Applying for a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad generally takes 2-4 weeks to obtain the visa. If the applicant is coming to the U.S. to study or engage in research in a sensitive area, he/she may be subject to a background check, which can further delay the process.
The average time for a background check is 67 days. If the delay is considerably longer, the IO has created a procedure to assist students and scholars. The student/scholar or the department should contact the IO. Once the IO is notified, the following actions should be taken:
Request a current status report from the consulate or embassy.
If the IO receives no response from the consulate or embassy, the U.S. Department of State will be contacted.
If the IO receives no response from the Dept. of State and it has been over 3 months since the student/scholar's visa application, the FBI will be contacted regarding the status of the security check.
As a last resort, failing all other attempts to get a resolution, the International Office will ask for a congressional inquiry into the case. The student/scholar will have to complete a Privacy Release Form, available in the International Office, and it must be accompanied by a support letter from a faculty member or PI.
NOTE: Please contact the International Office first before taking any action. Embassy and Consulate Officials are not always responsive to department letters or faxes.