Travel.State.Gov > U.S. Visas > Immigrate > The Immigrant Visa Process > Submit a Petition > NVC Processing > CEAC FAQs
Logging into CEAC
Reading messages from NVC
Updating your contact information
Understanding your case status
Changes to derivative family members
Immigrant visa applicants use their National Visa Center (NVC) case number and invoice ID number to log into CEAC. NVC will send you both of those numbers when they receive your approved petition from USCIS. Keep this information in a safe place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No, if you have any questions after reviewing this page, please contact us using our Public Inquiry Form.
Please check the “Email Addresses” section of your CEAC account to make sure that we have your correct email address. Please follow these instructions if you need to update your 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 using our Public Inquiry Form if there is a change to their contact information.
To update the mailing address or phone number of anyone associated with a case, please contact NVC using our Public Inquiry Form. 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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
A “derivative” visa applicant is the spouse or minor unmarried child (younger than age 21) of the beneficiary of an immigrant petition. Derivative family members can apply for immigrant visas with the beneficiary, who is considered the “principal” applicant. These derivative applicants 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are using the correct case number and invoice ID to log in and you are receiving an error message, please take a screenshot of the message and send it to us using the Public Inquiry Form.
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.