Was your prior visa annotated clearance received or department authorization

Navigating the complexities of visa protocols can be a daunting endeavor. One area of potential confusion involves the annotations that may appear on your visa, particularly two specific terms: “Clearance Received” and “Department Authorization.” Understanding these annotations is key to comprehending your visa status and any related restrictions or permissions.

“Clearance Received” and “Department Authorization” are terms used by U.S. Consulates or Embassies worldwide to indicate that additional processing of a visa application has taken place. However, the exact meaning and implications of these two annotations differ significantly.

Clearance Received

A visa stamped with the annotation “Clearance Received” indicates that the visa holder has been through an extra layer of security or administrative processing. This annotation is commonly associated with visa applications that require additional scrutiny for various reasons, possibly due to the applicant’s nationality, travel history, intended activity in the U.S., or other security-related factors.

For example, certain visa applicants from countries considered a security risk may be subject to administrative processing under Section 221(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. Once this process is complete and the clearance received, the visa will be annotated as “Clearance Received.”

It’s essential to note that the “Clearance Received” annotation does not impact the visa holder’s admissibility to the U.S. Rather, it merely confirms that additional administrative processing took place and was satisfactorily completed.

Department Authorization

The term “Department Authorization” is another type of annotation that may appear on U.S. visas. It indicates that the visa holder’s application was subject to special clearances or waivers from the Department of State or another U.S. government department. Such clearances might be necessary due to the applicant’s health condition, criminal history, previous U.S. immigration law violations, or other factors that initially render the applicant inadmissible.

Once the respective U.S. department has granted authorization for the visa issuance, the visa will be annotated as “Department Authorization.” This annotation signifies that the visa holder has received specific approval from the relevant department to travel to the U.S., notwithstanding their prior inadmissibility.

In this case, the visa holder must adhere strictly to the terms of their visa. Any violation might lead to severe consequences, including deportation and future inadmissibility.


When you receive your visa, it’s crucial to understand the implications of any annotations on it, including “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization.” Both terms indicate that your visa application underwent additional processing, but they represent different processes and potential restrictions.

In both cases, receiving the visa means that any additional checks or authorizations have been satisfactorily completed. However, understanding what led to these annotations can help you better understand your visa status and ensure your compliance with U.S. immigration laws during your stay.

Remember, the visa application process is complex and subject to changes. Always verify the latest information from trusted sources or consult with immigration professionals to ensure you have the most accurate and current advice.


By Carol Cooperman