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CEAC FAQs

Logging into CEAC

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What is CEAC?

The Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) is the Department of State’s online visa application tool. You must use CEAC for both non-immigrant and immigrant visa applications. On this site, you can do things like pay fees, submit a visa application form, and track the status of your application.

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How do I log into CEAC?

Immigrant visa applicants use their case ID number and invoice ID number to log into CEAC. The National Visa Center (NVC) will send you both of those numbers when they receive your approved petition from USCIS. Keep this information in a safe place.

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Where do I find my NVC case number and invoice ID number?

The National Visa Center (NVC) will send you both of those numbers. After NVC receives your approved petition from USCIS, NVC creates a case file for you at the Department of State and assigns you an NVC case number. NVC will send you a letter or e-mail with your case number and a separate invoice ID number. Keep in mind that you cannot begin to pay fees or submit documents until you receive this letter from NVC instructing you to begin processing. 

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Who can log into my CEAC account?

Upon receipt of your approved petition from USCIS, NVC will send your log-in information to you (the visa applicant), your petitioner in the United States, and your attorney (if you have designated one). If you want to share your information with anyone else, that is up to you. Keep in mind that if you add anyone’s email address to your case so they can receive updates and instructions – such as another family member or friend – that person will receive your log-in information. Make sure you only share this information with people you know and trust. Do not share information about your case on social media, and never give your case number to strangers.

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Is my personal information on CEAC safe?

Your application information on CEAC is secure. You need two unique pieces of information to log into CEAC. To provide additional protection, users will be unable to view documents that contain Social Security numbers and sensitive financial information once they are submitted to CEAC. You will only be able to view them if NVC finds an error and asks you to delete the document and upload a new one.

Reading messages from NVC

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Where do I find messages from NVC?

When NVC has an update to your case status or needs to ask you to submit additional information, they will post a message in your CEAC account. You can find these on the top-right of the summary page in a box titled “Messages.” Simply click on the message icon to be taken to the message screen, which resembles an email inbox. Whenever NVC puts a new message in your CEAC account, they will send an email to every email address listed on your case. This email will tell you to log into CEAC to read your message.

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Can I send NVC a message?

Not at this time. If you have any questions about your immigrant visa application package, please contact NVC through one of the methods listed online.

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I’m not getting alerts from NVC that there has been a change in my CEAC account.

Please check the “Email Addresses” section of your CEAC account to make sure that we have your correct email address. This section is on the right-hand side of your case’s summary page. Click on “Edit” to view all of the email addresses associated with your case. You can update email addresses for the petitioner, principal applicant, and third party agents here.  To update your attorney’s email address, please have them contact us by email at NVCattorney@state.gov.

Updating your contact information

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How can I update my email address?

It is very important that you let NVC know if your email address changes, since that is our primary way of contacting you. It is easy to update your email address on CEAC. On the top-right area of your summary page, you will see a box that says “Email addresses.” Simply click on the “edit” button and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can delete, add, or change email addresses for you (the visa applicant), your petitioner, and any third-party agent you want to receive notifications about your case. However, at this time you cannot update your attorney’s information online. Attorneys need to contact NVC by email at NVCattorney@state.gov if there is a change to their contact information.

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How do I update my mailing address or phone number?

To update the mailing address or phone number of anyone associated with a case, please contact NVC using one of the methods listed online. Remember that whenever you contact NVC please provide your case number, the name of the petitioner, and the name and date of birth of the principal visa applicant.

Adding or removing an attorney

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Can I add an attorney or legal representative to my case?

Yes, if you hire an attorney he or she should submit to NVC a signed Form G-28 or letter on the legal firm’s letterhead. Your attorney should email this as an attachment to NVCattorney@state.gov

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Can I remove an attorney or legal representative from my case?

Yes. A visa applicant can notify us in writing that he/she is no longer using an attorney’s services. The visa applicant should send that information to NVC using our online inquiry form. Also, an attorney can inform NVC directly that he/she is no longer working on a case. Please note that if NVC receives a signed Form G-28 from an attorney stating that he/she has been hired to work on a case and there is already an attorney listed on that case, NVC will honor the form that was most recently signed. The old attorney will be removed from the case, and the new attorney will be added. 

Understanding your case status

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How do I know the status of my case?

Once you log into CEAC, you will see a summary page for your case. There are multiple places on this page where you can see the location and status of your case. On the top right of the page is a field that says “Your case is currently at.” This field will note whether your case is at NVC or an embassy or consulate overseas.

