The Role of the NVC in Getting a
US Immigration Green Card



Many hands are involved in obtaining a US immigration green card. Although the USCIS sets regulations and policies, they have other offices under and associated with them that all play important roles in processing green cards by marriage. One of those associates is the National Visa Center, or NVC.

Who Is the NVC?

The National Visa Center, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was opened in 1994. It was designed to be a central location and housing unit for green card petitions until the time that they are needed. In the most basic terms, the NVC handles the processing and storage of all approved green card petitions.

Before they go to the NVC, green card petitions must first be approved by USCIS. The NVC does not make decisions on petitions. Marriage green card petitions have to be approved by the CIS first; the NVC only receives approved petitions.

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The Role and Responsibilities of the National Visa Center

Processing and storage is the basic role that the NVC plays in green card application. Since it can be months or years before a green card is ready for application and final processing, there needed to be a safe and secure place where waiting petitions would be managed in the meantime. That place is the NVC.

Having the NVC also solves the problem of having petitions waiting in remote offices for long periods of time, which could result in missing documents and confusion.

The role of the NVC:

  • Collection of visa application fees
  • Collection of visa application documentation
  • Communication with petitioner and applicant as processing and fees become due (when your priority date nears, the NVC will contact you with further instructions)
  • Communication with applicant and petitioner for submission of documents (again, you'll receive notification from the NVC with further instructions)
  • Forwarding of applications and documents to appropriate offices and consulates for final processing

Unless you move or change contact information, you will have little to no cause to directly contact the NVC yourself. The NVC will receive everything from the CIS, and will contact you when the appropriate time comes.

The NVC makes the process of applying for a US immigration green card more secure and efficient. By streamlining the processing and storage of petitions and supporting documents, the NVC works as your partner in securing a green card through marriage.

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