National Visa Center
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What is the National Visa Center?
The National Visa Center, usually abbreviated as NVC, is a visa processing center operated by the US Department of State. The National Visa Center opened its permanent facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1994.
How does the National Visa Center process applications?
The National Visa Center is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and visa application documentation. When an applicant's priority date meets the most recent qualifying date, the NVC contacts the applicant and petitioner with instructions on how to submit the appropriate processing fees. After the appropriate processing fees are paid, the NVC will again contact the applicant and petitioner to request that the necessary immigrant visa documentation is submitted to the National Visa Center for final processing.
What is a visa?
A visa is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A visa entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission. However, it does not guarantee entry in the country. The immigration inspector at the port of entry determines the visa holder's eligibility for admission into the United States.
What type of visas are available?
- Nonimmigrant Visas: A nonimmigrant visa is required by anyone seeking temporary admission into the United States who is not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, or is not exempt from the visa requirement. Nonimmigrant visas are issued for tourism, business, work or study.
- Immigrant Visas: An immigrant visa is required by anyone seeking to gain permanent resident status in the United States. Upon entry into the United States, an immigrant visa holder is processed for a Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a
Green Card. Green Card holders may reside and work in the United States permanently. There is no requirement that the Green Card holder becomes a Naturalized U.S. Citizen; and he or she may retain his or her native citizenship and Passport. However, those seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens may file an application after five years, or three years if the individual is married to a U.S. citizen.
What is the difference between a non-immigrant and immigrant visa?
The purpose of an immigrant visa is to enable individuals to live permanently in the United States, while a non-immigrant visa is issued to individuals who wish to visit, study or work the United States on a temporary basis.
How does the immigrant visa process actually work?
An immigrant visa is never issued in the United States, but the application is processed at the National Visa Center in New Hampshire. Once the application is approved and ready to be issued, the National Visa Center provides a U.S. Embassy or Consulate with the appropriate records so the applicant can obtain the visa.
How long does it take to obtain an immigrant visa?
There are several factors that determine the length of time it takes for an immigrant visa to be issued. However, the two main factors are the applicant’s country of birth and the visa category.