Archive for the ‘NVC – National Visa Center’ Category

CR-1 Spousal Visa Timeline [Infographic]

Posted on: January 23rd, 2015 by RapidVisa Staff 21 Comments

clockOne of the first questions our clients ask is about the timeline… “How long does it take to get a CR-1 spousal visa?” This post is hoping to give some insight into what you could expect in terms of waiting times for each step of the process. Be advised that the times mentioned in this resource are not meant as legal advice and are only informational, based on our experience with over 13,000 customers. 

There are 7 major waiting steps along the way – 8 if you count the green card. We’ve created a video as well as an infographic to put the process into as easy to understand terms as possible.

The part we can control is significantly faster than an attorney.

Most attorneys (if not all) take significantly longer to process a visa petition than RapidVisa. Even the intake process where they gather your information can take weeks, whereas the RapidVisa system can take your information as fast as you can enter it. The review process with RapidVisa is exactly what our name says – “rapid”. Our agents get an alert in real time when your petition is ready for review, and it goes into a scrutinous manual review process.

Within 4 business hours, we’ll be done with the initial review and have your signature-ready petition available for you, barring any corrections needed or mistakes identified by our trained experts. With most attorneys, this process can usually take weeks.

1: Fill out your questionnaire and checkout.

After you’ve created your free account, filled your questionnaire out to 100%, and pay our fee, an agent is alerted in real time to start reviewing your case. They look for any discrepancies, errors, or mistakes that would cause a future RFE and catch them before we send it in. This avoids future delays.

2. Petition Ready – 4 Hours

After reviewing and everything is ready to go, we will alert you that your petition is ready to print. You print it, sign it, and prepare it for mailing, with all the supporting documents included on your customized checklist. At this point, either you will send it directly to the USCIS, or, if you purchased our premium review package, you will send it to our Colorado office and our team will assemble the packet just how the government likes it, and manually review it a second and third time. Then we will send it off to the USCIS (postage and materials included).

3. Receipt Notice – 1-2 Weeks

This notice is the USCIS letting you know they have put your case ‘in line’. They’ll assign it a case number then it’s a game of ‘hurry up and wait’.

4. Approval Notice – 3-5 Months

This is one of the longest phases of waiting. It can be frustrating, but hang in there. We’ve had cases be as quick as 8 days, and long as several months. Generally speaking, it is 3-5 months until you get your approval notice. The other two possibilities are an RFE (request for evidence), or a denial. If you go with RapidVisa, there’s a 99.7% chance you’ll get an approval.

5. NVC Stage – 3-6 Weeks

Now that the USCIS approved your case, it moves on to the Department of State’s National Visa Center usually within about 3 to 6 weeks.

6. Embassy Interview – 1-2 Months

After a month or two, the alien will have a face to face interview with a consular officer at the US embassy, probably in your home country, or a nearby country. You will need to get your medical exam at least 5 business days before your scheduled interview date, so that the results get to the embassy in time.

7. Visa Granted  – 2-5 Days

Within a few days you’ll have your passport back, with a visa to enter the United States. After entering the country, you will receive your permanent residence card (green card) in a few weeks. At this point, you are free to work legally, and even leave and re-enter the US.

 Infographic:

CR-1 Spousal Visa Timeline Infographic

Video:

3 Lawyer’s Concerns About RapidVisa Debunked

Posted on: December 2nd, 2014 by RapidVisa Staff 2 Comments
3 Lawyer's Concerns About RapidVisa Debunked

Some attorneys are skeptical about our services.

There are a few different paths to get your family based immigration needs met. In fact, we made an infographic about just this comparison decision. One choice that people often unnecessarily opt for is hiring an ‘immigration attorney’. Attorneys are great, and have a very important role in society. In fact, we have our own. But, unless you have legal issues, such as convictions or need a waiver, they statistically are not likely to help your chances and highly likely to cost 5 to 10 times more than RapidVisa, and take significantly longer to process and review your petition.

We understand you have to do your homework. This is important. But don’t be taken advantage of. Do your research. Many of our customers first went to an attorney but after thousands of dollars and no results, contact us in the middle of the process and kick themselves for not using us sooner.