At the bottom of the summary page is a chart that has information on the status of each visa applicant and financial sponsor on your case. With one glance, you can see who has paid their fees, who submitted a visa application form, and whether all of the required documents for both visa applicants and financial sponsors have been submitted to NVC. If anything reads “Start Now,” “Incomplete,” or “Not Submitted,” that means that you must submit something to NVC for review. If everything says “Paid,” “Complete,” “In Process,” or “Submitted,” that means NVC is reviewing your case. 

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How do I read the status chart on my CEAC summary page?

There are two sections to read. The first is titled “Affidavit of Support.” Below that is a section titled “Applicant Information.” Here is a sample status chart:

 

Sample of Affidavit of Support

How to read the Affidavit of Support section:

This section shows the status of all the financial sponsors on a case. For family-based immigration, the petitioner is always listed as a financial sponsor. There will be a status listed for each sponsor in the three columns in the Affidavit of Support section:

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Role

Petitioner/Primary Sponsor = Petitioners of family-sponsored immigration cases must submit an Affidavit of Support form, no matter their income level.

Joint Sponsor = The petitioner does not meet the required minimum income limit to sponsor an immigrating family member and has asked this person to be a joint sponsor.

Household Member = The petitioner does not meet the required minimum income limit to sponsor an immigrating family member and has asked a relative who lives with him/her to help sponsor the immigrant.

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Affadavit of Support Fee

Start Now = You must pay this fee.

In Process = Your payment is being processed online.

Paid = The fee has been received by NVC. 

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Affidavit of Support Documents and Financial Evidence

Start Now = You have not uploaded or submitted any documents for this sponsor.

Incomplete = The financial sponsor has started uploading documents but has not finished.

Not Submitted = You have uploaded all of the required documents but have not submitted them to NVC.

Submitted = The financial sponsor has uploaded and submitted all required documents, and NVC is now reviewing them.

Invalid Doc = NVC reviewed the required documents and something is incorrect or missing. The financial sponsor should go to the document screen to read NVC’s instructions and upload new documents.

Accepted = NVC reviewed the financial documents and there are no changes that need to be made.

How to read the Applicant Information section:

This section has a list of all the visa applicants associated with a single case number. There will be a status listed for each visa applicant under the four columns in the Applicant Information section:

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Status

Principal Applicant = The person who is the main beneficiary of the immigrant petition. This person has a close family relationship with the petitioner in the United States, or is an employee of the sponsoring U.S. company.

Accompany = This visa applicant is a derivative family member of the principal applicant and will immigrate to the United States at the same time as his/her parent or spouse.

Follow-to-Join = This visa applicant is a derivative family member of the principal applicant and will immigrate to the United States much later than his/her parent or spouse. For that reason, this applicant is not going to submit a visa application package now and will not attend a visa interview until he/she is ready to immigrate.

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IV Fee

Start Now = You must pay this fee.

In Process = Your payment is being processed online.

Paid = The fee has been received by NVC. 

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IV Application

N/A = You haven’t paid the IV fee for this applicant. You won’t have access to the application form until the fee is paid.

Start Now = Begin filling out your application form.

Incomplete = You began working on your form but have not finished.

Re-opened = You completed your form but need to make a change. Only NVC or a U.S. Embassy can re-open a Form DS-260 for you.

Completed = You have submitted your form to NVC. 

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Civil Documents

Start Now = No documents have been uploaded.

Incomplete = You started uploading documents but have not finished.

Not Submitted = You have uploaded all of the required documents but have not submitted them to NVC.

Submitted = You uploaded and submitted all required documents, and NVC is reviewing them.

Invalid Doc = NVC reviewed all the required documents and something is incorrect or missing. Please go to the document screen to read NVC’s instructions and upload new documents.

Accepted = NVC reviewed the documents and there are no changes that need to be made.

Paying fees

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How often will the status of my case change?

The status on any required document, form, or fee will change whenever you take action on it or NVC reviews it. In most sections, the change in status will be immediate. However, when you pay a fee there will be a delay while the bank processes your payment request. This typically takes two to three business days. 

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How do I read the status on the Affidavit of Support tab and Civil Documents tab?

You need to first choose the visa applicant or financial sponsor whose status you want to review. Then you can look at the status of each document that person submitted. Each document is listed in a column on the left. To the right of each document name are three columns: Date Uploaded, Status, and Response Note. Here is an example:


The Status column will reflect one of the following statuses:

Missing = You need to upload and submit this document.

