Do you have a case currently pending review at the National Visa Center? In this video, we discuss the growing backlogs at the National Visa Center and explain the reason it is taking so long for the NVC to process immigrant visa cases and prepare them for a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.
Did you know? Every month the National Visa Center releases their Immigrant Visa Backlog Report, which provides important information including the number of immigrant visa applicants being scheduled for interview appointments, the number of applicants whose cases are documentarily complete and ready for interviews, and the number of eligible applicants still pending the scheduling of an interview.
Want to know more? Just keep on watching.
First, let’s discuss: What is the National Visa Center?
Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved your immigrant visa petition, USCIS will forward your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where your application will undergo immigrant visa pre-processing once your priority date has become current according to the Visa Bulletin.
Essentially, the National Visa Center serves as an intermediary between USCIS, where the immigrant visa petition was first approved, and the U.S. Consulate, where the foreign national will eventually undergo their immigrant visa interview.
Once your case is received by the National Visa Center (if your priority date is current and a visa number is available) you will be instructed to submit the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application, submit civil documents in support of your immigrant visa application, and pay the necessary visa fees. Once you have completed this process, your case will be considered “documentarily complete,” and your application will be placed in line for interview scheduling, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest your place of residence.
What are the current visa backlogs at the NVC?
As our readers will know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on the processing of cases at the NVC and Consular level. The majority of U.S. Embassies and Consulates continue to operate on a limited basis, due to local country conditions and restrictions, local and national lockdowns, travel restrictions, local regulations, and measures taken by Consular posts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This has caused challenges to interview scheduling, given that the volume of interviews that can be scheduled has been drastically decreased, to prevent the spread of the virus, and ensure public health and safety for applicants and Consular officers.
While Embassies and Consular posts have tried to return processing to pre-pandemic levels, they simply have been confronted with an overwhelming demand of cases waiting to be scheduled for in-person visa interviews.
Due to the operational crisis at Embassies and Consulates worldwide, the National Visa Center has been unable to forward immigrant visa cases to posts overseas, because posts have not had the capacity to accommodate all those waiting for an interview.
The data shows that things have not gotten better. In fact, they have gotten worse.
As of June 2022, the NVC Immigrant Visa Backlog Report shows that the backlogs are increasing, with 5,350 additional IV applicants reportedly waiting for interview scheduling when compared to the previous month of May 2022.
- As indicated below in June 2022, NVC reported 426,486 eligible immigrant visa applicants still pending the scheduling of an interview after June 2022 appointment scheduling was completed
- While in May 2022, NVC reported 421,136 eligible immigrant visa applicants still pending the scheduling of an interview after May 2022 appointment scheduling was completed, resulting in a growing backlog of 5,350 immigrant visa cases in June.
- When compared to pre-pandemic levels in June 2019, only 60,000 immigrant visa applicants were still pending the scheduling of an interview each month. Currently, the backlog is over 7x the pre-pandemic monthly average
National Visa Center (NVC) Immigrant Visa Backlog Report June 2022
|Number of IV applicants whose cases are documentarily complete at NVC and ready for interview as of May 31||455,031|
|Number of documentarily complete IV applicants scheduled for June 2022 interview appointments||28,545|
|Number of eligible IV applicants still pending the scheduling of an interview after June 2022 appointment scheduling was completed||426,486|
Note: In Calendar Year 2019 on average, 60,866 applicants were pending the scheduling of an interview each month.
National Visa Center (NVC) Immigrant Visa Backlog Report May 2022
|Number of IV applicants whose cases are documentarily complete at NVC and ready for interview as of April 30||449,583|
|Number of documentarily complete IV applicants scheduled for May 2022 interview appointments||28,447|
|Number of eligible IV applicants still pending the scheduling of an interview after May 2022 appointment scheduling was completed||421,136|
What can we expect moving forward?
As mentioned in previous videos, the State Department has taken some steps to reduce these backlogs such as training more staff, allowing interview waivers for certain types of cases, but the beneficial impact is yet to be seen. The backlogs continue to remain at peak levels, with many separated from their loved ones for several years. From May 2022 to June 2022, the State Department scheduled 98 more applicants for immigrant visa interviews, but this is simply not enough to make a dent in the growing backlog.
Going forward from now until September 2022, we expect to see a growing number of cases being scheduled for interviews by the State Department, but it will not be as significant as we hope it to be. Without any drastic changes or intervention by the State Department, we fear that the backlogs will continue potentially for an additional 1.5-to-2-year period.
When looking at the past 12 months, it is evident that the backlogs reported by the National Visa Center have been fluctuating. For instance, in July of 2021, the NVC was able to schedule 34,408 immigrant visa applicants for interviews, while in December 2021, the NVC scheduled a low of 24,158 applicants for interviews. Unfortunately, this is due to the limited operational capacity at Embassies and Consular posts that have been forced to abide by local country conditions and regulations. For posts with limited operational capacity, the NVC has not been able to forward cases due to unavailability of appointments. In such cases, the NVC has been warehousing such applications until Embassies have been able to open interview slots to accommodate them. This caused the substantial increase in the backlog.
Ultimately, the only way to resolve these issues is for the State Department to send more Consular officers to posts overseas, waive more visa interviews, and streamline the visa application process to become more efficient so that more interview slots become available on a monthly basis.
In conclusion, while there has been some increase in the number of interviews being scheduled from one month to the next, it is a very small amount when considering the visa backlog in its totality. Our prediction is that we will see similar movement in the Immigrant Visa Backlog Report for July 2022, but hopefully in the months of August and September we will see more significant progress.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
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