There are a few websites out there that are lead generators for lawyers, so of course, if you ask a question like “Should I use RapidVisa or should I use a lawyer?”, they’ll be biased. Often times they try to lump us in with scammy sites that illegally sell forms or don’t know what they’re doing.

We’ve gathered some comments from some of these lawyers, and paraphrased them to keep the commenters anonymous out of respect. 

Let’s debunk some of these concerns.

1. Is it really a legal matter? Usually not.

"You should never trust someone who is not an attorney to manage your legal matters. That's like trusting somebody who's not a doctor for medical issues."

Debunked:

Filing a visa petition is as much of a legal matter as getting your driver’s license. Do you hire a $3,000 attorney to apply for your driver’s license? The premise is pretentious and misleading. Petitioning for a family visa is not a legal matter, it’s a benefit request from your government. They don’t teach how to apply for visas or green cards in law school. Every lawyer who helps in these matters learned it on their own just like anyone else. That said, if you have legal issues that could complicate your situation, you definitely should get legal counsel.

RapidVisa does not offer legal advice or representation. Here’s what we do offer. Some lawyers have even accused us of unauthorized practice of law, or “UPL”. RapidVisa and its software has been investigated and cleared by both the Department of Homeland Security and the Colorado Supreme Court. We offer a service similar to TurboTax for visa applications. Here’s news coverage of our company being investigated and cleared by the Colorado Supreme Court.

2. Avoid super high denial rates?

"An attorney can significantly improve your chances for approval. Every year, approximately 40 to 60% of all fiancee visa petitions filed are not approved."

Debunked:

This is false. The overall K-1 visa approval rate is around 95% according to the actual NVC’s statistics. This is scare tactics. Of course everyone wants the best chance for approval but do you really want to hire someone who makes such a false statement? RapidVisa has an over 99% approval rate, which is a bit higher than the overall average. There is less than a 1% chance of a lawyer helping your odds better than RapidVisa.

3. Experience matters.

"As an attorney, we do dozens of cases a year and therefore are the most experienced option you can go with."

Debunked:

If your value proposition is that you are the most experienced because you have handled the most cases, then RapidVisa wins. We have over 15,000 approvals at over 99.7% approval rating. There probably isn’t an immigration attorney on Earth who will see that many cases in their lifetime. We have dozens of experienced representatives in 3 countries who help with these petitions every day.

Some attorneys take on all kinds of cases, immigration or not, and don’t get near the amount of experience on such a that we have. The typical local law firm might take on a few cases a year for a certain visa type. We help thousands of families, not dozens.

NVC No Longer Requires Original Civil Documents

Posted on: November 14th, 2014 by RapidVisa Staff 1 Comment

Great news for all immigrant visa applicants! As of November 12, 2014, the National Visa Center announced it will no longer be collecting original civil documents in support of immigrant visa applications. So now, instead of having to send your original birth, marriage and police certificates, you can send photocopies. This doesn’t include the original Affidavit of Support which will still need to be signed by the applicant to the NVC.

The method of having to send originals has been a pain point for our customers for a long time, and now we’re glad the NVC has made this adjustment. It should mean less stress on applicants, and quicker turnaround. Unfortunately, however, this change only applies from November 12 and forward.

This change affects all our CR-1 spousal visa and IR-5 parent visa customers.

If you have any questions about your application in process don’t hesitate to contact us.

Marriage Certificate

Source: National Visa Center memo.

Affidavit of Support for Spousal Visas and Adjustment of Status (I-864 series forms)

Posted on: November 23rd, 2012 by benives No Comments

The Affidavit of Support is legally required for the petitioning sponsor for many family-based and some employment based immigrants to show the intending immigrant will have adequate means of support when planning to immigrate to the U.S. The purpose of the process is to prove that the intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support and is unlikely to become a public charge.

Public Charge refers to becoming dependent upon the government for the expenses of living (food shelter clothing etc.). Following U.S. immigration law an applicant is ineligible for a visa if he/she will be a public charge. For more information about Public Charge see the USCIS website.

As “petitioning sponsor” this means you have filed an immigrant petition which has been approved by USCIS. You have paid your Affidavit of Support processing fee and you have been contacted by the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) with instructions. You are ready for the next step in the immigration process which is submit the I-864 Affidavit of Support and required supporting documents for the purpose of sponsoring the intending immigrant.

