National Visa Center — US department of State – Part III

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By Michael Phulwani

This is the concluding part of the three-part article on the National Visa Center, where bulk of the processing of family and employment petitions are completed.

Original documents
For I-130-based IV consular processing cases, when a file is terminated and then reopened, the NVC requests a new DS-230 and I-864, and also requests that the supporting documents (including original marriage and birth certificates, etc.) to be sent anew.  If the NVC did not return the originals to the petitioner or beneficiary and, presumably, still possesses them, what should the attorney do to request that the NVC locate and integrate the documents so that they are reviewed as part of the reopened file?  

When cases are terminated at NVC, the original documents are destroyed per 9 FAM 42.83 PN5.1, Note: Petitions Terminated under INA 203(g).

How does NVC determine whether a birth or other civil record is an “original” document?  Particularly with Middle Eastern countries, members report receiving repeated requests for “original” documents when the original has been submitted. 

The NVC uses the reciprocity tables along with document exemplars received from post in making determinations for original documentation.

Also, the NVC does not accept that the original death certificate for a previous spouse is not available because only one original is issued by the government and that copy was issued to his immediate family (i.e., mother, brothers, sisters).  A written statement from the applicant or issuing authority stating the document is unavailable will suffice for NVC processing, however this does not waive the requirement for the case. The post may still require the documentation at the time of interview.

The NVC will set the Document Status in their system to “U” which indicates “The applicant has informed the NVC that the required document is unavailable.”

I-129F
What documents does the NVC send to the consulates in I-129F cases? 
NVC provides post with the petition and all supporting documents that are sent from USCIS.
Specifically, are the G-325 As for petitioner and beneficiary sent?
Yes, if they are provided with the approved petition.

I-130
A member has several cases in which I-130s were forwarded to the NVC and now needs a copy of the approval or the application for purposes of adjusting status. What is the best way for an attorney to get a copy of the I-130 approval out of a file pending at the NVC? USCIS will have the I-130 approval information for the purpose of filing for the adjustment of status. The attorney will need to request a copy of the I-130 filed at NVC through the FOIA process.

How long do FOIA  requests take:
FOIA direct through NVC —10-20 days
FOIA via Washington — NVC cannot provide a processing time
FOIA sent to NVC but cannot be processed through NVC – NVC cannot provide a processing time.

I-824
What is the procedure to follow when an I-824 approval notice is received?
I-824 Follow-to-join applications are processed the same as the original petitions.
Should members contact the NVC and request fee bills?
No, they will be emailed or mailed automatically.
Or will the attorney of record or petitioner automatically receive notification of fee bills? If the attorney contacts the NVC automated system to see whether the I-824 petition has arrived, does the attorney enter the USCIS case receipt number for the I-824, or for the principal’s adjustment of status application, or for the underlying I-130 or I-140?

The receipt number used is the I-824 follow to joint application.

Priority dates
We understand that NVC does not make determinations on Western Hemisphere priority dates, or other recapture of priority dates. Neverthe-less, we must go through NVC to get a post to make the determination so that a case can be scheduled. How do we advise NVC that we believe the visa applicant is eligible for a specific priority date, and request that the issue be sent to the post for resolution?

E-mail with the request for the earlier priority date.  Your email should include the specific case information including the case number, petitioner, principal applicant, visa symbol, the priority date, and all other information that is pertinent to the applicant being eligible for the earlier priority date. NVC will contact post for their determination. NVC officials were very co-operative and helpful in responding to all the questions, They are always available to respond to enquiries on NVCINQUIRY@state.gov.

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