Integrity Legal

27th Aug 2010

Those with pending visa petitions and applications may have only had a passing experience dealing with the National Visa Center. For example, the National Visa Center plays a rather small role in the K1 visa process. Meanwhile those seeking a CR1 Visa or an IR1 Visa have probably had extensive dealings with the National Visa Center (NVC). In recent weeks, the NVC changed some of their processing policies for certain US Marriage Visas. Therefore, many of those seeking K3 Visa benefits have seen their application “administratively closed” by the NVC where the underlying I-130 arrived prior to, or contemporaneously with, the I-129f petition. In a recent announcement from the American State Department it was announced that NVC has begun a pilot program that many hope will eventually lead to simplification of the NVC document compilation process. To quote directly from the State Department’s announcement, as distributed through AILA:

The Immigrant Visa Electronic Processing Program is a pilot project which uses electronic communication and documentation methods to simplify and accelerate the immigrant visa application process. This program uses e-mail for communication and submission of all forms and documents to the NVC using the Portable Document Format (PDF). Under the Electronic Processing Program all forms will be downloaded, completed, signed (if required), scanned, saved as PDF files, and e-mailed to the NVC. Required civil documents and supporting documents must be converted to PDF files by scanning and e-mailed to the NVC. After the NVC has completed processing the applicant’s petition, the applicant will need to present the original physical documents to the US Embassy/Consulate at the time of the applicant’s visa interview. Failure to do so may cause a delay or denial of the visa being sought.

It is this author’s opinion that this policy change will have a tremendous impact upon the US visa process and will likely lead to faster visa processing in general. It will be interesting to see how this new program will impact US Consular Processing abroad. As noted in the announcement, original documentation will not be required by the NVC in some cases. Those who did not remit original documentation to the NVC may need to do so at the visa interview which usually occurs at a US Embassy or US Consulate with appropriate jurisdiction. Those who fail to remit such documentation may be subjected to a 221g refusal. In some cases, issuance of a 221g can delay a case by weeks, or in a limited number of cases the case could be delayed by months.

That said, those seeking visas to the United States are still well advised to seek the assistance of a competent licensed American attorney from the USA. Regardless of increased processing efficiency, there are many factors which can affect a visa application and competent advice and counsel can forestall unforeseen problems.

For related information please see: US Attorney Thailand.

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