Speed Up the NVC Process for U.S. IR-1 and CR-1 Spousal Visas by 5 Ways
You want to speed up the NVC process of your petition.
Right now, you are in the final stages of the USCIS phase of your IR-1 or CR-1 Spousal Visa petition. The USCIS phase is so frustrating. There is almost nothing that you can do to speed up the process. You are at the shear mercy of the USCIS service center that you were assigned, their current work load, and how many petitions are in front of you. In reality, it is 4-8 months of anxiety.
Now there is light at the end of the tunnel.
In contrast to USCIS, during the next phase at the National Visa Center (NVC), you control your destiny more. You actually have the means to speed up or, if you are not ready, slow down your time at NVC.
Now, at NVC, things can go really fast, if you are ready and know how to speed things up. You have the ability to make the NVC phase speed up mainly by being ready and understanding what to do.
Note: This post only applies to IR-1 and CR-1 Spousal Visa applications where the U.S. Citizen’s primary residence is in the United States. It does not apply to K-1 (Fiance(e)) petitions, a Direct Consular Filing (DCF) for IR-1 and CR-1 Spousal Visa applications where the U.S. Citizen has resided overseas for more than 1 year and his/her primary residence is overseas, U.S. Military expedited applications or other approved expedited applications.
Today, we will provide you with a list of the 5 things to do to speed up the NVC Process for IR-1 and CR-1 Spousal Visa applications:
#1 Sign Up for Text Notification In the USCIS Phase
If you only rely on USCIS to send you your NOA2 by mail, you most certainly be notified several weeks to a month after you get your USCIS approval through the NOA2 letter.
In other words, you may have already been approved by USCIS, your case may have already been forwarded to NVC. In the meantime, you could have been already been working on your NVC items. This will speed up your NVC process by almost a month.
Sign up for USCIS text notifications through the USCIS Case Status On-line by clicking HERE.
Check your case status through either:
- USCIS Case Status On-line
- Case Tracker & Searcher App for USCIS
See our blog post on checking your USCIS Case Status online by clicking HERE.
See our blog post on the Case Tracker & Searcher App by clicking HERE.
Secondly, don’t wait until you get your NOA2 from USCIS to learn about what the NVC process is all about. Learn what you need to do for the NVC Phase during the USCIS Phase so that you are ready. After you learn about the NVC Phase, then learn about the embassy stage as it goes really quick from here on out.
At NVC, knowledge, being ready and being prepared equals speed.
Read our webpage on the IR-1/CR-1 NVC Stage HERE.
Read our webpage on the IR-1/CR-1 Embassy Stage HERE.
#3 Gather all of Your Required Documents Ahead of Time
Most importantly, DO NOT WAIT until you get USCIS approval to start gathering your required documents for the NVC Stage. Start gathering these required NVC documents ahead of time while you are waiting during the USCIS Phase. Use this time wisely to be ready, not to sulk on how long USCIS is taking.
Without doubt, the NVC phase will go quick, if you have all of your required documents ready. On the contrary, if you don’t have all of your required documents ready, then you will be slowing yourself down, not the U.S. government.
Gather Financial Documents
Firstly, obtain the following financial documents ahead of time that will need to be submitted to NVC:
- IRS tax transcript for the most recent tax year is mandatory. You can get your tax transcript at this link Tax Transcript. In addition, you can also include your tax transcripts for the previous two years. By using the transcript, it saves you from copying and submitting all of your tax forms.
- Evidence of Income- Include a letter from your employer confirming that you are a current employee, full or part-time status, how long you have worked there and your salary or wage rate. Include copies of your W-2s for the previous three years.
- Proof of relationship, if you are using a joint sponsor
- Proof of domicile, if your address is outside the U.S., but you intend to live in a domicile in U.S.
- Social Security earning statement, if I-864W is used.
- Bank Statements, if needed.
A more detailed guide on obtaining financial evidence is found on the NVC web site, Financial Evidence Guide.
Gather Supporting Documents
Simultaneously, obtain the following supporting documents evidence ahead of time that will need to be submitted to NVC:
- Adoption Documentation- If the immigrating child of the Beneficiary was adopted, submit all records Child’s of the adoption.
- Birth Certificates- Obtain and submit a copy of the birth certificate for the Beneficiary and any child immigrating
- Court and Prison Records- If the Beneficiary and/or any child immigrating were convicted of a crime, obtain and submit a certified copy of each court and prison record, regardless of the fact that they may have been granted amnesty, a pardon, or other act of clemency.
- Marriage Certificates- Submit a copy of your marriage certificate.
- Marriage Termination Documentation- If the Beneficiary was previously married, then obtain and submit a copy of the divorce, annulment or death certificate. (Note only for the Beneficiary)
- Military Records- If the Beneficiary served in the military of any country, then obtain and submit a photocopy of his/her military record.