Uploaded = You scanned and uploaded this document but you have not submitted it for NVC’s review.

N/A = You marked this document as not available.

Submitted = You submitted this document and it is with NVC for review.

Rejected = NVC reviewed this document and something is incorrect. Please look at NVC’s feedback to the right under “Response Note” and then correct and re-submit the document.

Accepted = NVC has reviewed this document and there are no changes that need to be made.

If NVC finds an error on a required document, they will reject the document and tell you what needs to be corrected. They will post their feedback to the right of the document, in the Response Note column. They will also send you a message in your CEAC account detailing what the error is and how to fix it. You then need to delete the rejected document, and upload a corrected document. After you submit it, NVC will review it.

Paying fees

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Where can I find more information about the required fees?

Please visit our fee payment information page online.

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How do I pay my fees?

There are two processing fees: the Immigrant Visa Application Fee and the Affidavit of Support Fee. Both of these fees should be paid online in your CEAC account. Simply click on “Pay Now” in either section on your case summary page.

The person paying the fee needs a valid e-mail address, a bank routing number, and a checking or savings account number from a U.S. bank. The image below shows the routing number, account number, and check number on a personal check. The order of these numbers may differ on your check and may include some special symbols different from those shown. You can contact your financial institution for specific details.

There is one Affidavit of Support Fee per case, no matter how many financial sponsors you have. The Immigrant Visa Application Fee is paid for each visa applicant. Multiple IV Fees can be paid at once. However, you cannot pay an Affidavit of Support Fee and an Immigrant Visa Application Fee in the same transaction. This means that you will have to choose one type of fee, provide the required information, and select “Pay Selected Fee.” Then you will have to repeat the process for the other type of fee.

Remember, fees should only be paid online in CEAC or at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You will never be asked to pay visa fees over the phone or to a third party.

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Can I pay with a credit card?

No, CEAC currently does not accept credit cards. You must pay using a U.S. bank account.

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Can someone else pay my fees?

Yes. You need only to provide U.S. bank account information to pay online. The bank account does not have to be in the visa applicant’s or petitioner’s name.

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My session ended while I was in the middle of paying my fees. Do I have to start over?

The fee payment screen will automatically end after 20 minutes if you have not completed all data entry on the page and clicked the “Pay Selected Fee” or “Make Payment” button. If the session expires, any unsaved data will be lost. You will need to sign in again and re-enter any unsaved data on that page. Users will see a pop-up warning five minutes before automatic log-out. If the user clicks the “OK” button on that warning, the time will be reset to 20 minutes. 

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I paid the fees but the status isn’t showing as “Paid.”

Once you submit your bank account information, there will be a delay while the bank processes your payment request. This typically takes two to three business days. During that time, your status will show as “In Process.” Once the bank confirms your payment, your status will change to “Paid.” You will then be able to open and complete the Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application.

Completing the visa application form

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Where can I find more information about the immigrant visa application form?

Please visit our application form information page online.

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How do I submit my visa application form?

On your CEAC case summary page, click on “Start now” under the “IV Application” column. That will take you to a page where you will begin filling out the Form DS-260. You complete this form online; do not print and scan it. You must complete each section of the form in order. The form automatically saves each time you move to a new page. For instructions, read our Frequently Asked Questions on the Form DS-260 online.

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I can’t access the application form. It says “N/A” under “IV Application” in CEAC.

You will not have access to the Form DS-260 immigrant visa application until you pay the Immigrant Visa Fee. It is also not available to visa applicants whose status is “Follow to Join.” This means they are not immigrating at the same time as the principal applicant.

Remember that after you submit your bank account information, there will be a delay while the bank processes your payment request. This typically takes two to three business days. During that time, your status will show as “In Process.” Once the bank confirms your payment, your status will change to “Paid.” You will then be able to open and complete the Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application.

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What information is requested on the application form?

The Form DS-260 has eight sections, and some sections have multiple pages. You must complete each section in order – you cannot jump ahead to another section. You should have the following information available before you start:

 

  • Biographical data from your passport and any passports you have (or had) from other countries.

  • Biographical data of your immediate family members (spouse and children), including dates and places of birth; address; and employment information.

  • Date and place of your current and previous marriages, and the names and dates of birth for previous spouses.

  • The addresses of all the places you have lived since age 16, and the dates you lived there.

  • The address where you plan to live in the United States.

  • Your education history, including address and dates.

  • Your work history, including address, dates, and the name and contact information of your supervisor.

