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26th April 2009
The National Visa Center (NVC) and US Visas from Thailand
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What is NVC?
The process for obtaining US Immigration benefits can be cumbersome at times, but overall is generally smooth provided one understands the process or retains the services of an attorney with experience in immigration matters.
An often asked question regarding the visa process is: what is NVC and what do they do? NVC is an acronym that stands for National Visa Center. The National Visa Center is government office under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of State. NVC is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The mandate of the National Visa Center is to process visa applications and ensure that visa petitions filed inside of the US for beneficiaries living abroad are transferred to the post with jurisdiction over the beneficiary’s home.
The National Visa Center is also responsible for collecting immigrant visa fees as well as certain documentation that will be needed in order for the consular officer to effectively adjudicate a US Visa application.
NVC processing: Non-Immigrant vs. Immigrant Visas
National Visa Center processing is more complicated and time consuming when it comes to US Immigrant Visas as opposed to Non-Immigrant visas. One of the activities that the National Visa Center routinely does is security clearances and background checks on those seeking to come to the United States. Since September 11, 2001 the National Visa Center has played an integral part in ensuring that visa applicants are properly screened in order to be assured that they do not pose a threat to United States security.
The National Visa Center (NVC) is sometimes confused with the NBC or National Benefits Center which is tasked by USCIS with maintaining processing pre-interview documentation for immigration interviews in the USA.
For those seeking to bring a Thai fiance to the United States on a K1 Visa, the processing at the National Visa Center will likely be faster than for those seeking to obtain an immigrant visa for their Thai loved one. This also holds true for the K3 Visa from Thailand for the supplemental I-129f petition. In any case, after the visa petition is approved by USCIS it is forwarded on to the National Visa Center and upon approval from that agency will be sent to the US Embassy or Consulate General.
Depending upon the caseload of the NVC at any given time it can take anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks to process a petition and forward it to a post abroad. However, this is merely an estimate and the processing time for all US agencies varies.
When filing a US Visa petition locally at USCIS in Bangkok, the National Visa Center does not enter into the process as the petition is forwarded literally across the street to the US Embassy in Bangkok.
(Note: Nothing in this document should be viewed as creating an Attorney-Client Relationship. Also, nothing written herein should be taken as a substitute for individualized legal advice from a licensed attorney.)
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