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National Visa Center
How Does the National Visa Center Fit into the U.S. Immigration Process?

After the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your immigrant visa petition, the USCIS forwards your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH for immigrant visa pre-processing at the correct time. Immediate relative categories do not have yearly numerical limits. However, family preference and employment immigrant categories have numerical limits each year; and therefore, wait times are involved, which can be lengthy, for processing to be able begin, as explained below.

USCIS Sent My Immigrant Visa Petition to the NVC. Now What Happens?

If your Priority Date meets the most recent Qualifying Date, the NVC will:
  1. Invoice you for your visa application fees
  2. Collect your visa application and supporting documentation
  3. Hold your visa petition until an interview can be scheduled with a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General abroad.
If your Priority Date DOES NOT meet the most recent Qualifying Date, the NVC will notify you and hold your petition until your Priority Date meets the most recent Qualifying Date. The Department of State updates the Qualifying Dates on a monthly basis.

How Do I Know if My Priority Date Meets the Most Recent Qualifying Date? And What Does That Mean?

If your Priority Date is earlier than the Qualifying Date for your visa class and your foreign state chargeability, your Priority Date meets the most recent Qualifying Date and your petition is ready to begin processing at the NVC. Learn more by reviewing the Visa Bulletin.

How Do I Know What My Priority Date Is?

The USCIS assigned your immigrant visa petition a Priority Date when you filed it with USCIS. If you are unsure of your Priority Date, you should refer to the Approval Notice that you received from the USCIS.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS?
Why Don't You Have My Case at the NVC yet?


When you complete a petition (I-130, I-140, etc.) for an immigrant visa, you send it to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security for approval. If the USCIS approves the petition and you wish to process for a visa outside the United States, the USCIS will send you a Notice of Approval (I-797) and send the petition to the NVC. It often takes longer for the petition to arrive at the NVC than for you to receive your Notice of Approval. Therefore, we recommend that you wait at least three weeks after you get your Notice of Approval before calling the NVC.

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I Am the Beneficiary (applicant) and My Case Is at NVC. Now What Happens?

If a visa is available for your petition (or if the Department of State believes that one will be available in the next several months), the NVC will send you, the beneficiary, a Choice of Agent and Address letter containing the form DS-3032 and instructions for completing the form. If you are the beneficiary of an I-130 petition, the NVC will send your petitioner an Affidavit of Support (AOS) Processing Fee Bill Invoice along with instructions for paying the AOS fee.

If visas are not available for your visa category, the NVC will notify you that the NVC received your petition and will hold it until a visa becomes available.

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How Do I Pay the Fees Associated with the National Visa Center’s (NVC) Services?

The NVC will send the Affidavit of Support (AOS) Processing Fee Bill Invoice (if applicable) and the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee Bill Invoice when the fees become due. You must follow the payment instructions in the fee bill letter you will receive from the NVC.

Note: It is important to follow the NVC’s instructions carefully. Sending the NVC documentation (or paying fees) when they were not requested by the NVC will delay your visa.

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How Much Are the Fees for Immigrant Visas?

For current fee amounts for Immigrant Visa Application Processing, Affidavit of Support Review, and Immigrant Visa Security Surcharge, contact us for more information.

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I Am in the United States and Would Like to Adjust My Status. How Do I Do That?

When a visa is available for your petition (or if the Department of State believes that one will be available in the next several months), the NVC will send you a letter asking what you plan to do. If you respond that you plan to adjust your status, the NVC will hold your file until a USCIS office requests it. If you do not reply, after 30 days, the NVC will begin processing your petition.

Requests for adjustment of status are processed by USCIS not by the NVC. You should contact the USCIS office nearest you for adjustment of status information.

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I Am Adjusting My Status with USCIS, What Do I Do About the Fees Requested by the NVC?

If you are planing to adjust status with USCIS, do not submit any fee payments to the NVC. Notify the NVC of your intent to adjust status and contact the USCIS for further information.

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When I Filed a Petition for My Relative, I Was a Legal Permanent Resident (green card holder). I Recently Became a U.S. Citizen. How Can I Upgrade the Petition?

You should make a copy of your Naturalization Certificate. Send the copy - NOT the original - to the NVC with a letter containing the case number and beneficiary name of the petition you want to upgrade.

Please contact us for more information on this topic.

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I Have Been Waiting for a Very Long Time for My Relative to Get an Immigrant Visa. Now There is a Family Emergency and I Need My Relative to Immigrate Soon to the U.S. Can NVC Help Me?

If a visa is available for your relative’s category, and their case involves a life or death medical emergency, processing of your case may be expedited. To request a review for expedite, please submit a letter (or statement) to the NVC from a physician (or medical facility). The letter must include the physician’s (or medical facility’s) contact information, and declare a life or death medical emergency exists. This documentation may be in the form of a scanned attachment to an e-mail.

If a visa is not available, unfortunately there is nothing that the NVC can do to expedite the petition. Immigrant visa processing is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended, which controls availability of visas. There is no provision within the law that would allow the Department of State to issue a visa to someone for whom a visa is unavailable.

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My Relative Went for His Interview for an Immigrant Visa at the U.S. Embassy, but Was Refused. Can NVC Review This Case?

No, the NVC cannot change a visa decision. You should contact the U.S. consular office where the visa case was processed.

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I Moved. How Do I Give You My New Address?

Please contact us for more information on this topic.

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What Do I Need to Do to Remove an Attorney from My Case?

If you no longer want to be represented by your attorney, you must contact the NVC in writing.

Please contact us for more information on this topic.


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What Do I Need to Do to Add an Attorney to My Case?

If you wish to hire an attorney, please submit a signed form G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative to the National Visa Center (NVC).

Please contact us for more information on this topic.

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What Do I Need to Do to Withdraw a Case?

To withdraw a petition, you must send a signed written statement requesting that the petition be withdrawn and explaining the reason to the NVC. If an attorney or accredited representative submits the request, a G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative, must accompany the request.

Please contact us for more information on this topic.

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What Do I do if I still have questions?

Contact the attorneys at VisaBulletin.com and we will be pleased to assist with this process.


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