  • Information on service in the military, including branch of service, rank, specialty, and dates.

  • Information on previous U.S. visas you were issued, including the visa category and visa number (this can be found on the visa itself).

  • Dates and length of stay of all trips you have made to the United States previously.

  • Your parents’ full names; dates and places of birth; current address; and dates and places of death (if applicable).

  • Contact information for your petitioner in the United States, including address, phone, and email.

  • You will also be asked to answer a series of questions about your medical, criminal, and security background, including previous immigration law violations.
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I made an error; can I re-submit my application form?

Once you submit your application you will be unable to access it again without the assistance of NVC for immigrant visas, KCC for Diversity Visas, or the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which you plan to apply.

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I have moved since submitting my application form. Do I have to start over again?

No, you do not have to submit a new Form DS-260. However, any visa applicant whose case is with the Department of State should notify us when their contact information changes. If the case is being processed at the National Visa Center, they can alert NVC using one of the methods listed online. If the case is already at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas, please contact the consular section abroad. You can find contact information online.

It’s also important to know that after you immigrate to the United States, USCIS will mail your Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card, also known as a green card, to the address in the United States that you submit in your visa application form. If that address changes, make sure you tell the consular officer during your interview.

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Do I need to print a copy of my completed Form DS-260 when I’m done?

No, all of the information from your application form will be sent to the Department of State electronically through CEAC. However, you should print a copy of the confirmation page with a barcode that appears after you successfully submit your Form DS-260. You will need to bring that to your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy.

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My session ended while I was in the middle of completing Form DS-260. Do I have to start over?

The Form DS-260 will automatically end after 20 minutes if you have not completed all data entry on the page and clicked either the “Back,” “Save,” or “Next” button at the bottom of the form. If the session expires, any unsaved data will be lost. You will need to sign in again and re-enter any unsaved data on that page. Users will see a pop-up warning five minutes before automatic log-out. If the user clicks the “OK” button on that warning, the time will be reset to 20 minutes.

When all the information has been entered on a page, click the “Next” button to move to the next page. Your data will automatically be saved every time you move to a new page. If you do not answer all of the questions on a page, you will not be allowed to move on. 

Changes to derivative family members

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What is a derivative family member?

The beneficiary of an immigrant petition is considered the “principal” applicant. That person’s spouse and unmarried children who are younger than age 21 are considered “derivative” visa applicants. These derivative family members can apply for immigrant visas with the principal applicant. They must fill out required application forms, obtain required civil documents, pay the required fees, and undergo medical examinations. Same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), along with their minor children, are eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses.

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What if my derivative family member wants to wait to immigrate?

The principal applicant (the person who is named in the immigrant petition as the “beneficiary”) must enter the United States before or at the same time as other family members with visas. As long as the principal applicant spouse or parent has already immigrated to the United States, the derivative family member can wait to complete his or her visa application process. This is called “follow to join.”

However, the family member needs to consider these important points:

  • You should not attend a visa interview at an embassy overseas if you do not intend to immigrate right away. This is because immigrant visas expire quickly, at maximum six (6) months from the date of the required medical exam. Your visa cannot be extended and all fees are nonrefundable.

  • Children of U.S Citizens must enter the United States before they turn 18 years old; otherwise they lose the ability to automatically become a U.S. citizen under the Child Citizenship Act.

  • A derivative child who may be eligible for benefits under the Child Status Protection Act could lose those protections if they do not pursue Lawful Permanent Residence within a year of a visa becoming available to them.

  • You must ensure your application does not terminate. To do this, you must contact NVC at least once a year. 
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How do I change a derivative family member’s status to “follow-to-join”?

If the case is at the National Visa Center, you can make this change in CEAC. On the case summary page’s status chart, there is a list of visa applicants under “Applicant Information.” To change the traveling status of a derivative family member to follow-to-join, click on the drop-down box in the “Status” column. Select “Follow-to-join.” Alternately, if your family member decides to travel with you to the United States, you can select “Accompanying.”

Once you make this change, the applicant’s status will read “Under Review.” It will take approximately one hour before the change to “Follow-to-join” or “Accompanying” shows in CEAC’s status chart.

If your case has already been scheduled for a visa interview and your family member decides to change his/her traveling status, please contact the U.S. Embassy right away.

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What if my derivative family member's contact information changes?

Any visa applicant whose case is with the Department of State should notify us when their contact information changes. If the case is being processed at the National Visa Center, they can alert NVC using one of the methods listed online. If the case is already at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas, please contact the consular section abroad. You can find contact information for the embassy online.

