NVC File Receipt
Approximately 60 days after I-526/I-140/I-130 approval, NVC sends a notice stating that they have received the approved petition from USCIS. This ‘NVC File Receipt’ notice contains the USDOS case number (e.g. GZO followed by ten digits), as well as the Principal Applicant (PA)’s name, date of birth and chargeability. No information on dependents is provided in this notice. It is important to review this notice to make sure that the name is spelled properly and that the chargeability and date of birth are correct.
If the PA’s priority date is on or after the Chart B early filing date in the Visa Bulletin, NVC will hold the case until the quota waiting period has passed.
Updates to the case record before processing begins
During the waiting period between NVC File Receipt and commencement of DS-260 processing (when the Chart B date is reached), NVC requests that PAs send updates on changes or corrections to their name, address, marital status, date of birth and chargeability. This includes changes to the PA’s mailing and residential addresses, phone number and e-mail address. Note, however, that no dependents can be added or removed during this waiting period.
Commencement of NVC process: Chart B, Fee Bill
Once a PA’s priority date is earlier than the Chart B Early Filing date, NVC e-mails the PA’s fee bill to the attorney’s office to begin DS-260 processing. At this point, all eligible derivative dependents will be identified and, if necessary, a second fee bill will be requested that identifies and adds dependents to the case.
Note that processing times, as reflected in Chart B, can change at any time.
Children over 21 at the time that NVC processing begins
NVC will not add a child over the age of 21 to the fee bill if no visa is available. NVC may add a child to the fee bill if the child’s CSPA age is under 21 on the first day of visa availability, or may defer to the consulate to make the decision to add a CSPA-age-adjusted child as a derivative. Some consulates permit families to request the addition of a child over 21 years old to the interview notice. Such children must pay the DS-260 fee and file complete applications that will be denied if the child has aged out.
NVC website errors
Sometimes the NVC payment website has errors preventing online payment. In addition, sometimes the website misidentifies dependents’ relationships, e.g., mixing up ‘spouse’ and ‘child.’ These mistakes do not need to be corrected on the fee bill and will be resolved upon filing of the DS-260.
“Paid” status of NVC fee bill
Approximately one to two days after the NVC fee bill is paid online, the “In Process” status changes to “Paid” and the DS-260 forms open on the CEAC website. It is not immediately evident that the fee bill is paid on the website, as it takes NVC a day or two to process the payment. Therefore, having received the e-mail receipt for fee bill payment, please wait four days before being concerned that the online status has not changed.
Processing Complete Letter
Four to six weeks after all DS-260s and civil documents have been submitted, NVC typically reviews the case and either: 1) issues a ‘checklist’ identifying deficiencies in the civil documents; or 2) issues a Processing Complete Letter. Once a Processing Complete Letter has been issued, NVC “closes” the file and places it in a queue for future use.
The month before an applicant’s priority date becomes “current” in Chart A of the Visa Bulletin, i.e. a visa is available, NVC will “reopen” the file based on its place in the queue and schedule an interview within about 60 days of visa availability. After issuing the Processing Complete Letter and prior to visa availability, NVC will not review or consider additional material or communications from either attorneys or applicants. Such communications must be directed to the consular post.
Transfer of cases to post and interview notices
On the first day of visa availability, NVC will schedule an interview based on post availability. NVC sends an interview notice and transfers the case to post.
Interview and medical exam
The interview notice contains the time and date of the interview, instructions regarding scheduling a medical exam at a designated clinic immediately prior to the interview, and information on how to register with a courier service so that passports and other documents may be sent to and retrieved from the consulate. A lot of important information is contained in the interview notice, which must be read carefully. Applicants should prepare well for the interview. CSPA-protected children over 21 can be added to the interview appointment through direct communication with the consular post.
Return of passports through courier service
For normally processed immigrant visa issuance (i.e., no 221(g) has been issued), approximately one week following interview, the U.S. consulate returns passports to a bank or courier office through a courier service, such as CGI Stanley or USTravelDocs.