Dealing with the NVC When Processing Visa Abroad
By Reuben Seguritan
The National Visa Center (NVC) was created in 1994 to centralize the immigration visa process and allow the US consular offices around the world to concentrate on adjudicating visa applications. A visa applicant submits all of the required documents to the NVC and the NVC will check the completeness of the documents and schedule the interview. The NVC does not adjudicate cases nor will it answer legal questions on eligibility of the applicants. All legal questions must be referred to the legal team at the Department of State (DOS) Visa Office in Washington, DC.
Once the NVC receives an approved petition from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it will enter the case into its system. If visa numbers are not yet available for the case or not yet “current”, the NVC will store the file of the case and monitor the priority dates. When visa numbers will forseeably become available for particular cases within a reasonable time or the case is current, the NVC will proceed with the following steps.
First, the NVC will send a notice to the applicant to choose an agent and pay the required fees online or by mail. Second, the applicant must pay for the required fees online and allow up to five days for the NVC to process the payments made online. If the payment was made by mail, the NVC will send notice when it has received the payment. After processing of the payments, then the application can proceed. Third, the applicant must complete and submit the visa application form DS-260 online. Fourth, the original I-864 Affidavit of Support and other financial documents must be submitted. If the NVC determines that the documents are complete, then the case will proceed. If not, the NVC will not move the case forward and send a notice to the applicant that certain documents are missing. It is important to note that if the applicant changes his address at any time and especially during the visa application process, he must inform the NVC immediately by mail or online.
Fifth, the applicant will then submit photocopies of all of the civil documents. The applicant will bring the originals during the scheduled interview. Examples of civil documents are birth and marriage certificates and police clearance documents. Sixth, the applicant must send all of the forms, financial documents and photocopies of the civil documents in one package only to the NVC. If the documents are not submitted in one package, this may cause delays in the processing. If the applicant decides to choose e-mail processing, then everything must be sent electronically and not by mail anymore. When the NVC determines that the case is complete and all of the steps have been complied with, then it will send the case to Post. If it is not complete, the NVC will not forward the case to Post. However, for cases of K-1 fiance(e) visas, orphans and refugee cases where the NVC does not collect documents, it will send the case to Post after basic data entry within three business days. If a visa is available for the applicant and his case involves a life or death medical emergency, processing of the case may be expedited. The NVC will forward the request to expedite the case to the Post and the Post will make the decision to grant or deny the request.
A visa petition may be terminated if the applicant or his attorney fails to communicate with the NVC for more than one year. If the case is terminated wrongfully, the applicant or his attorney must send an e-mail to NVCAttorney@state.gov and state why the case should not have been terminated. The dates of contact and submission of documents and other evidence of communication with the NVC or USCIS must be included to overturn the termination of the case.
If the visa becomes available but the applicant or his children might age-out, the NVC will pull the case 120 days in advance of when the child will age-out and begin expedited processing.
If the applicant or his attorney has any questions for the NVC, they may contact the NVC via e-mail. If the NVC does not respond to the inquiry after 8 days or the reply of the NVC does not address the inquiry, then the applicant or his attorney should send a follow-up e-mail. If the NVC still does not respond or the response is again not pertinent to the inquiry, then a third e-mail should be sent with the subject line “Attention PI Supervisor”. A supervisor should then respond to this e-mail within 5 to 7 business days. Another option is to call the NVC.