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U.S. Visas

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Immigrant Visa Process

Step 2: Begin National Visa Center (NVC) Processing

Important Announcement

Answers to many common questions can be found using our self-service tools. Please log into https://ceac.state.gov for your most current case status and for a list of any documents you are required to submit.

The latest updates for U.S. Embassies and Consulates, including operating status of the Consular Section, can be found at https://usembassy.gov. NVC cannot predict when Consular Sections will resume routine services, or when your case will be scheduled for an interview.

Please visit https://nvc.state.gov for answers to your frequently asked questions, and steps for visa processing. 

After USCIS approves your petition, they will transfer your case to the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) for pre-processing. The first step in this processing is the creation of your case in our system. Once this is complete, we will send you a Welcome Letter by e-mail or physical mail. With the information in this letter, you can log in to our Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to check your status, receive messages, and manage your case.  

Once you submit your fees, forms, and supporting documents to NVC, we will review your case to ensure you provided all the documentation required to schedule the immigrant visa interview. Interviews are based on the availability of appointments offered at the Embassy/Consulate.

To determine which cases NVC is currently reviewing, please refer to the NVC Timeframes page on the right navigation bar.

Number of Visas Each Year is Limited in Some Categories

United States law limits the number of immigrant visa numbers available each year in certain visa categories. This means that even if USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition for you, you may not get an immigrant visa number immediately. In addition, U.S. law also limits the number of visas available in certain categories by country. For limited categories, the availability of immigrant visa numbers depends on the date your petition was filed and the number of others waiting for the same visa category. The date your petition was filed is called your priority date.

Priority dates are posted monthly on the Visa Bulletin, which provides up-to-date priority dates for cases NVC is processing. Please note that while NVC attempts to contact all applicants when their visa number is available, you can also use the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin to check whether a visa is available for your petition. If a visa is available and NVC has not yet contacted you, please let us know by using our Public Inquiry Form.  

Important Notice: Termination of Registration:

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 203(g) provides that the “Secretary of State shall terminate the registration (petition) of any alien who fails to apply for an immigrant visa within one year” of notice of visa availability. The petition may be reinstated if, within two years of notice of visa availability, the alien establishes that the “failure to apply was for reasons beyond the alien’s control.” Therefore, if you do not respond to notices from NVC within one year you risk termination of your petition under this section of law and would lose the benefits of that petition, such as your priority date.