Trends in National Visa Center Processing
After months of online system accessibility issues that left potential visa applicants around the globe unable to submit their visa applications, make online payment, or even access their case status, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and National Visa Center (NVC) has restored much of the functionality to the Consular Electronic Application Center. Nonetheless, applicants and practitioners continue to report problems with accessibility and confirmation of actions performed.
One of the more recently trending issues have been letters from the NVC stating that they will be terminating the immigrant visa application. The letters often site that there has been no contact to the NVC within one year so the case is being closed pursuant to INA §203(g). However, applicants and attorneys are receiving the notification despite having been in touch with the NVC on the case within the last year. The NVC has indicated that they are correcting this issue and are sending applicants follow-up emails to indicate that their cases will indeed continue to process and that the notice of termination was sent in error.
In general, delays in processing at multiples stages of the visa application process have increased. The NVC is again issuing notices confirming receipt of requests or documents submitted that indicate they are experiencing a high volume of incoming mail and ask the applicant to allow 30 days from the date of the mailing for the NVC to review the documents. In addition, many applicants are experiencing difficulties receiving fee bill payment receipts from the NVC. This problem is impacting applicants that make payment in either form, online or via mail. Further, many applicants have found that access to their DS-260 has been delayed beyond the typical 2-5 days after online payment. In other instances, the family members of primary applicants are routinely being omitted from the fee bills issued by the NVC and from the Consular Electronic Application Center portal. Another trend has been that accompanying family members are being listed as “Follow to Join,” restricting the ability to pay the fee bill and prepare the DS-260 application. Emailing the NVC and following up regularly about the issue has produced results in many cases. However, for a number of cases, the issue will appear resolved but then revert back the next day or even within hours.
Thus, while the technical issues at NVC no longer appear to be system-wide, applicants are still encountering various challenges to proceeding with their cases. For additional information regarding immigrant visa fees, please go to nvc.state.gov/fee. Applicants can reach out to the NVC via phone at 603-334-0700 for assistance with their case.