- Photocopy of Valid Passport Biographic Data Page- The Beneficiary and each child immigrating must submit a photocopy of the biographic data page of your valid passport. The biographic data page is the page of the passport with your photograph, name, date, and place of birth.
- Police Certificates- Submit for beneficiaries (spouse and Children) over 16 years of age police certifications.
Please note that all documents not written in English, must be accompanied by certified English translations. This takes time. Get a head start. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator stating that the:
- Translation is accurate, and
- Translator is competent to translate.
Be prepared ahead of time to complete this on-line application by gathering all the required information to be filled in. The beneficiary needs information on addresses of places that he or she has lived before along with other information such as current address, employer, ect… In order to be ready, get all this information ahead of time.
Click here for a sample of the application to determine the information required and see how to fill out the electronic form.
Moreover, if you use Rapid Visa, they will provide you with a filled in DS-260 for you to use when completing the DS-260 online. The information is gathered in their program where they ask you questions when you first sign up.
If you understand how and when to do the NVC action items, you can cut off a few weeks during the NVC Phase.
For this purpose, follow our guide below:
Get Your NVC Case Number, Invoice Identification Number (IIN) and Give email address:
Firstly, get your NVC Case Number, Invoice Identification Number (IIN) and Give email address.
You do not have to wait until you receive your NOA2 in the mail to get your NVC case number and IIN. The letter will come very late.
Once you get a text message or see that your USCIS case has been approved and forwarded to the Department of State (NVC), wait a couple of days and then start calling the NVC (603) 334-0700 [HOURS: 7am – 12am EST, M-F] every day until you get your NVC case number, IIN and give them your email address.
This may take several days to a week of calling as you cannot get the information until NVC receives your package from USCIS and it is logged in.
On-line Choice of Agent (DS-261):
Secondly, complete on-line Choice of Agent (DS-261): After you have your NVC Case number, go to the NVC Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website and follow the directions on the website to complete the on-line choice of agent.
Usually, you pick your petitioner as your agent. You have to wait until the DS-261 becomes available on-line before completing on-line Choice of Agent. This usually takes a few days to a week after getting your case number.
Check every day until you see it is available and then complete it as soon as it is available. Print out the DS-261 confirmation page for your records. If you are having problems with the DS-261 not being available, call NVC and have them do and approve the DS-261 over the phone.
Pay Affidavit of Support (AOS) and Visa (IV) Fee On-line:
Thirdly, after you have chosen your agent, you need to pay your processing fees. There are two processing fees:
- Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee (IV Fee)- $325
- Affidavit of Support Fee (AOS Fee)- $120
The processing fees are paid online through the Immigrant Visa Invoice Payment Center. In order to pay these fees on-line, you need your bank routing number and checking or savings account number from a U.S. bank.
You will also need your NVC Case Number and Invoice ID Number located on the NVC Welcome Letter you received. Once you obtain this information, log into the Immigrant Visa Invoice Payment Center and pay your fees. You have to pay the fees using a U.S. bank with routing number and bank account number.
You cannot pay these two fees at the same time. The on-line system makes you to pay them one at a time. This takes a few days to do as the system does not let you pay the AOS fee until your check for the IV fee has cleared.
After submitting your payments online, you may have to wait up to 1 week for NVC to process your fee payments before continuing to the next step. You will not be able to access your Visa Application Form (Form DS-260) until NVC has processed your payments.
Submit On-line DS-260 Visa ApplicationFourthly, fill out the on-line DS-260 Visa application once the IV fee shows as “Paid” in the Immigrat Visa Payment Center. This usually takes a few days after paying the fee for the check to clear. After the IV and AOS fees are paid, complete the online Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260) in the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). Click here for sample of the application to determine the information required and see how to fill out the electronic form.
The NVC Case Number, Beneficiary ID Number, and Invoice ID Number listed in the NVC Welcome Letter are needed to access CEAC.
Your spouse needs a passport from his/her foreign country by this point as the passport information is required to be entered into Form DS-260. Make sure that work on obtaining the passport during the USCIS Phase. The form asks many questions about the Petitioner and Beneficiaries’ previous addresses, employment, family questions and questions related to any illegal activities.
Recommendation: The on-line form has a check box to automatically receive your Social Security card after you enter the U.S. We recommend that you do not check this box. The card arrives much faster if you go to your local Social Security office after you get to the U.S. (2 weeks) vs. getting it automatically by checking this box (4-6 weeks).
Submit your Financial and Supporting Documentation
Finally, once you have all of your financial and supporting documentation, submit that with the bar coded checklist that you received.
NVC Speed Up Summary
In order to understand better how to gather and submit the documents, read our webpage on the IR-1/CR-1 NVC Stage HERE.
After you submit your package, wait for NVC approval and forwarding of your petition to the embassy.
In the meantime, get ready for your embassy interview and read our webpage on the IR-1/CR-1 Embassy Stage HERE.
By doing these items, you will surely speed up your NVC process.