The I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between a sponsor and the U.S. Government. The legal basis for the I-864 Affidavit of Support is Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Sponsor and Alien Liability

Under section 213 of the Act if the person you are sponsoring becomes a public charge the agency that provides assistance may be able to sue you to recover the cost of the assistance.

In addition to that provision your income and assets may be combined with the income and assets of the person you are sponsoring in determining whether that person is eligible for Food Stamps 7 U.S.C. 2014(i)(1) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 42 U.S.C. 1382j and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 42 U.S.C. 608.

Sponsorship Requirements

A sponsor must be at least 18 years old and either an American citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR). The sponsor must also have a domicile (residence) in the United States.

Domicile

Domicile is a complex concept and must be evaluated on a case by case basis. To qualify as a sponsor a petitioner residing abroad must have a principal residence in the U.S. and intend to maintain it indefinitely. Lawful permanent resident (LPR) sponsors must show they are maintaining their LPR status.

Many U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents reside outside the United States on a temporary basis. “Temporary” may cover an extended period of residence abroad. The sponsor living abroad must establish the following in order to be considered domiciled in the United States:

    • He/she left the United States for a limited and not indefinite period of time
    • He/she intended to maintain a domicile in the United States and
    • He/she has evidence of continued ties to the United States.

Income Requirements and Poverty Guidelines

The Poverty Guidelines in effect on the filing date of an Affidavit of Support are used to determine whether the income requirement is met. For example the effective date of the 2006 Poverty Guidelines was March 1 2006. So an I-864 filed on February 1 2006 was subject to the 2005 Poverty Guidelines.

Initial evidence of sufficient income includes:

    • Copies of three (3) most recent years of tax returns that the sponsor filed with Internal Revenue Service. If the sponsor does not have copies of these records he or she will need to provide an explanation as to why the tax returns were not filed. If the sponsor filed a joint tax return and are using only their own income to qualify to sponsor then it will be required to submit copies of W-2s for the most recent three (3) tax years.
    • If the sponsor has other income sources such as members of household or dependents in order to reach the minimum income requirement it will be required to include their federal income tax returns for the three (3) most recent years. In using other income sources it will be required each person complete Form I-864a which is a contract between the sponsor and household member.
    • Proof of current employment or self-employment will need to be provided. Copies of recent pay stubs or employment verification statement from the employer on company letterhead that states the start date of employment work performed and current salary.
    • Statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institutions with deposits identifying the following details regarding the account:
      • Date account opened
      • Total amount deposited for the past year; and
      • Present balance
    • Statement(s) of your employer on business stationery showing:
      • Date and nature of employment
      • Salary paid; and
      • Whether the position is temporary or permanent
    • If self-employed:
      • Copy of last income tax return filed; or
      • Report of commercial rating concern.
    • List containing serial numbers and denominations of bonds and name of record owner(s)

It is important to complete and include all the necessary supporting documents when submitting your affidavit of support. Failure to completely fill out Form I-864 or not include the appropriate documents as supporting evidence could result in denial of the application.

The National Visa Center (NVC) may require the sponsor to provide additional information or evidence before approval of the affidavit of support.

Assets

If the sponsor’s income meets the minimum Federal poverty guideline income requirement other assets generally need not be presented. However the consular officer may request evidence of assets and liabilities as necessary to determine eligibility.

Copies of documents

Unless specifically required that an original document be filed with an application or petition an ordinary legible photocopy (standard 8 1/2 x 11 letter size) may be submitted. Original documents submitted when not required will remain a part of the record.

How is the I-864 processing fee paid?

The National Visa Center (NVC) processes immigrant visa petitions after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) approves them. When the immigrant visa case is current or about to become current the NVC will send a bill to the petitioner asking him/her to pay an I-864 processing fee. The NVC will send the bill with an envelope with a bank address and instructions on where and how to pay the bill.

When does the NVC send instructions about the I-864 I-864W I-864EZ and I-864A?

After the bill has been paid the NVC will send a letter with instructions to the petitioner.

