Visa Delay

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.