Handling Delays in Your NVC Processing
If you are trying to get an immigrant visa through a U.S. consulate, you’ll have to first deal with the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC case delays are frustrating for immigrants and lawyers.
You may often find yourself thinking, “I haven’t heard anything about my case from the NVC, so what do I do?”
The answer: it depends on what stage in the process you are at. We can talk about case delays at two separate stages: one is before your petition gets to the NVC, and the other is after.
Delays when the I-130 visa petition is still pending
Often you will experience a delay in getting an immigrant visa because your visa petition, or I-130, is still pending.
In this case, do not contact the NVC for a case status check.
Instead, contact USCIS for help.
This makes more sense if you understand the process of getting a green card through a family member. There are two parts to the process.
First, your relative files an I-130 petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will review and make a decision on it. USCIS’s job is to confirm that the person who is petitioning for his or her family member is actually a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and that he or she is in fact related to the individual who wants a green card.
For example, suppose you are a U.S. Citizen and you want to get a green card for your parents who live in another country. You will file with USCIS separate I-130 petitions for each of them. Then, USCIS will confirm that you are actually a U.S. citizen and that your parent is actually your mother or father.
Once USCIS has approved your petition then you get to the second stage of the process.
Second, the National Visa Center (NVC) gets involved. USCIS will send the approved petition to the NVC to create a case for processing the green card at a consulate or embassy abroad.
Bottom line: if you have not received a receipt or approved I-130 petition from USCIS, there you should not try to check your case status with the NVC, because your petition or case has not arrived there yet. Instead, contact USCIS to check your I-130 case status. If there’s a delay, will need to learn more about USCIS delays and how to speed up your USCIS case.
Delays after visa petition is approved
Often, even after USCIS approves your I-130 petition, you may find yourself waiting long to hear something from the National Visa Center (NVC). Here, you have two options. You can simply wait 4 to 6 weeks and NVC will send you notification by mail or by email informing you that the case has been created.
If you do not want to wait, and wish to be proactive, then you can make an online request at Ask NVC. There, the NVC asks you for your USCIS I-130 Receipt Number, the names of the people involved, and the date of birth of the person who is applying for the immigrant visa. Then there is a section titled “Type of your Question Below.” In this box, you may simply type, “Please provide a status on the case listed. If no case exists, please request the approved I-130 petition from USCIS.” After submitting your question, expect to wait 45 to 60 days for an answer.
A warning: don’t contact the NVC immediately after the I-130 has been approved. If you make a request to NVC, this can sometimes delay your case by getting the NVC involved too soon. So the best practice is to wait for 4-6 weeks before sending the request to the NVC.
Be advised: there is also a phone number you can call, (603) 334-0700, but it is strongly recommended that you do not call, and that you email instead. Many of the officers do not understand the process and have been known to give incorrect information.