Visa Delays and Denials


Travel Warning: Since early March 2017, there have been indications that the process for obtaining a new visa, or even renewing a visa for continued study or research could begin to take longer. See a summary of the issues as reported by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The U.S. State Department has requested a more extensive review process for some or all visa applications (details are not yet clear.) OISS is recommending that any international students or scholars who will need to apply for a U.S. visa take the following steps:

  • The travel ban was amended to remove Chad as one of the affected countries. You can read the full text from the State Department here. Later in April the Supreme Court began to hear oral arguments about the travel ban.
  • If you have traveled to, or spent significant time in one of the countries listed above please speak to an OISS Adviser before making travel plans
  • Whenever possible apply for your U.S. visa in your home country
  • Complete your DS-160 and set your appointment as soon as possible
  • Be aware that travel from certain countries (As of mid-March 2017) restricts electronic devices as carry-on (check with your airline directly)
  • Some are advising international travelers they they could be asked to give U.S. inspectors cell phones and passwords as part of admission to the U.S.
  • Continuing students should consider traveling with a print-out of their Yale SIS record, transcript or other evidence to show they have been studying
  • Continuing employees and scholars should consider traveling with a print-out of their Workday record showing their department and Yale affiliation

OISS has a separate page analyzing and tracking all of the new immigration changes.


While all individuals applying for a U.S. visa are screened before the issuance of a visa, certain applicants may be subject to further screening or Administrative Processing.  Issues that may trigger administrative processing include:

  • Nature of research/study may be considered a “sensitive technology”
  • Inconsistent spelling of your name
  • Your name is similar to others in the consular system requiring further investigation
  • If you are from North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, Iran and Libya, you will likely be subject to an additional security clearance process that can take several months.  

If administrative processing is requested by the consulate, your visa will not be issued until the clearance is received from Washington D.C. On average this takes about 60 days, but can take longer. While, there is no way to expedite this process, you may find some guidance under Administrative Processing on the website of the consulate at which you applied for your visa.

Once issued, the clearance can be (at the discretion of the embassy) valid for up to four years for F-1 students and up to two years for students and scholars in J-1 status, as long as there have been no substantial changes in your academic or research program.


Denials are extremely rare. If there is a denial, it often is based on the student's or scholar's presumed intent to immigrate to the United States, known as 214(b). It is often difficult to disprove this assumption as it is by nature very subjective. Please review the resources below to consider whether you can overcome the denial, and contact your adviser in OISS to coordinate your appeal.

U.S. Department of State Resources is the primary source of information regarding travel delays, alerts, and warnings.  Please refer to: