Communicating with the national visa center

The National Visa Center (NVC) processes approved immigrant petitions and K visa applications after they are forwarded from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is where all immigrant visa pre-processing is done including collection of paperwork and payment of fees before these are sent to the consular posts overseas for adjudication.

Certain petitions are held by the NVC for a long period of time while awaiting for their priority date to become current. During this waiting period, it is important to communicate to the NVC certain changes that will happen to either the petitioner or the beneficiary like a change of address, change in marital or civil status, death of the petitioner, birth or adoption of children, withdrawal of petition or application, among others.

One should allow up to six weeks after the receipt of an I-797 from the USCIS before contacting the NVC pertaining to a case. During such period, the USCIS sends in all documents about the case to the NVC and the latter enters it in its database.

When sending in the needed paperwork like the civil documents, do not send the originals. Submit clear photocopies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, passport, and police clearance, for example. The only original document that has to be submitted is the I-864 Affidavit of Support. Keep the original copies of the aforementioned documents and bring them to your scheduled visa interview.

To check the status of your case, you can visit the Department of State’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. Enter your case number if you have an immigrant visa case or enter your interview location and case number if you have a nonimmigrant case. This is also the same website you can use to pay for the visa fees once the NVC sends in your fee invoice. Your case number is the alpha-numeric combination that is assigned to you and is reflected in all communications from the NVC and the USCIS.

You should promptly respond to any communications from the NVC especially when a visa number becomes available in your case. The law requires the Department of State to terminate the registration of a beneficiary who does not apply for an immigrant visa within a year after notification of visa availability.

One can send emails and mails although the former is preferred as it is more convenient. However, it is important to follow a certain format as the NVC will not respond if this is not strictly followed. Use the case number or receipt number assigned to you in the subject line. Each email must indicate the petitioner’s name, the beneficiary’s name and date of birth as well as the case number, priority date, preference category and foreign state chargeability or the consular post overseas that will adjudicate your case. These must be indicated at the very top of the email. Make your inquiry brief and avoid unnecessary background information. Avoid inquiring about multiple cases in one email.

You can likewise call the NVC hotline numbers. A new phone system has recently been installed so it increased the available phone lines that can cater to client’s inquiries by 25%.