Security Advisory Opinion - Issuing Time

Issuing Time

The Department of State claims that 80% of SAOs are cleared within two weeks, but the general expected time for a clearance is unknown. While various diplomatics posts mention some average times (the website of the United States embassy in Ankara, Turkey mentions up to six to eight weeks), this only reflects the recent experience of the post, and does not reflect actual statistics.

The Department of State's Foreign Affairs Manual (which is a reference for diplomatic posts), dated August 16, 2006, mentions:

posts can expect a wait of a minimum of twenty (20) business days to receive responses, although some responses will arrive well within that time frame. However, complicated cases can take some time to resolve, particularly if there are other U.S. Government agency concerns to consider.

According to a report by the United States Government Accountability Office, as of November 30, 2004, 87% of Visas Mantis cases (one of the various kinds of SAOs) has been cleared in 30 days or less, 5% were taking 31–60 days, 5% were taking 61–90 days, 1% were taking 91–120 days and the final 2% were taking more than 120 days. The average time was 15 days, which was significantly reduced, as the same report mentions that during October 2003, the average was 75 days. On February 11, 2005, the Department of State mentioned that it "has been able to decrease the average time to obtain Visas Mantis clearance to less than 14 days".

A presentation attributed to the Department of State dated November 6 2008 says that the average time the Visas Mantis clearances take as 6 to 8 weeks.

According to the U.S. Department of State website, most cases applied for in Beijing should be cleared within 60 days, but 90 days are also expected.

As of Feb 2010, the US consulate in Dubai is reporting that Administrative Processing can delay some applications for 175 days (~6 months) or more.

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