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How do I add a derivative family member to my case?

On the case summary page’s status chart, there are two buttons under “Applicant Information.” To add or remove a family member from your case, click on the appropriate button. You will have to enter information about your family member, including name, address, email, and relationship to you. The new derivative visa applicant’ name will then appear on the list of applicants and you will have to pay the Immigrant Visa Fee, complete a Form DS-260 application, and upload civil documents for that person. However, it will take approximately one hour after adding a family member before the option to pay the Immigrant Visa Application Fee is active.

Note that some visa categories are only for unmarried persons, and a change in marital status could make you ineligible for that visa category. Typically eligibility for a visa category depends on the legal status of the petitioning family member in the United States, your age, and your marital status. You can find a list of immigrant visa categories on our website with details on the eligibility requirements for each type of immigrant visa.  

Financial sponsor documents

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Where can I find more information about the Affidavit of Support and financial evidence?

Please visit our Affidavit of Support information page online.

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Where do I upload my financial documents?

On the case summary screen, click on “Start now” for the financial sponsor whose documents you want to upload. You will be taken to a screen with a list of required documents and, below that, an area for additional documents. Scan and upload your financial documents here. Note that your proof of income should be uploaded under “additional documents.” You will need to choose the type of proof you are uploading – such as federal tax returns or proof of assets – from the upload screen.

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What documents do I have to upload?

In family-based immigration, the petitioner is automatically a financial sponsor. He/she must complete and upload an Affidavit of Support Form along with evidence of income or ability to financially support the intending immigrant. Any additional financial sponsors must also upload an Affidavit of Support Form and proof of income. There are several types of Affidavit of Support Forms; you can learn more about the required financial evidence on our website.

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Where do I upload/submit my proof of income?

By federal law, petitioners in family-based immigration must demonstrate they are able to financially support the immigrant they are sponsoring. In addition to completing an Affidavit of Support form, the petitioner (and any other financial sponsor) must also submit evidence of their income. You are required to do this. However, since we do not know which type of document you will submit to show your income level, you should upload those documents in the “Additional documents” section. There are many ways a financial sponsor can show their income level; you can learn more about the types of documents you can submit on our website.

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Do I have to upload everything at once?

No. You can upload some of your documents, log out of CEAC, and return at a later date to finish uploading the required items. If the document’s status shows as “Uploaded,” that means it is saved to CEAC. Remember, however, that you cannot submit your documents for NVC’s review until all required items have been uploaded for every financial sponsor listed on the case. Only when each document’s status says “Submitted” will NVC be able to start reviewing your case.

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How do I add an additional financial sponsor or household member?

On the case summary page’s status chart, there are two buttons under “Affidavit of Support.” To add a sponsor or a household member, click on the appropriate button. You will have to enter information about the sponsor, including name, address, email, and relationship to the petitioner. The new sponsor’s name will then appear on the list of financial sponsors and you will be able to upload financial documents for that person.

Don’t forget that if you have already uploaded and submitted documents for all other financial sponsors, the status chart will change from “Submitted” to “Incomplete” until you upload and submit the required documents for the new sponsor.

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The "Submit Documents" button isn't working. What's wrong?

The “Submit Documents” button is not available until you have uploaded something for every required document for every financial sponsor listed on your case. If the status of any required document is “Missing,” you cannot press the “Submit Documents” button.

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Do I need to bring any of the documents I uploaded to my visa interview?

Yes. Even though you submitted copies of all the required documents online, you must bring the original paper versions to your interview at the U.S. Embassy. If you do not, the consular officer will not be able to complete your interview or issue a visa.

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How long does it take to review the documents I submit?

NVC will not review your file until you have uploaded (and submitted) both the financial documents from the petitioner and your civil documents. You must also have paid the required fees and submitted a Form DS-260 visa application for every applicant on your case. For current processing times, please visit our website.

Civil documents

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Where can I find more information about civil documents?

Please visit our supporting civil documents information page online.

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Where do I upload my civil documents?

On the case summary screen, click on “Start now” for the visa applicant whose documents you want to upload. You will be taken to a screen with a list of required documents and, below that, an area for optional documents. Scan and upload your civil documents here. 

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What documents do I have to upload?

All visa applicants must submit documents showing their eligibility for a visa class, and identifying information. That includes a birth certificate, marriage and divorce certificates, and police certificates. You can learn more about the required civil documents evidence on our website.

