You have waited months sometime years to receive an approval from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services for your immigrant visa and now you discover that there is a whole new process to go through to immigrate to the US.
There are 3 types of immigrant visa categories:
- Family based;
- Employment based, and
- Diversity Visa Lottery
Once the petition is approved by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). It is important to note that there is a delay from the time an applicant receives the approval notice and the NVC receives the petition. Once NVC receives the petition it creates a case record and a case number. The case number identifies a specific application and it allows an individual to track the case. The applicant should only contact the NVC if 3 weeks have lapsed from receiving the approval notice. Please note that if you need to contact the NVC, you will need to have available the following information:
- NVC Case Number;
- Beneficiary’s name and date of birth;
- Petitioner’s Name;
- If your visa petition is employment based, remember to include the employer’s company or organization name instead of the petitioner’s information.
When a case is not current, meaning there are not enough immigrant visas (aka green cards) pursuant to the Visa Bulletin’s priority dates, the NVC sends a letter informing the applicant that it will hold the file until the case becomes current. Petitions may remain at the NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the visa applicant. When an applicant’s case is about to become current (this usually happens when a visa number is likely to be available within the year), the NVC will start and complete its processing before the petition is forwarded to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas. Nevertheless, if an applicant files for an adjustment status in the U.S. the case will be forwarded to the appropriate USCIS office. For example, if a foreign national while in the U.S. marries a U.S. Citizen an immigrant visa will be granted and his/her status will be adjusted to Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder).
It is important to note that the NVC is not an adjudicating agency thus it does not make decisions on the applications. It only collects all the evidence that is needed for a Consular officer to make a decision on a case.
The process at the NVC begins with the online payment of Fee Visa Bills. Once the fees have been processed the applicant will receive an “Instructions Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants,” and will need to complete online Form DS-260. A third and final step is to mail the NVC a list of required documents and Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
Once the NVC and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate receives all the required documents the latter will schedule an interview within 60 to 90 days. Applicant will need to go for a medical examination at a designated clinic before attending the interview.
Please remember that NVC will always notify you of the necessary steps to prepare for an appointment. Failure to pursue your visa application by complying with the instructions from NVC will jeopardize your immigration process. If within one year you have not responded to NVC’s request, they will issue a Termination Letter.