National Visa Center is an important step in applying for both immigrant and non-immigrant visas. After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your immigrant visa petition, USCIS forwards your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH for immigrant visa pre-processing at the correct time. Immediate relative categories do not have yearly numerical limits. However, family preference and employment based immigrant categories have numerical limits each year; therefore, lengthy wait times are involved for processing to begin,
• The NVC opened in 1994 for the purpose of centralizing immigrant visa processing and eliminating administrative burdens on Consular Posts. NVC allows Posts to focus on adjudications.
• NVC is a public/private partnership of the Department of State and FCi Federal. There are more than 560 FCi Federal employees representing 33 languages and more than 40 nationalities.
• Prior to this, legacy INS would send all approved petitions (both current and non-current) to Posts. Current Cases: NVC processes and ships files to Post.
• NVC processing consists of document collection and appointment scheduling.
• Consular Returns: NVC receives about 50,000 cases per year; 10 days to process returns, conduct quality checks, and return to USCIS.
• Non-Current Cases: NVC stores until they become current, then processes and ships to Post. 1
• The NVC processes the following petitions: I-130; I-140; I-730; I-129F; I-600; I-600A; I-800; I-360; and I-526.
• Once USCIS approves a petition, it takes approximately 30 days for the file to get to the NVC.
• Upon receipt, NVC enters the case into its system, and sends notification to the applicant to begin processing. During summer of 2014, case intake was backlogged – it was taking about 45 days to enter cases into the system upon receipt from USCIS. Today it is down to about 12 days.
• Incoming mail is unloaded, x-rayed and sorted by unit. Once the package is opened, a cover sheet is placed on top of each mail packet. Incoming mail and cases are matched by bar codes.
• NVC does not adjudicate cases. It conducts “administrative review” of documents to ensure they are complete. Legal questions, such as CSPA issues, are referred to the legal team at the Visa Office in Washington, DC.
• Once documents are deemed complete, NVC schedules interview.
• NVC schedules interviews for all 144 immigrant visa processing posts except Guangzhou.
• NVC coordinates with the Post twice per month to schedule appointments.
• NVC transfers physical and electronic file to Post.
FY 2014 Statistics:
• 709,000 cases received from USCIS.
• 99,000 current family-based petitions.
• 349,000 cases shipped to Post.
• 2.6 million total cases.
• 1.4 million pieces of incoming mail.
• 3.3 million pieces of outgoing mail.
• 1.7 million written inquiries.
• 1.6 million calls.
• 98,000 Congressional inquiries.