Guide: National Visa Center

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • National Visa Center (NVC) manages approved visa applications until an immigrant visa number is available.
  • NVC handles pre-processing tasks and communicates with visa applicants.
  • To check application status, contact the NVC through phone, email, mail, or fax with specific details.
  • NVC invoices fees and collects necessary documents before scheduling a visa interview.

Since the INA grants the United States the ability to give up to 675,000 permanent visas each year, it’s obvious that these people had to deal with the NVC at one point. NVC, which is short for the National Visa Center, is an essential part of every immigrant visa petition grant. But if it’s your first time applying for a visa, this may be too confusing for you. If you want to understand the whole visa process much easier, here’s all you need to know about the National Visa Center.

What Is the National Visa Center?

NVC, or the National Visa Center, is an important center that is taking part in the offering of the immigrant visa petitions. They are the ones holding the U.S. visa petitions, and they are part of the U.S. Department of State.

When you apply for a visa or green card, your application has to be verified first and see whether you’re suitable to receive a visa or not. Well, if you’re approved, then your approved application will be held by the NVC until there is an available immigrant visa number for your petition. Then, you are arranged to take a visa interview at the abroad consulate.

The NVC was established back in 1994, and it is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and it’s on the site of a closed Air Force base. The NVC is also the one communicating with the beneficiary of the visa, whether it’s you who applies for it or someone else applied on your behalf.

Where Does the National Visa Center Fit into the U.S. Immigration Process?

When you first submit your immigrant visa petition, you have to wait and see if it’s approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If it is, then your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) so that the visa can be pre-processed at the right time.

You should be aware that there are no yearly numerical limits for immediate relative categories. On the other hand, there will be annual numerical limits for family preference and employment-based immigrant categories. So, you might have to wait much longer for the visa as processing time will be extended.

How to Check Your Application Status with the NVC?

It’s easy to check your application status because all you have to do is keep in contact with the NVC. You have to reach out to the NVC and ask them directly about your immigrant visa application.

When you contact the NVC, you need to give them some specific details so they know how to check your application. First of all, you need to give the name of the applicant, as well as the date of birth. The petitioner’s name and date of birth are essential too where it applies. You will have to offer your NVC Case Number in the e-mail’s Subject Line as well, so don’t forget this very important detail.

Make sure that you include the name of your law office requesting the information in case you’re an attorney. Also, write the name of your organization/company in case you submitted an employment-based petition. Another thing that you shouldn’t forget is the fact that you should only ask about one case per e-mail, so don’t go asking for more.

How to Contact the National Visa Center

There are multiple ways to contact the National Visa Center – you can contact them through pretty much all the basic methods. However, they don’t meet in person, so don’t try to go to their center to talk to them, or you’ll travel all that way for nothing.  That being said, here is how to contact the NVC through the mail, e-mail, phone and fax:

By Phone

You can contact the NVC by phone at 603-334-0700. There is an automated recorded message system, which is available 24/7 so you have no reason to worry about that. But if you need live assistance, then it’s available from Monday through Friday, from 7:30 AM to 12:30 AM. It’s always better to call between 8 and 10 AM, or between 9 PM and midnight, though.

Bear in mind that you will only be able to get access to the information by entering either your CIS receipt number or your NVC case number.

By Email

The email is another convenient method to contact the NVC. As long as you make sure to include all the important details such as NVC Case Number in the subject line, name and date of birth and everything else necessary, it should all go smoothly. You can contact the National Visa Center at [email protected].

By Mail

If you have specific questions about your petition and not only, contacting the NVC by mail is possible as well. You can do this by sending your questions at the National Visa Center, WC, 32 Rochester Avenue, Suite 200, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2915. If you have any documents that you need to send, you can do so at the National Visa Center, Attn: CMR, 31 Rochester Ave, Suite 100, Portsmouth, NH 03801-2914.

By Fax

It’s also possible to send the NVC something through fax, at 603-334-0791.

NVC Frequently Asked Questions

You may still have questions about the NVC, and it’s best that they don’t remain unanswered since you surely want to have a smooth application process. So, here are some of the most frequently asked questions with their respective answers.

What happens after I send my petition to NVC?

Now that you sent your immigrant visa petition to the NVC, you will have to wait till the NVC takes action. That being said, if you have a Priority Date that meets the most recent Cut-off Date, chances are your application may become current very soon.

In that case, the NVC will have to invoice you for your visa application fees, as well as collect your visa application, together with some documents that support it. You will then have to take an interview with a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, so keep your visa petition until there’s a scheduled interview.

But be aware that if you don’t have a Priority Date that meets the most recent Cut-Off date, then you will have to wait a little more. The NVC will hold your petition until the Cut-off Date is being met. Don’t worry – the NVC will notify you about this. It will have to start getting processed afterward, after all.

How do I find out what my priority date is?

It’s not that difficult to find out your priority date. You can find it out by checking your immigrant visa petition assigned by the USCIS. There should have been a Priority Date when you filed with the USCIS in the first place. But don’t hesitate to check out the Approval Notice from the USCIS if you’re unsure.

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The National Visa Center (NVC) is an important center that deals with your visa applications, and for that reason, you must know more about them and how they operate. If you have any questions for them, you can just get in contact with them, whether you applied for an H1B or J1 visa. On Stilt, you can also find out more about immigrant visas and other similar topics, so check us out!

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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