The National Visa Center
Today’s column will take a look at the National Visa Center (NVC) and how it interacts with the immigration process most particularly for family based immigrant petitions.
In the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, there is a question that asks the Petitioner if the Beneficiary will apply for an immigrant visa at a US consulate or inside the US. If the Petitioner indicates that the Beneficiary will be applying at a consulate, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), after it approves the I-130 petition and notifies the Petitioner, will then send the approved petition to the NVC. This is where the second phase of the immigrant petition happens.
The NVC is the federal agency that is tasked in advising the intending immigrant the whole process of consular processing, the fees to be paid, the documents that need to be prepared, the timeliness of his priority date and the scheduling of his appointment at the consulate. If the priority date of the beneficiary, which we now call the applicant, is current or whose case is not in the preference system like those in the immediate relative category, which means that there is a visa available, NVC will then sends a notification to the petitioner or to his attorney, advising the next steps, such as paying the fees, etc. If there is no visa available yet for the applicant’s category, NVC will keep the applicant’s file and will also advise him what he should do and expect until his priority date becomes current.
Once the application is ready for further processing, NVC assigns a case number. For Filipinos, this starts with letters MNL, followed by 10 numbers. NVC sends instructions to the applicant or his assigned agent / attorney, an invoice for immigrant visa and affidavit of support fees. The fees are paid online from a checking or savings account held at a US financial institution. You can pay at https://ceac.state.gov/ IV/Login.aspx . Please allow a week or so for NVC to process the payment and if it has already done so, the applicant must print a payment receipt and cover page for each fee paid. These two documents are also needed to be returned to the NVC along with the other documentation to be provided later.
Using the same website, the applicant may proceed to complete Form DS-260 or the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. He must ensure that all entries are correct and accurate such as dates, spelling of names, addresses, etc. Each applicant and other intending immigrants (accompanying spouse and children) must have separate DS-260s. After the applicant signed and submitted the DS-260 electronically, he must also print out the confirmation page. He needs this to attach with his other documentation.
In the meantime, the petitioner would have to complete and submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Unlike DS-260 which is to be completed online, I-864 has to be printed separately, filled out and mailed together with other supporting documentation such as latest tax returns, W2s and other evidence of financial capacity.
There are also other documents that need to be submitted to the NVC. The applicant must take a look at the checklist and its instructions that NVC provided to him. Usually these documents are birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates which are all originals and NSO certified; NBI clearance that is valid for at least one year; passport-style photographs; passport biographic page that shows validity of the passport for at least six months; court certified conviction , annulment / adoption decrees; and all other documents that NVC requests.
After NVC receives the Form I-864 and other supporting documentation, it will then review the applicant’s file and if he is considered to be “documentarily qualified “, it will then send out an appointment letter to the applicant containing the date, time and location of the visa interview. Further, it will also instruct the applicant for the medical examination and other consulate specific procedures.
Once the application is forwarded to the US consulate, the application is now at the hands at the consular officer. This begins the third phase of the immigrant application.
‘Once the application is ready for further processing, NVC assigns a case number.
For Filipinos, this starts with letters MNL, followed
by 10 numbers.’