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Where can I get the required civil documents?

For immigration purposes, the Department of State requires documents that are issued by specific government authorities or agencies in each country. We’ve created a Document Finder tool – also called the Reciprocity Table – to help you collect the right documents. Use this tool to get information on where to find the documents that you must submit to us. 

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Do I have to upload everything at once?
No. You can upload some of your documents, log out of CEAC, and return at a later date to finish uploading the required items. If the document’s status shows as “uploaded,” that means it is saved to CEAC. Remember, however, that you cannot submit your documents for NVC’s review until all required items for every visa applicant on the case have been uploaded. Only when each document’s status says “Submitted” will NVC be able to start reviewing your case.
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Do I need to submit translations separately?

If you have a certified translation of your document, include a scan of the translation with the original (i.e. foreign language) document in a single file. Put the native-language document first, followed by the English translation.  

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I can't get one of the required civil documents. What should I do?

In general, if a required document is unavailable per the country-specific guidelines in the online Reciprocity Table or Document Finder tool, you do not need to submit it to NVC. However, if you cannot obtain a required document for another reason, you must submit a detailed explanation to NVC when you submit your other documents. Choose the “Not available” option by the name of the required document. A box will appear asking you for a Statement of Non-availability. Type your explanation in this box. The consular officer will then determine at the time of the visa interview whether you must obtain the missing document before a visa can be issued. As a general rule, any document that is listed as available on the Reciprocity Table must be reviewed by a consular officer. 

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The "Submit" button isn't working. What's wrong?

The “Submit” button is not available until you have uploaded something for every required document listed on your case. If the status of any required document is “Missing,” you cannot press the “Submit” button.

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Do I need to bring the documents I uploaded to my visa interview?

Yes. Even though you submitted copies of all the required documents online, you must bring the original paper versions to your interview at the U.S. Embassy. If you do not, the consular officer will not be able to complete your interview or issue a visa.

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How long does it take to review the documents I submit?

NVC will not review your file until you have uploaded (and submitted) both the financial documents from the petitioner and your civil documents. You must also have paid the required fees and submitted a Form DS-260 visa application for every applicant on your case. For current processing times, please visit our website.

Viewing, changing or deleting uploaded documents

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NVC asked me to submit a new document. How do I delete the old one?

If a document is marked “Rejected” in either the Civil Documents or Affidavit of Support tabs, click on the document name. You will see a menu appear. Choose “Delete document.” You then will be able to upload a new document.

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How will NVC know that I uploaded a new document?

After you upload new documents for any items that NVC reviewed and rejected, please select “Submit Documents” on the appropriate tab. Once you have submitted the new items, NVC will receive a message in our database system that your case is ready for review.

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I have a question about the document NVC wants me to correct. Who do I ask?

You can contact NVC through one of the methods listed on our website. Please also look at our frequently asked questions online to see if you can find the answer to your question there.

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I submitted my documents but would like to replace it. Can I do that?

No. Once you have submitted your documents on CEAC, you cannot make changes to them unless NVC asks you to delete them and upload new ones.

After NVC accepts your documents – which means you are in line for a visa interview – you may not delete anything that you submitted. If at that time you want to submit a new, replacement, or additional document, simply bring it to your visa interview for the consular officer to review.

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Can I view or print my documents after they are uploaded?

It depends on the type of document. You will always be able to see a list of documents that you have submitted. However, some documents you will not be able to open. To ensure your personal information and that of your financial sponsors is protected, CEAC users will be unable to view any document with sensitive data such as Social Security numbers or financial data after it is uploaded.

Optional documents

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Can I provide documents that aren't on the drop-down menu of optional documents?

Yes. Simply choose “Other” from the drop-down list. If it is not apparent what type of document it is, please write a description on the top of the document. For example, “Utility bills showing proof of domicile for John Smith.”

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Can I submit photos or videos as an optional document?

You cannot submit video or audio files in CEAC. You may, however, scan a photograph, save it as a .jpg or .pdf file, and upload it. You should bring the original photos to your visa interview.

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My optional document was rejected by NVC. Since it is optional, do I have to upload a new one?

It depends. NVC may ask you to upload a new document in the optional or additional document sections. For example, if the document is proof of your petitioner’s income in the Affidavit of Support tab, it is likely that you will need to upload a replacement document. This is because petitioners are required to show evidence of income, and that is done in the “additional documents” section. If NVC rejects a document, they will leave a note by the document with feedback and instructions.

