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How long does it take the National Visa Center to process after USCIS approves the petition?

The NVC site mentions up to 11 weeks after all documents are submitted, but I heard from several sources that it is taking much longer. What is the reason for this and is there any way to bypass the wait?

Answers

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Typically, it takes 2-3 months for the National Visa Center (NVC) to process your case after it receives approval on the I-526 petition, but the time will vary given the number of documents the NVC must review. Because of the large volume of cases that have been approved under all of the preference classifications, there is no way to bypass the NVC unless you are eligible for an Adjustment of Status within the United States.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally, you cannot bypass the wait time because there is no expedited service with NVC. The 11-week period cited on the NVC site is just an estimated period as experience shows it can take much longer. Finally, please note each case is different; delays can occur for a host of reasons. For instance, the NVC may request additional information.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    On average, it takes NVC about 60 days to process the case. Interview scheduling with a U.S. Embassy may take additional time. A case may be expedited for aging out children.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is correct that some cases take 1-2 months to get to the NVC after approval. The only way to expedite this process is to meet certain criteria, including possible child age-outs. NVC gets thousands of petitions each week; each petition must be reviewed and there is no way to bypass this process. You could also request an expedite based on the sunset date of September 30, 2017, but I am not sure that will work.

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    Anthony Korda

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    NVC states 60-90 days. It can take longer due to the number of applications. Generally, there is no way to circumvent this process. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to expedite the process. You should discuss your urgent needs with an experienced immigration attorney.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Please note that NVC is not an agency that adjudicates anything. They are a clearinghouse that transmits documents from one agency to another, and they are staffed with mostly federal contractors instead of federal government employees. Recently, NVC has started issuing a checklist of items that were submitted many months before and, if you do not respond with another duplicate document, they will hold the case indefinitely. A prime example of their inconsistency is the checklist for police clearance: although their instructions clearly state you may either submit a copy or bring the original to the interview, if you respond stating that you will bring the original to the interview, they state that that is not good enough. Thus, they demand the applicant submits the copy and brings the original to the interview. Therefore, it seems that they are not even following their own instructions. Another problem I noticed is the loss of the files in transit between USCIS and NVC. Some visa fee bills are issued within a month or two of petition approval while some take as long as 5 months. Following up with USCIS and NVC on this is like being a ping pong ball: each agency will say they do not have it and it takes several attempts to finally track someone down. Bottom line: attorneys working on client cases must call and email the NVC several times to follow-up the answers given are often inconsistent and contradictory.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    11 weeks is about right. They claim they are shorthanded and the consulates are not giving them many interview slots. You can only bypass the wait time if you have a strong reason to expedite the process, in which case the consulate can be approached with that reason.

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    Abhinav Lohia

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    NVC is taking around 90 days to review documents. They are claiming this is because of an excessive work load. Regular follow-ups with NVC usually speed things up.

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