should do is to seek the advice of a competent
immigration attorney, especially for complicated 221(g) issues. The noncitizen
should then contact the embassy that issued the 221(g) hold to find out what the
exact procedure is to alleviate that hold. Sometimes, this can be resolved mostly
through email. Other times, more specific instructions must be followed, such as an
interview or awaiting for processing from another government agency. Also, every
embassy is different in their procedures and can differ from country by country or
even by local region. It is important that the noncitizen and his or her immigration
attorney remain fully informed and work together to resolve the 221(g) issue.
Once the procedures have been clarified, it is up to the client and the attorney to
marshal the appropriate documents together and draft an appropriate response.
Assembling the documents may take months in situations where the attorney
and/or noncitizen have to coordinate with employers, medical professionals, police
departments, courts, federal government agencies, or any other third-parties that
may have records relating to the 221(g) issue. The immigration attorney may then
draft an appropriate response summarizing all of the information.
If you have questions about your 221(g) hold or if you have immigration questions
in general, contact our office today to speak with attorney-at-law Sweta Khandelwal.