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Hi everyone :) I am from Turkey, I will start studying PhD starting August 22. My visa appointment went very well, the officer asked me only three questions, didn't ask for any additional documents and instantly gave me an approval. He even wished me good luck  . However, I got my passport back 10 days later, with a yellow-colored paper attached (and without a visa). It was explained that my application required further administrative processing, but it wasn't explained why. Is there anyone here who had a similar experience? Why could this have happened to me? How long did it take you to get your visa issued? Is there anything at all that can be done to expedite the process (although I know the answer is simply no, but one can always hope). If I can't get my visa in time, I will lose my TAship and will have to defer my PhD:( 

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In the context of the F1 visa, this usually happens to people who study certain subjects that involve knowledge concerning sensitive technology, but it can happen for a variety of additional reasons -- and that can be anything from if they suspect terrorism activity to some simple mistake in the information that you provided, or a random supervisor deciding to pick up your case to do a quality control assessment. It is impossible to know in advance if you will be considered to have the relevant knowledge that would trigger further administrative processing, so for anyone else reading this, the lesson is simply to get started as soon as possible, to allow for the possible delay. 

Most cases are supposed to be processed within 60 days, but unfortunately they don't give any guarantees or assurances. And although there is a place to keep track of your application on the USCIS website, it's not entirely clear to me that they actually update that page. There is also no way to expedite the process. Unfortunately that may mean that you miss your Aug 22 start date, and even more unfortunately, no one here can do anything to reassure you that that is not the case or to even tell you how likely that is. If you want to read more, a quick google search for "f1 administrative processing" and related searches bring back a good selection of sites on the first page of the search. 

 

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Thank you for your reply :) My visa appointment was actually on June 30, which is also the date that this process was initiated. So, I might say I still have a little hope. Also, you are right about the lack of update. My status was updated on the 13th of July, so maybe nobody did any investigation since then. I couldn't have applied earlier, because I got my I20 in the beginning of June.

I just want to say that while I understand how important it is for them to carry out whatever investigation is required, I would prefer if it weren't done in a way that will hinder the academic progress and ruin the mental well-being of the students. Why won't they be more sensitive about students and education? Many people had to wait for months from what I've been reading online. I even came across a case (from Turkey), where a boy was accepted to a top rank university and had to wait for ONE YEAR to get his visa. His passport was later stolen and he had to go through the procedure all over again. What is the point in applying for a visa to get the education you deserve, if you are going to have to wait for it until you are 30? They could just say "Don't bother applying if you have a common name or surname that might match a criminal", "Don't apply if you are from this country", "Don't apply if you are xxx", etc.

Sorry for my emotional outburst, it is really hard to suck it up and let go when you spent money/time/effort on this and everything you planned is about to slide away. It's like you are an athlete about to win a marathon and you break your neck by tripping on something and falling.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hkaya, I feel you so much. I was denied my F-1 twice in a row this summer. Everything I have achieved getting into a fully-funded program was for nothing. I can't even tell what is worse - being denied or being "processed."

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Thank you for your support :) If you can work on your application, you still have the chance to get an approval, hopefully.

I still haven't got any response and my status is still the same. This whole situation made me mentally depressed, like, literally. I can't even begin to imagine how I will be able to proceed to study a PhD at this point. It will be very hard for me to get it together.

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Hello MarVic;

It makes me feel a little better to know that at least I am not alone in this situation, thanks for posting :)

I will wait until Monday evening. If nothing changes by then, I will request a deferral from my university, since they already know about what's going on with my visa application.

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  • 3 weeks later...

2 months and nothing has changed!

I e-mailed the embassy but I am pretty sure I will get the same generic response. What am I going to do when it is January and my case is still pending?? If I'd known, I would've never applied to a U.S university at all. 

Does anyone know how I can contact an immigration attorney, if possible?

 

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  • 2 years later...

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