National visa center USA: what it is and how it works

National visa center (NVC) is part of the U.S. State Department, performing tasks in the processing of visas on behalf of U.S. embassies. Located in Portsmouth, new Hampshire, NVC performs most of the basic processing of immigrant visas (green cards) to remove load from each Embassy. The center also processes some types of nonimmigrant visas, writes CitizenPath.

Национальный визовый центр США: для чего он нужен и как работает

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If you are filing a family petition, such as Form I-130 for a relative or Form I-129F for the bride/groom, here’s what you need to know about National visa center.

After the Service of citizenship and US immigration services (USCIS) approves a petition for the issuance of the visa, its employees must refer the matter to the U.S. Department of State for consular review. Consular process covers the steps for visa abroad. Typical examples of visa petitions include the following forms:

  • I-129F, petition for a foreign bride/groom;
  • I-130, petition for foreign relative.
  • I-140, petition for foreign worker.

Other forms such as I-360, I-526, I-600 and I-800, can also be sent to the national visa center.

After USCIS approves the petition, you will receive an approval Notice (I-797). At the same time, USCIS will submit the documents to NVC (may take a month or more, the centre has received your case from USCIS). After receiving NVC will provide your business the unique number and send you a letter with acknowledgment of receipt of your petition and what to do next.

However, the approval of the petition does not necessarily mean that the NVC will start processing green card. For a start, the recipient must have a current immigrant visa.

Check status

To see how much time is currently required to the National visa center for processing cases similar to yours, view their page with a time frame at this link.

It is important to note that the page lists only the total processing time for all cases. To have reasonable expectations, it is important to understand how it will be handled in your business.

As a rule, petitions for immediate relatives (spouse of an American citizen, his parents and unmarried children under the age of 21) do not spend a lot of time at NVC. There is no annual limit on the number of immigrant visas issued to immediate family members.

On the other hand, the preferred category for family based and the employment categories in most cases, expect longer. Congress has established a limit on the number of immigrant visas issued in these categories each year. Therefore, usually requested more visas available each year. The case can last several months or even several years before an immigrant visa will not be valid.

When USCIS receives the petition for the grant of visas for these categories, staff will indicate “priority date” in the notification. For example, after filing form I-130 USCIS responds with a form I-797C, Notice of action, also known as the Notification. It contains this same date.

When your priority date will match the most recent date in the monthly Bulletin of the state Department, she will become “current”. As we approach the date NVC will begin performing the following steps.

What’s next

If your priority date will soon become current, national visa center will ask:

  • to pay the fee for applying for a visa.
  • to prepare application for visa (DS-260) and supporting documentation, such as the affidavit of support, form I-864;
  • keep your visa petition until, until will not be scheduled for an interview with the consular officer at the Embassy or Consulate.

Contact information

You can contact the NVC by phone or email. Normal working hours — Monday to Friday from 7:00 to midnight Eastern time.

Phone: (603) 334-0700

Email: public inquiry form.

It is important to tune in to the expectation. Response time to inquiries to the NVC via e-mail is usually from 1 to 3 weeks. Send a carefully crafted request with all required information. Public request form is also the appropriate way to inform the NVC about the change of address which affects the applicant’s or beneficiary. Customer service by phone is only available for applicants of immigration visas. During the outbreak COVID-19 NVC has temporarily suspended support of nonimmigrants.

NVC does not change the status

The national visa center only works with cases related to consular processing. USCIS processes all changes of status for individuals who are in the United States. If you choose to change status, Form I-130, Petition for foreign relative, USCIS will forward your case to NVC. Instead, they send him to the local USCIS office in the United States, which was specified in the I-130 petition.

But what if you have chosen consular processing, form I-130 and later changed your mind? You probably have the right to change status in these cases:

  • you lawfully entered and are present in the United States;
  • you have an approved visa petition;
  • the visa petition is valid.

As soon as you submit the form I-485 for adjustment of status, USCIS will withdraw the case at the National visa center. If you have received a welcome letter from NVC with question about your intentions, this is a good time to point out that you have decided to file I-485 in the United States. You do not need to pay any fees to the NVC.

Renewal of petition after obtaining U.S. citizenship

Petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens have higher priority category. So you may want to “upgrade” the petition, if you recently became a U.S. citizen. If you filed a petition for your spouse and/or children when you were a lawful permanent resident, and you are now a U.S. citizen, type of visa which may be obtained by members of your family will change.

To make this change, you must provide proof of citizenship to the national visa center, so that they could review the visa category your family member. Scan and store one of the following documents in PDF or JPG:

  • a copy of the page biogennych your U.S. passport; or
  • a copy of your certificate of naturalization.

Please send proof of citizenship to NVC in the form of an application through the form on public demand.

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