Signing and Submitting the Forms

The petitioner/sponsor will complete and sign the I-864 I-864W I-864EZ or I-864A as appropriate. Make sure you carefully review and follow the Checklist-Guidelines for the Preparing the Affidavit of Support Forms to make sure you have completed everything. Affidavit of Support forms that are incomplete or have not been assembled correctly will not be accepted. After the appropriate form with documentation is complete the petitioner should send it to the National Visa Center.

What does the NVC do with the I-864?

The NVC will review the I-864 I-864EZ I-864W or I-864A for technical completeness and correctness. If the form(s) is not technically correct or complete the NVC will ask the petitioner/sponsor to correct and complete the applicable form a second time. It will explain what is lacking in the previously submitted form. When a corrected I-864 I-864EZ I-864W or I-864A is returned to the NVC it will be sent to the embassy or consulate where the applicant will apply for a visa. The NVC will send it with the immigrant visa petition.

Remember when you are ready for your Spousal Visa petition or Adjustment of Status nobody does them faster or cheaper than RapidVisa

Reference: USCIS, National Visa Center and Travel.State.Gov

National Visa Center Case Number Explained

Posted on: July 11th, 2011 by benives No Comments

The National Visa Center (NVC) assigns each immigrant petition a case number. The NVC case number has three letters followed by ten numbers. The three letters are an abbreviation for the overseas embassy or consulate that will process the immigrant visa case (for example, JAK for Jakarta, MNL for Manila).

The digits tell the NVC exactly when it created the case. For example a case with the number MNL2011747003 would be a case assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. 2011 is the year in which NVC received the case from the USCIS. The Julian date is 747 plus 500, so this case was created on September 4, 2011, the 247th day of the year. The 003 shows that it was the third case created for Manila on that day.

The NVC case number is not the same as the USCIS receipt number, which is written on the Notice of Action, Form I-797, from the USCIS. A consular section abroad cannot find a case if all you have is the USCIS receipt number.

Go here for a definition of the USCIS Case Number.

National Visa Center Phone Number

Posted on: April 5th, 2011 by benives No Comments

24-Hour Information

An automated recorded message system is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to answer case status inquiries (603) 334-0700.

Note: This service requires the use of a touch-tone telephone.

Operator Assistance

Customer service representatives are available to respond to more in-depth inquiries.

Tel: (603) 334-0700

Hours: Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 12:00 AM (Eastern Time)

Note: This service requires the use of a touch-tone telephone.

By Mail

Written questions about a case should be sent to:

National Visa Center

Attn: WC

31 Rochester Ave. Suite 200

Portsmouth NH 03801-2915

Forms documents and photographs should be sent to:

National Visa Center

Attn: CMR

31 Rochester Ave. Suite 100

National Visa Center Contact Information

Posted on: January 13th, 2011 by benives No Comments

The National Visa Center is located in Portsmouth New Hampshire and you can call the National Visa Center at 603-334-0700.

You will get an automated system not a live person.  You can call 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  To get an update on your case you will enter the receipt number from you I-797 (NOA1 or NOA2) or if you have a National Visa Center case number you can enter that. If your case number is not recognized it means that your case has not yet been received by the NVC.  Just try again every few days.

If necessary you can get a live person Monday – Friday from 7:30am to 12:00pm Eastern Time.  The fax number is 603-334-0791.

The best way to contact the National Visa Center is by email at:

NVCINQUIRY@state.gov

You must put your case number in the subject line of your email.  In the body of the email at the top list the applicant’s full name and date of birth (the applicant is the alien) and the petitioners full name and date of birth (the petitioner is the U.S. citizen).

The mailing address for the National Visa Center is:

National Visa Center

ATTN: ACL

32 Rochester Avenue

Portsmouth NH 03801-2909

Can My Translated Documents be Handwritten?

Posted on: June 18th, 2010 by benives No Comments

Any documents you submit to the USCIS or to the Embassy must be translated to English.  However, you do not need a professional or “certified” translator.  Anybody can do the translation and it can be hand written.  The format of the translated documents does not need to match the original, although this may help the evaluator compare to the original document.

Translations never need to be notarized.  Whoever does the translations just needs to sign and state that they are competent to translate the language to English and they certify that the translation is complete and correct.

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