Immigrant Visas Processing - General FAQs


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 USCIS approves the petition and you wish to process for a visa outside the United States, 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. Please wait up to six weeks after receiving your Notice of Approval before contacting NVC. Once we receive your petition from USCIS, we will give it a unique NVC case number and send you a letter notifying you that we have your petition and what to do next. 


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 letter or email directing you to begin visa pre-processing with the NVC. NVC will begin pre-processing your case by asking you to first choose an agent and then submit the appropriate fees. After the appropriate fees are paid, the NVC will request that you submit the necessary immigrant visa documents, including the Affidavit of Support (AOS), application forms, civil documents, and more.  

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.


How do I pay the fees for the National Visa Center’s 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.



How much are the fees for the National Visa Center's Services?

For current fee amounts for Immigrant Visa Application Processing, Affidavit of Support Review, and Immigrant Visa Security Surcharge, see Fees for Visa Services.


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.


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.


When I filed a petition for my relative I was a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder). I recently became a U.S. citizen. How does this affect my family members?

If you filed a petition for your spouse and/or children when you were a lawful permanent resident (LPR) and you are now a U.S. citizen, the type of immigrant visa that your family members can receive will change. When you become a U.S. citizen, you must submit proof of citizenship to the National Visa Center (NVC) so they can update your family member’s visa category. Scan and save one of the below items as a PDF or JPG file. Then send it as an e-mail attachment to Public Inquiry Form. Write your case number in the subject line of your e-mail and attach either:

  • A copy of the biodata page of your U.S. passport; or
  • A copy of your certificate of naturalization.

Effect on spouses and minor children: If you filed a petition for your spouse or minor children (under age 21 and unmarried) while you were an LPR, the visa category was family second preference (F2A). When you become a U.S. citizen, NVC will upgrade the petition to an immediate relative (IR) visa category. This benefits your immigrating family member(s) because there are no limits on the number of visas that can be issued each year in the IR categories.

  • Important: If the family second preference (F2A) petition that you filed for your spouse included your minor children, now that you are a U.S. citizen you must file new and separate petitions for each child. This is because children cannot be included as “derivative applicants” on a parent’s immediate relative (IR) visa or petition. (This is different from the family second preference petition, which allows minor children to be included in their parent's petition.)

  • Children born abroad after you became a U.S. citizen may qualify for U.S. citizenship. They should apply for U.S. passports. The consular officer will determine whether your child is a U.S. citizen and can have a passport. If the consular officer determines your child is not a U.S. citizen, the child must apply for an immigrant visa if he/she wants to live in the United States.

Effect on adult children: If you filed a petition for your unmarried adult children (age 21 or older) when you were an LPR, NVC will change the visa category from family second preference (F2B) to family first preference (F1). However, under a federal law called the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), visa applicants can “opt out” of conversion to the F1 visa category and remain an F2B visa applicant. This may be beneficial because sometimes the waiting time for an F2B visa is shorter than the waiting time for an F1 visa. When you naturalize and become a U.S. citizen, you should check the Visa Bulletin to see if it would be helpful for your adult unmarried child to remain in the F2B category. (Applicants keep the priority date of their F2B petition when it converts to the F1 visa category.) Applicants who want to opt-out of the F1 category must submit a request using these guidelines:

  • Applicants whose case is at NVC should submit requests using NVC’s online inquiry form. NVC will forward the request to USCIS and change the visa category back to F2B upon receipt of USCIS’s approval.

  • Applicants whose case is at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas should ask the embassy to submit a request on their behalf. The consular officer will forward the request and adjudicate the visa application in the F2B category only upon receipt of USCIS’s approval.

Please note that the process to apply for a visa does not differ between the F2B and F1 categories. Visa applicants still need to pay the required fees, complete a visa application, and submit the required civil and financial documents. The only difference is in when their priority date becomes “current,” which is what allows a consular officer to adjudicate and issue an immigrant visa.


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.


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.


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

Please provide your new address by calling NVC’s Customer Assistance Center at 1-603-334-0700. You can also use our online inquiry form to send us your new address. Don’t forget to let NVC know if your phone number or e-mail address change, too.


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 see the NVC’s contact information.


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 see the NVC’s contact information.


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.