Notice & Comment

Immigration Administrative Processing: FOIA Response from Department of State, by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

shoba_wadhia_faculty2In April 2014, the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (on behalf of Maggio & Kattar) filed a FOIA request seeking information about the Department of State’s Administrative Processing Program. This same year, we researched and prepared a “Frequently Asked Questions” document that is available here.

Administrative processing, also known as Security Advisory Opinion (SAO), is the time period during which visa applications undergo additional review outside of the “normal” visa processing times. Administrative processing takes place after the visa interview. The topic of Administrative Processing pre-dates the current administration but has become more relevant as plans for “extreme vetting” and restrictions on travel surface.

On June 29, 2017, and following an email and telephonic exchange with the Department of State’s (DOS) FOIA office to narrow scope of the request, we received the following response from DOS. These materials are available here and to our knowledge represent the largest set of records from DOS on the topic.


Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and Founding Director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law: University Park. Her book Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases is now out in paperback.

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