1. After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your immigrant visa petition, USCIS forwards your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH for immigrant visa pre-processing at the correct time. Immediate relative categories do not have yearly numerical limits. However, family preference and employment based immigrant categories have numerical limits each year; therefore, lengthy wait times are involved for processing to begin.
2. If your Priority Date meets the most recent Cut-off Date, or is likely to become current soon, the NVC will:
- Invoice you for your visa application fees
- Collect your visa application and supporting documentation
- Hold your visa petition until an interview can be scheduled with a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
If your Priority Date DOES NOT meet the most recent Cut-off Date, the NVC will notify you and hold your petition until your Priority Date meets the most recent Cut-off Date or is likely to become current soon. As your Priority Date gets closer to the Cut-off Date, NVC will contact you to start processing. The Department of State updates the Cut-off Dates on a monthly basis in the Visa Bulletin
3. If your Priority Date meets the most recent Cut-off Date (called becomes current) and your petition is ready to begin processing at the NVC. As your Priority Date gets closer to the Cut-off Date and is likely to be current soon, NVC will contact you to start processing. Learn more by reviewing the Visa Bulletin.
4. USCIS assigned your immigrant visa petition a Priority Date when you filed it with USCIS. If you are unsure of your Priority Date, you should refer to the Approval Notice that you received from USCIS.
5. NVC Contact Information