Key Takeaways from AILA DOS Liaison Committee Meeting with the National Visa Center (February 2021)
Background – After the USCIS approves an Immigrant visa petition for applicants located outside of the United States, the case is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. Family preference cases and employment-based immigration categories have numerical limits each year, so waiting times are normally long. If your priority date is current, NVC will begin Consular Processing. If your priority date is not current, you must wait for it to become current before NVC will contact you to initiate Consular processing.
AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee has provided their key takeaways from a February 2021 meeting with the NVC. They discussed problems and delays at the NVC which have been mostly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Communications and Customer Service
NVC has continued its operations over the past year with no reduction in staff. They have been utilizing remote work practices and when in-person, social distancing, which all have added to the delays.
- NVC Scheduling of Appointments at Posts
Presently, only Consulates/Embassies that can conduct interviews will be scheduling Immigrant Visa (IV) appointments. All other cases are being warehoused by the NVC due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The following cases may be scheduled as emergent, if possible: age-outs; inter-country adoption cases; case accepted in the Post’s discretion for expedite.
- Cases in Queue (As of January 25, 2021)
Approximately 312,782 family-based immigrant visa cases are waiting for the consular post to open. There are 11,504 employment-based immigrant visa cases and 3,930 EB-5 cases also waiting. Any cases that had already been scheduled for an interview when the consular post closed will be scheduled first as offices open. Cases are transferred to post on a first-in, first-out basis based on the date the applicant became documentarily qualified. Cases that were already at a post (pre-COVID) stayed at that post and the post will notify the applicant when they are ready to reschedule the interview.
National Visa Center à https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/national-visa-center.html
NVC Processing Times à https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/nvc-timeframes.html
Source of Information:
AILA (AILA.org), 2/17/21, AILA Doc. No. 21032200:
Liaison Update: Key Takeaways from AILA DOS Liaison Committee Meeting with the National Visa Center (2/17/21)