How are Petitions Processed?
The National Visa Center (NVC) is a Department of State processing facility that handles all approved immigrant visa petitions before they are forwarded to the Embassy for final processing.
Once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves a petition, it notifies the petitioner and sends the approved petition to the NVC where it will be kept until an immigrant visa number is available. Approved petitions may remain at the NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category of the beneficiary.
The NVC will notify the beneficiary when the priority date of his/her petition becomes current (or when a visa number becomes available) and will provide all the necessary information and application forms to start the immigrant visa application process. In almost all cases, the Affidavit of Support and the visa application fees are processed at the NVC.
When an applicant's priority date is about to become current and NVC has completed its processing of the case, the approved petition and case file are sent to the Embassy for the applicant to complete his/her application. If the beneficiary is already in the United States and wishes to adjust status in the U.S., the NVC may forward the approved petition to a USCIS office upon the request of that office.