Scanning and uploading

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Where can I find more information about scanning documents?

Please visit our scanning and uploading tips page online.

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I don’t have a scanner; can I mail you my documents?

No. If you are a family-based immigrant visa applicant at an embassy that requires you to apply using our online application center, you must upload all of your forms and documents in CEAC. A list of embassies that require this is on our website. If you don’t have a scanner and a computer with an Internet connection at home, common places with this type of equipment are libraries, community centers, Internet cafés, and copy shops. If the U.S. Embassy sponsors an American Center or American Corner in your country, there may be computers there that you can use.

Remember, if you save documents to a public computer, don’t forget to delete them when you’re done uploading them to CEAC.

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Can I take a picture of my document and upload that?

Yes. One of the file types that you can upload to CEAC is a .jpg file. Just make sure that the photo you take is clear and readable. Each individual file (scanned document) must be no larger than 2 MB (megabytes). 

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Should I submit documents in color or black and white?

If a document is in color, please scan it in color rather than black and white.

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Should I scan the back (reverse) side of my documents?

Yes. Please scan both the front and back sides of any document that has stamps, seals, or writing on the back. (If the back of the document is blank, do not scan it.)

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How clear does the scan have to be before I'm allowed to upload it?

There is no required resolution (DPI, or dots per inch scanned) for scanned items. NVC simply has to be able to read the document, and any images must be clear and easily identifiable. If NVC cannot read the document, they will reject it.

After you scan a document, make sure that all the information is easily seen and read, and there are not any parts of the document that are cut off or cannot be seen. Most scanning programs offer a preview function so you can make sure the document is easily read. If you cannot read the scanned document, re-scan it at a higher resolution. Keep in mind this means the saved file will be larger and you may need to compress the file before you upload it. You should also use a pen to complete and sign forms that will be scanned to ensure the writing can be seen on your scan.

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What is resolution?

Resolution is how sharp and clear an image appears. Resolution is a number based on the amount of dots per inch scanned (dpi) in an image. The higher the dpi, the clearer the image will be. However, higher dpi increases the size of a file. While we recommend you scan your documents at a resolution that is 150 dpi or less, the only requirement is that they are clear enough to read.

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CEAC won't accept my uploaded document. What do I do?

The scanned image is either too large or the wrong type of file. CEAC will only accept .jpg, .jpeg, and .pdf files. Each individual file (scanned document) must be no larger than 2 MB (megabytes). If your scanned image is too large, compress it before uploading it. “Zipped” files will not be accepted for uploading. You can read our Scanning and Uploading Tips online.  

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What kind of files can I upload, and how big can they be?

Acceptable file types include .jpg, .jpeg, and .pdf. Each individual file (scanned document) must be no larger than 2 MB (megabytes). If your scanned image is too large, compress it before uploading it. CEAC will not accept “zipped” files.

Scan each document as a separate file. If a document contains multiple pages, scan all the pages together into a single file. If the document size is more than 2 MB, compress the file. Only split a document into multiple smaller files if it is still more than 2 MB after compression. You can read our Scanning and Uploading Tips online.

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What is compression?

Compression means saving your document in a smaller file size. This not only allows the file to take up less space on your hard drive but also means it can be uploaded or e-mailed much faster. However, not all file types are easily compressed. Most computer operating systems include an option to compress a file. This option is often found under “File” or “Save,” or appears when you right-click on a file name in a navigation screen. Look on the “Help” tool in your computer operating system for more information on what is available to you.

There is also third-party compression software available, both at no cost and for purchase. Please remember that at this time, the Department of State cannot accept files that have been “zipped.”

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Can I put all my documents into a single PDF?

No. You must upload your documents individually in the appropriate area of CEAC. Make sure you have selected the correct visa applicant or financial sponsor name, and then click on the document type you are uploading to begin the process.

Troubleshooting

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There's no "Save" button. Will I lose what I've uploaded?

No. Anything that is uploaded is automatically saved to your CEAC account. However, NVC will not have access to your documents until you press the “Submit Documents” button on both the Affidavit of Support tab and Civil Documents tab. You cannot submit documents until all of the required documents have been uploaded for every visa applicant and every financial sponsor listed on your case in CEAC.

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The “Submit Documents” button isn’t working. What’s wrong?

The “Submit Documents” button is not available until you have uploaded every required document for every visa applicant listed in the Civil Documents tab, and for every financial sponsor in the Affidavit of Support tab. If the status of any required document is “Missing,” you cannot press the “Submit Documents” button. 

