Issues Impacting the Immigrant Visa Process

U.S. Department of State Liaison Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), recently met with the National Visa Center (NVC) authorities. This meeting helped AILA identify a number of issues that are currently affecting the immigrant visa process.

NVC is facing backlogs and according to AILA, NVC received an increased number of immediate relative immigrant visa petitions from USCIS over the past year. The agency used to receive only 8,000 petitions every week before October 2013 but later it started to receive 25,000 petitions every week. The agency faced backlogs and in summer it took around 45 days to create cases. However, it has now reduced to 12 days and NVC is now receiving around 17,000 cases per week.

Currently, NVC is facing delays in reviewing supporting documents submitted along with immigrant petitions. In order to eliminate the backlogs and process applications faster, the agency is cross training its staff and is reallocating resources to document review. NVC is also hiring additional staff to bring the backlog down.

When NVC was asked about the processing times for immigrant visa applications, NVC told AILA that it takes around six months to process 40 percent of cases it receives and 120 days to process 7.6 percent of cases. The agency takes 180 to 239 days to process 20.8 percent of cases and takes longer to process some immigrant visa cases.

NVC stated that it will review all civil and financial documents while it reviews DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. So NVC told AILA that the processing times can be reduced and delays can be avoided if all the supporting documents are submitted in one package.

It must be remembered that NVC does not adjudicate cases and it only conducts administrative review of documents to make sure that the applications are complete. After reviewing the documents, the agency will schedule interviews. NVC schedules interviews for 144 immigrant visa processing posts.