The National Visa Center Process: What You Should Know

Millions of immigrants apply for visas every year, and all of them have to go through the National Visa Center. The NVC is a part of the U.S. Department of State that completes pre-processing on behalf of U.S. embassies worldwide. Once you submit your petition for a visa to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it goes to the NVC for processing. So, what does the NVC process look like?

National Visa Center at a Glance

After the USCIS approves your application, they will transfer it to the National Visa Center for processing.

  1. The NVC creates a case for you in the system.
  2. You receive a welcome letter with information about your case.
  3. Once you have your letter, you may log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to check your status and manage your case.
  4. Once all of your forms and documents go to the NVC, they will begin to review your case to ensure that they have all of the necessary information to process your case.
  5. The NVC will schedule an interview with the embassy or consulate in your country.

While these five steps seem straightforward, the wait time for NVC processing can take weeks. In addition to extreme demand for visas, the National Visa Center must evaluate large amounts of information and complicated legal forms to ensure that your information is accurate.

NVC Rules

The National Visa Center accepts many types of visas that have their own rules and requirements. For example, petitions for immediate relatives don’t require extensive review, but family-based preference categories can have long wait times. Many of the limitations of the NVC depend on the limited availability of visas. Congress sets a limit on immigrant visas issued every year, and the NVC can only process petitions for applicants when a visa is available.

Typically, immigrant visas for families, employment, or returning residents involve extensive background checks and paperwork to verify familial relationships and employment eligibility. These visas are permanent or for extended periods, which affects the number of resources necessary to approve applications. The USCIS issues nonimmigrant visas on a temporary basis and, in general, they have fewer steps for NVC processing.

The National Visa Center cannot process adjustment of status cases. The USCIS is responsible for receiving, reviewing, and approving adjustment of status applications for immigrants already in the United States. Instead of forwarding these petitions to the NVC, the USCIS will send them to the local USCIS office for processing.

You are eligible for adjustment of status if:

  • You are lawfully present in the U.S.
  • You have an approved visa petition
  • The visa petition is up to date

The National Visa Center is a valuable part of the immigration process, but many applicants may find the NVC confusing. Unfortunately, immigrating to the U.S. is extremely complicated despite middlemen like the NVC. That is why it is essential to consult an attorney before you file a petition.

What Is the Purpose of an Attorney During the NVC Process?

The immigration system exists to give immigrants the chance to pursue opportunities in the U.S. temporarily or permanently. However, forms, interviews, and informational resources are rarely clear to non-English speakers. In fact, much of the language used by the USCIS and the NVC is difficult for native English speakers to understand.

Lawyers exist to bridge the gap between their clients and the legal system. In doing so, they provide vital services to those in need of assistance with legal documents, processes, and situations. Always consult an attorney when applying for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. They can help you gather the correct information and advocate on your behalf.

When you need high-quality legal counsel, contact Maghzi Law Firm, LLC.

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