FAQ: National Visa Center (NVC) Processing

To download a PDF version, click here.

What is the National Visa Center (NVC)?

The NVC is a Department of State (DOS) facility that handles immigrant visa processing.  They act as a liaison between USCIS, the green card applicant(s) and the consular post abroad.

After USCIS approves your immigrant petition (I-130 or I-140), USCIS will submit your approval to NVC. It is taking NVC 30 to 45 days after they receive the USCIS approval to provide instruction on the next steps.  You must wait to hear from NVC before proceeding.

The next steps typically include payment of fees, submission of DS-260, collection and submission of documents, review and communications from NVC.


What Role Does the NVC Play in the Immigration Process?

NVC will collect the immigrant visa fees, forms and documents from the petitioners and immigrant visa applicants.  It will enter your data in the consular database and assign you an NVC case number which will be important throughout the remainder of the process.


What Are the Immigrant Visa Fees?

These are the fees (one per applicant) that you must pay to file your DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application.

To pay the fees, you will need your NVC case number and invoice identification number on the Fee Bill issued by NVC.  The fees are paid to NVC using the online Immigrant Visa Invoice Payment Center.

All payments must be made in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank.  To pay, you will also need your bank’s routing number and your checking (or savings) account number.  NVC does not accept credit or debit card payments.  We assist our clients with this process.

If your case involves an immigrant petition for a family member, in addition to the immigrant visa fees, you will be required to pay an I-864, adjustment of status fee per case.

After the fees are paid, we must allow five days for NVC to process your fee payments before continuing to the next step – filing the DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application.


When Do I Submit the Required Forms and Documents to NVC?

After NVC processes your fees, the NVC will request that you submit the necessary immigrant visa documents, including the Affidavit of Support (AOS) for a family-based case, application forms, civil documents, medical exam information and more.

After the necessary fees, forms, and documents have been collected, the NVC will schedule your interview at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate and will transfer your case file to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


How Do I Submit Documents to the NVC?

NVC accepts submission via electronic email and mail.  Which way you will submit your documents will depend on the post you will be processing at.


Which Documents Do I Need to Submit to the NVC?

  • Photocopy of your current passport biographic data page
  • Photographs
  • Two identical color photographs
  • Requirements and samples can be found here
  • Birth certificates
  • Must contain your date and place of birth, and names of both of your parents
  • Adoption documentation, if applicable
  • Marriage certificates
  • Marriage termination documentation, if applicable
  • Military records, if applicable
  • Police certificates (not applicable for Mexican applicants)
  • Each visa applicant aged 16 years and older must submit police certificates
  • How to obtain the police certificate varies in every country.
  • Court and prison records, if applicable
  • Petitioner documents
  • If your case is based on a family sponsorship, additional documents will be required including Affidavit of Support and related documents.

Note: Translation Requirements – All documents not in English, or in the official language of the country in which you will be applying, must be accompanied by certified translations and submitted to the NVC. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator stating that the translation is accurate and that the translator is competent to translate.


What is the Form DS-260 and How do I File It?

This is the Immigrant Visa Application used to collect the necessary application information from persons seeking an immigrant visa.

The DS-260 must be completed and submitted online through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). To log-in to CEAC, you will need the following numbers:

  • NVC case number
  • NVC invoice ID number
  • Beneficiary ID number

These numbers are noted on the letter or e-mail that you will receive from the NVC.

Submitting Form DS-260 does not formally execute your visa application.  The visa application is formally made when you’re interviewed by a U.S. consular officer. After submitting the Form DS-260 online, print the confirmation page as you will need it for your visa interview.


How Do I Prepare for the Medical Examination?

Immigrant visa applicants must complete a medical examination with authorized physicians before their consular interview. The NVC will provide information about this appointment and in some cases will schedule the appointment for you.

You should plan to bring the following documents to your medical exam:  your vaccination immunization record, prior chest x-rays, your medical history records, your passport and interview appointment letter, and any additional documents that the physician requires.


What Will Be Tested During the Medical Examination?

The medical examination will include a medical history review, physical examination, chest x-ray and blood test.  It will also include a general examination of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin and external genitalia.

At the end of the examination, the doctor will either send the results to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate directly or will give you the results in a sealed envelope which the applicant must bring to the interview. You must not open the sealed envelope.

More FAQs about the medical examination can be found here.