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The Immigrant Visa Process

Documents Scanning FAQs

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What equipment do I use to scan documents?

You will need to use a device capable of scanning a physical document and producing a PDF (Portable Document Format) image file as output. Most flat bed scanners and some models of all-in-one printers, FAX machines, or commercial photocopying machines can produce PDF output files.

You will also need a device such as a personal computer, laptop or tablet computer, a smart phone, or other compatible memory medium to store the electronic PDF image of the document after scanning.

How many documents can I put in each scan file?

Create a separate file for each document, including all of its pages and both sides of double-sided documents.  Do not include multiple documents in any scan file.

How should I identify the scan files I create?

Each scan file must be named as it is created.  Choose a file name that includes the following information:

  • Your NVC case number;
  • The full name of the applicant whose document you scanned; and
  • The document name or form number.

For example:

  • ABC2009123456_John_Doe_DS-3032.pdf
  • ABC2009123456_Jane_Doe_Birth_Certificate.pdf
How will I know if a scanned image is acceptable or not?

The image must be in the PDF file format and not password protected.

The resolution must be good enough to clearly show all text, images, markings, and seals visible on the original physical document.

Be sure to include all pages of multi-page documents and both sides of double-sided documents.

If a scanned document image is not acceptable, the NVC will request a new, higher quality image.

How do I send the scanned documents to the NVC?

Send scanned PDF images as email attachments to nvcelectronic@state.gov. You can review the Help instructions of your email program to learn how to attach PDF images to a message. Be sure to include your NVC case number in the subject line of the email. Only use the nvcelectronic@state.gov email address to send scanned documents to the NVC. If you have questions about your case, contact us via our Public Inquiry Form.

Important: If you send an email to nvcelectronic@state.gov that does not include scanned forms or documents, we will not respond to it.

 

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

More Information