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My scanner won’t save my document in the required size. How can I fix this?

Your scanner probably has a default resolution that is very large but that can be changed in the scanner’s settings. Look for a section titled “File save settings,” “Auto mode,” “Resolution,” “Image settings,” or something similar. You may be able to change the default resolution or you may need to specify the resolution each time you scan a document. If there is an option to show the settings dialog box each time you scan, you may want to make that option active. You shouldn’t need a default resolution of more than 50 to 75 dpi. You can read our Scanning and Uploading Tips online.

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My scanner automatically saves my documents in a file type that CEAC doesn't accept. What do I do?

Your scanner probably has a default file type that can be changed in the scanner’s settings. Look for a section titled “File save settings,” “File type,” “Image settings,” “Auto mode,” or something similar. Make sure that under “Image format” or “Type” it says .jpg, .jpeg, or .pdf. If there is an option to show the settings dialog box each time you scan, you may want to make that option active. You can read our Scanning and Uploading Tips online.

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I’m not getting alerts from NVC that there has been a change in my CEAC account.

Please check the “Email Addresses” section of your CEAC account to make sure that we have your correct email address. This section is on the right-hand side of your case’s summary page. Click on “Edit” to view all of the email addresses associated with your case. You can update email addresses for the petitioner, principal applicant, and third party agents here.  To update your attorney’s email address, please have him or her email us at NVCattorney@state.gov.

Waiting for the interview

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Where can I find more information about the visa interview?

Please visit our interview preparation page online.

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How do I know that my documents are all acceptable?

Once NVC reviews your forms and documents, they will let you know if there is anything missing or if your case is “documentarily qualified,” which means that you are in line for a visa interview. NVC will post a message in your CEAC account and send an email to everyone on the case (the visa applicant, petitioner, and attorney) to let them know they should log into CEAC for an update on the case’s status.

 

There are also visual cues in the case summary page in CEAC. If a case is documentarily qualified and waiting for an interview, the status on the summary chart will read:

  • “Paid” for the Affidavit of Support Fee

  • “Accepted” under Affidavit of Support Documents for all financial sponsors

  • “Paid” for the IV Fee for all visa applicants

  • “Completed” under IV Application for all visa applicants

  • “Accepted” under Civil Documents for all visa applicants

You will also see green checkmarks by each document you uploaded and submitted, and the documents’ status will read “Accepted.”

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How long does it take to get an appointment?

NVC schedules appointments one month in advance. The U.S. Embassy tells us what dates they are holding interviews, and NVC fills these appointments with cases in the order they become documentarily qualified. Most appointments are set within three months of NVC notifying you that you are documentarily qualified. However, we cannot guarantee or predict when you will receive an appointment. Keep in mind that if you are applying in a numerically limited (preference) visa category, before you can receive an appointment your priority date must also be “current.”  This can delay receipt of an appointment.  You can track your priority date using the online Visa Bulletin.

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Who will tell me about my appointment?

In most immigrant visa cases, NVC schedules the interview and notifies the applicant through CEAC. For some visa categories, however, the embassy or consulate schedules the interview. Each embassy has its own process for alerting applicants to their interview date, but it will typically be via email or telephone. If your case is already at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas and your contact information changes, please immediately contact the consular section abroad. You can find contact information online.

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Can I request a specific date and time for my interview?

No. Cases that are scheduled by NVC will be assigned an appointment date and time. If you are unable to attend, please refer to the embassy’s or consulate’s online interview instructions. There will be instructions there on rescheduling your appointment. This is done through the embassy’s consular section and not through NVC. Keep in mind that you can only reschedule for a date and time after your originally scheduled interview.

However, NVC does not schedule interviews for all types of immigrant visas. Some visa categories, such as the K or fiancé visas, are scheduled by the U.S. Embassy. If you are applying for a visa in one of these categories, you will receive instructions from the embassy on how to schedule your visa interview.

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What if I can't attend my assigned interview appointment?

If you are unable to attend, please refer to the embassy’s or consulate’s online interview instructions. There will be information there on rescheduling your appointment. This is done through the embassy’s consular section and not through NVC. Keep in mind that you can only reschedule for a date and time after your originally scheduled interview.

Asking questions

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Who do I contact if I have a question?

If your case is at the National Visa Center, our Customer Assistance Teams are ready to work with you. Please visit our Contact Us page online for options on how to reach us. If your case is already at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, you can find contact information for the consular section online.