Tips For Dealing With The NVC
Author: US Immigrant Visa Attorney Alena Shautsova
National Visa Center is a “middle man” between the applicant/petitioner and the consulate when one is applying for immigrant and certain non-immigrant visas. You will need to deal with the NVC prior to appearing for a visa interview and here, knowing certain its practices will help tremendously.
How NVC Gets The Case
The case is transferred to the NVC once the immigrant petition indicating consulate processing is approved. It takes NVC about 6 weeks to receive the case. At times, the case is routed to the NVC by mistake: for example, it is true for religious immigrant petitions. Since in that category it is not possible for the beneficiary to submit I 485 adjustment of status form concurrently with the I 360, often approved religious petitions are transferred to the NVC. At times, the case should be transferred to the NVC but instead, it is designated for adjustment of status process. In such a situation, a special form has to be filed to transfer the approved petition to the NVC. It may take 8 months for the case to be transferred in such cases.
Most Common Issues When Submitting Documents to the NVC
NVC’s primary function is to collect documents necessary for an interview and schedule an interview at a consulate. The case at the NVC’s stage will not reach the interview if all the required documents are not collected. The most common issue at this stage is one related to the affidavit of support. Currently, the evaluation of the sufficiency of sponsor’s income and ability to sponsor a beneficiary is being considered under expanded guidelines: tax returns alone do not establish income sufficiency. It means that the petitioner should attach more documents proving income other than tax returns. Tax returns have to be produced even when the sponsor resides abroad. Residence outside of the United States does not exempt U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from filing a U.S. Federal income tax return. Per 9 FAM 302.8-2, the sponsor(s) must provide the Federal income tax returns for the most recent tax year. If the sponsor did not have to file a tax return, they must attach an explanation that shows why they were not obligated to file.
Further, NVC does not consider assets as proof of sponsor’s income sufficiency. In cases where the income is not sufficient, a joint sponsor should be considered.
Visa Retrogression Issue
At times, the visa number becomes available but then retrogresses. In such cases, NVC will keep the case in a current status, and the applicant can continue to pay fees and submit forms and documents. NVC, however, will not schedule the case for an interview until it becomes current by Final Action Date in the visa bulletin. Therefore, the applicant should not expect to receive a letter to reinitiate the NVC process upon a case becoming current by Filing Date after retrogression because NVC no longer transfers the case to a "non-current" status.
Finally, in all cases where you cannot or do not want to act immediately on an approved current petition, you need to stay in touch with the NVC and appraise them of your interest in the petition at least once a year to avoid termination of the case’s registration. The best way to contact the NVC is through ASK NVC form: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/ask-nvc.html.
If you have questions regarding Immigrant Visas, please schedule a consultation at www.shautsova.com or by calling 917 885 2261.