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The Immigrant Visa Process

Managing Your Immigrant Visa Case Online

The U.S. Department of State has gone paperless to serve you better! Immigrant visa applicants in some countries use a Department of State online application center to submit required fees, forms, and documents to the National Visa Center (NVC) for review. This tool is called the Consular Electronic Application Center, or CEAC. It’s secure, easy to use, and faster than the traditional mail-in application process. Using CEAC gives immigrant visa applicants:

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Security

Your application information on CEAC is secure. Use your unique case number and invoice ID number to log into CEAC. Only share these numbers with people you trust.

Transparency

CEAC allows you to see what’s going on with your case at any time. Unsure if you’re supposed to be doing something? Need to make sure NVC received your documents? Log into CEAC and check!

Knowledge

NVC will post messages in CEAC each time there is a change to the status of your case. You’ll get detailed feedback right next to your submitted documents so you know what to do next. It’s a faster and more eco-friendly way to ensure you are always up-to-date.

Using CEAC is simple. To access your case online, use the unique case number and invoice ID number that NVC sends you. After you log in, you will see a summary of your case that includes the status of each visa applicant and financial sponsor associated with your case. The status chart will tell you what steps you need to take. The three main things you need to do are: 1) pay your fees, 2) complete the online visa application form, and 3) upload required documents that you scanned and saved to your computer.

You do not have to send NVC anything in the mail. Instructions and updates from NVC will be posted in your CEAC account. You can also use CEAC to update your email address; add or delete traveling family members; and add a second or third financial sponsor.

Next steps

If NVC sent you a “welcome letter” that instructs you to begin paying your fees and working on your immigrant visa application, you should:

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Read the step-by-step instructions for submitting your complete immigrant visa application package online using CEAC.
  1. Use your unique case number and invoice ID number to log into CEAC.state.gov/iv.

  2. You’ll be taken to a summary page for your case. At the bottom is a status chart that lists all the visa applicants on the case (you plus your spouse and minor children, if applicable) and all of your financial sponsors.

  3. To pay your fees online, click the “Pay Now” button under Affidavit of Support Fee. Once its status changes to “Paid,” you should click the “Pay Now” button under IV Fee for any visa applicant. You’ll be taken to a screen where, if there are multiple people listed on a single immigrant case, you can pay all of their IV Fees at once.

  4. After you have paid your fees, click “Start Now” under IV Application to complete and submit an immigrant visa application form (Form DS-260) for each applicant.

  5. Once your application form is submitted to NVC, choose “Start Now” under Civil Documents. You will see a list of all of the documents you are required to submit for the visa applicant. The list is created based on information you supply in your Form DS-260 visa application form.

  6. Click on “Start Now” under Affidavit of Support Documents. You will be taken to a page listing all of the required financial forms and supporting documents that your petitioner and other financial sponsors need.

  7. Gather, scan and save all of these required civil and financial documents to your computer.

  8. You are now ready to submit your documents to NVC. You must do this twice: Once for your financial sponsors, and once for the visa applicants. Go back to the “Start Now” buttons under Affidavit of Support Documents and Civil Documents to begin uploading your saved documents. When you have uploaded all the required documents for every financial sponsor listed, press “Submit Documents” on the Affidavit of Support Documents tab. Similarly, after you upload the documents for every visa applicant listed on the Civil Documents tab, press “Submit Documents.” The “Submit Documents” buttons will not work unless you have uploaded all of the required documents for each person.

  9. When all of the above tasks are complete, NVC will review your documents and provide feedback on CEAC. If something is missing or incorrect, NVC will tell you how to fix it.

  10. NVC will schedule your visa interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

 

Read detailed information on the various documents that you’re required to include in your immigrant visa application.

Our website includes a list of required civil documents and how to find them, plus information about what forms and information your petitioner needs to demonstrate his or her ability to financially support you.

Ensure you have access to a scanner and a computer with an Internet connection.

If you don’t have these at home, common places with this type of equipment are libraries, community centers, Internet cafés, and copy shops. You will need to scan the documents that you are submitting to NVC, and upload the scanned files to CEAC. You can only upload documents that are 2 MB in size or smaller. Documents must be one of the following formats: .jpg, .jpeg, and .pdf. You can read our Scanning and Uploading Tips online. If you save documents to a public computer, don’t forget to delete them when you’re done uploading them to CEAC.

Need help?

NVC’s Customer Assistance Teams are ready to work with you. Read our Frequently Asked Questions on Using CEAC to Manage Your Immigrant Visa Case if you have questions. There are also helpful tips on every page of the CEAC tool, including Scanning and Uploading Tips.

You can also download printable instructions on using CEAC. If you still need help, please Contact Us with questions.

 

Who's Involved

National Visa Center: After petition approval, the National Visa Center (NVC) handles processing for certain kinds of documents, sending them onward to U.S. Embassies & Consulates. When and how to Contact NVC

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): USCIS oversees immigration to the United States and approves (or denies) immigrant petitions, and more. Learn about USCIS.

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