In most immigration and quasi-immigrant (K Visas) petitions, there are three stages to the petition. The original petition is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the United States. After the original approval, the case is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) which is part of the Department of States.
At the NVC, the state department will request civil documentation and other supporting documentation so the NVC can make a preliminary assessment of the completeness of the case. After approving the initial submission, the NVC forwards the case to the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate who has jurisdiction over the immigrant for an interview and final processing.
Until recently, the National Visa Center required submission of original documents and copies to be submitted to them to ensure the validity of the documents. The NVC has made an announcement that they will no longer collect original civil documents in support of immigrant visas. Civil documents include most government issued documents including birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce orders, death certificates, and police certificates. A photocopy of the required supporting documents will be sufficient. The Affidavit of Support forms are still required to be submitted with original signatures to the National Visa Center for initial evaluation.
In addition, the National Visa Center has designated some jurisdictions “electronic processing posts”. The U.S. Embassies or Consulates which have been designated electronic processing post will accept documents that have been scanned and email to them. Under this program, all forms will be downloaded, completed, signed, scanned, and emailed to the NVC.
After the NVC has completed processing the applicant’s petition and transferred the case to the local consulate or embassy, the local embassy/consulate will schedule an interview with the immigrant. The immigrant will need to present the original physical documents to the officer for inspection and authentication.
The purpose of both processes is to expedite the final stage, remove government responsibility over original documents, and improve the customer experience while still maintaining integrity of the immigration documentation process. If you have questions about U.S. visa consular processing, please contact Law Firm for a consultation.