National Visa Center (NVC) Processing

National Visa Center Processing

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Last updated: April 8, 2024.

Once the Form I-130 is approved, USCIS will forward the case to the National Visa Center (NVC) if petitioner indicated on the form that the beneficiary will be applying for consular processing. 

The National Visa Center (NVC) is part of the U.S. Department of State and is responsible for the following activities:

  • Review of immigrant visa applications
  • Advising the beneficiaries on when the priority date is current
  • Payment of fees
  • Advising if any documents do not meet the requirements
  • Coordinating the visa interview scheduling with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates

The beneficiary of an approved Form I-130 will apply for immigrant visa at one of the following locations:

  • The consulate in the country where the applicant is currently residing or last resided
  • The consulate in the country where the applicant is physically located and intends to stay while the application is being processed
  • Any other consulate that accepts jurisdiction of the case

The typical NVC processing will consist of the following steps:

  1. USCIS forwards the approved I-130 to NVC
  2. NVC creates a case 
  3. Payment of fees
  4. DS-260, Form I-864 and supporting documents submission
  5. Case is “documentarily qualified”
  6. Medical examination
  7. Interview scheduled at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate
  8. Immigrant visa issuance
  9. Applicant enters the U.S.

After NVC creates a case, it sends the petitioner and beneficiary instructions for the next steps in the process. This notice is usually sent via email, sometimes notices are mailed to the petitioner and attorney of record (if any). 

The Notice of Immigrant Visa Case Creation provides instructions for logging on to CEAC (Consular Electronic Application Center) website to pay the fees, complete Form DS-260 and submit the required civil and Affidavit of Support documents. The applicant will need to use the NVC Case Number and invoice number provided in the notice to log into their CEAC account. 

If the applicant’s priority date is not current, the NVC will store the approved Form I-130 petition and contact the beneficiary when the visa number becomes available according to the Visa Bulletin.

The applicant may choose an agent who will receive the communication from the NVC and U.S. Embassy/Consulate. The agent can be a family member, friend or any other person. To choose an agent, the applicant must submit Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent.

Payment of NVC fees. Two fees must be paid through CEAC website:

  • Immigrant visa fee of $325
  • Affidavit of Support fee of $120

The fees must be paid online using a U.S. bank account (checking or savings account). It can take several business days for the payments to be processed. Applicants can start completing Form DS-260 only after the fees are paid and cleared.

Affidavit of Support. The petitioner must submit the completed and signed Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and supporting documents to the NVC online through the CEAC website. If documentation is insufficient, NVC will send a message advising the applicant why the documents cannot be accepted and requesting correction. Petitioner must carefully review the message and submit the documents that meet the NVC requirements.

How to contact NVC. NVC does not accept phone calls, emails or mail. For information on the current status of the pending case, you will need to use the NVC Public Inquiry online form. You will need to provide the NVC Case Number or USCIS receipt number, the principal applicant’s name and date of birth, the petitioner’s name, and an email address. You can check the average NVC Public Inquiry response time and average NVC review time on the NVC website

Related Links:

Form DS-260 Checklist of Civil Documents

Medical Examination for Immigrant Visa Applicants

Immigrant Visa Interview – What to Expect

Affidavit of Support Checklist – Form I-864

How to Fill Out Affidavit of Support – Form I-864