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Jacob Sapochnick Answers your Immigration Questions: NVC, K1 Visas, Consular Processing, and More!

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers your frequently asked questions relating to K-1 visas, the National Visa Center, and consular visa processing during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.


Your Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How can I contact the National Visa Center?

A: Once your Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative has been approved, your case will be transferred to the National Visa Center for further processing. Once pre-processing has been completed, your case will be forwarded to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy near you. At the NVC stage, you will be asked to provide additional supporting documentation including the affidavit of support, Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, and other important documents.

To ensure all of your supporting documentation has been received it is very important to maintain contact with the National Visa Center.

You may contact the NVC by email at NVCinquiry@state.gov or by telephone at 603-334-0700.


Q: Will immigration consider my priority date or approval date for interview?

A: For family-sponsored immigrants, the priority date is the date that the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or in certain instances the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, is properly filed with USCIS.

Depending on the type of relationship you have to the U.S. petitioner, you may need to reference your priority date to determine when an immigrant visa (or green card) will become available to you.

Immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are unlimited, so they are always available. Immediate relatives include:

  • The spouses of U.S. citizens;
  • The children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens;
  • The parents of U.S. citizens at least 21 years old; and
  • Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen filed a petition before they died, or if the widow(er) files a petition within two years of the citizen’s death.

However, immigrant visas for other family-sponsored preference categories are numerically limited, so they are not always immediately available. These individuals must reference the Visa Bulletin to determine when a visa will become available. The Visa Bulletin is published by the Department of State on a monthly basis.


Q: Can you please tell me how to expedite my spouse’s case? I am a green card holder and my spouse is waiting for her interview abroad.

A: For information on how to expedite a case please view our videos discussing the expedite process.

At this time visa issuance for spouses of green card holders is temporarily suspended as a result of Presidential Proclamation 10014. Accordingly, U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide will not issue visas to F-2A spouses of green card holders until the Presidential Proclamation terminates on December 31, 2020 if it is not further extended by President Trump or President elect Joe Biden in the future.

While spouses of U.S. Citizens applying at the consulate are not impacted by Presidential Proclamation 10014, they may be subject to several other Proclamations that limit their entry. For instance, the Coronavirus proclamations prevent the entry and visa issuance of those who were physically present in the Schengen countries, United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Iran, and Brazil within the 14- day period prior to attempted entry to the United States. Spouses of U.S. Citizens may nonetheless receive a visa if they can demonstrate that they qualify for a “national interest exception.”

One may receive a National Interest Exception:

(1) as a public health or healthcare professional or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to continue ongoing research in an area with substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or disease research);  OR

(2) to provide care for a U.S. citizen, including alleviating the burden of care from a medical or other institution, or to prevent a U.S. citizen from becoming a public charge or ward of the state or the ward of a medical or other institution; OR

(3) to join an active military member petitioner in the U.S.

If you believe you may qualify for a national interest exception, please contact our office at 619-819-9204 or toll free at 866-488-1554.


Q: How long is it taking to process K-1 fiancé visas?

A: Recently, a federal judge issued a ruling in the case Daniel Milligan, et al., v. Michael Pompeo et al. ordering the Department of State to continue to adjudicate K visas for those subject to the Coronavirus Presidential Proclamations.

The federal judge said that DOS may not stop visa processing for K visa beneficiaries impacted by the proclamations, although their entry may be restricted until further notice.

The judge stopped short of issuing an injunction to prevent K visa delays during the pandemic.

At this time the majority of Consulates and Embassies worldwide are still not giving priority to K visa beneficiaries. Many have had to resort to asking for expedited processing based on medical emergency or extreme hardship to the U.S. Citizen fiancé in order to receive an interview. Still others who have already had an interview remain waiting for visas to be issued.

If you believe you qualify for expedited processing based on such circumstances, we invite you to contact our office to evaluate your options for relief at 619-819-9204 or toll free at 866-488-1554.


Q: What will happen to visa processing under the Biden administration?

A: We believe that the incoming Biden administration will focus on facilitating visa adjudication to help reduce significant backlogs at the USCIS and DOS level however this process will likely take some time. Only time will tell what immigration might look like under the Biden administration, but we remain hopeful that the incoming President will implement policies that will help push cases along in the future.


Q: I fall under the F-4 category. My interview was scheduled in March and then cancelled. Are there any updates?

A: The majority of U.S. Consulates and Embassies have temporarily suspended routine visa services as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, there are no clear timelines or updates to provide given that each mission will reopen interview slots at their own discretion. We believe that in January or February of 2021 more slots will reopen and those whose interviews were cancelled will have the opportunity to receive a new interview appointment.


Questions? If you have immigration questions and would like to schedule a consultation, please call 619-819-9204 or text 619-483-4549. Our toll free number is 866-488-1554.


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For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.