In emergencies or hardship, a petitioner can speed up an immigration case with a National Visa Center (NVC) expedite request. USCIS sends overseas petitions to the NVC. Normally, USCIS notifies you with a Notice of Approval that the petition is approved and sent to the National Visa Center. After the NVC receives your case, they enter the information into their system and issue a special NVC case number. You then receive a Welcome Letter, which includes the case number and invoice ID and the next steps in the process. If you request to expedite the case, the immigration case will go directly to the USA Embassy overseas and skip the National Visa Center process. USCIS makes this decision on a case-by-case basis, so it’s important to have a solid reason for making the request. This post will explore the NVC expedite criteria, the process, and even an NVC expedite request sample letter.
When to Submit an NVC Expedite Request
Before you decide to make an NVC expedite request, you should have a valid reason for doing so. The following are considered valid reasons to make the request, and if a visa is available for your relative’s category, it may be granted:
- Petitioner has a serious medical condition or health ailment (life or death medical emergency)
- Urgent humanitarian reasons
- Beneficiary has experienced severe trauma in their home country (i.e., sexual assault, victim of a crime, etc.)
- Financial hardship (these must be thoroughly documented to prove the financial loss that has or would occur)
- Child beneficiary is turning 21 years out (also known as “aging out”)
- Delays by the National Visa Center
- Petitioner needing the beneficiary to care for them due to health reasons
- Beneficiary giving birth soon
Other factors may be considered a hardship, and these are best discussed with your immigration lawyer.
How to Make the Request
To request a review for expedite, submit a scanned letter (or statement) to [email protected] from a physician (or medical facility). The letter must include the physician’s (or medical facility’s) contact information and declare a life or death medical emergency exists.
Be sure to include the case or receipt number on the subject line along with at least one of the following:
- Petitioner’s name and date of birth
- Beneficiary’s name and date of birth
- Invoice ID number
You can also contact the National Visa Center by telephone at (603) 334-0700 for immigrant visa inquiries or (603) 334-0888 for nonimmigrant visa inquiries. Customer Service Representatives are available from 7:00 AM to 12:00 midnight Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.
If the NVC expedite request is approved without conditions, then the NVC will send it directly to the U.S. Consulate overseas, and the consulate will send a notice for the interview to the beneficiary (along with instructions). Be sure to have all the required documents available for this. If the expedite request is approved with conditions (pay the required fees, forms, etc.), these will need to be completed before the case is sent to the U.S. Consulate abroad.
Check NVC Status
You can check your NVC status in the CEAS case tracker.
Below are common statuses and what they mean:
- “At NVC”: This basically means that your file has not yet been sent to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate and is still being processed at the National Visa Center. If you see that this is not changing within a week, you may want to contact them directly by phone at (603) 334-0700.
- “In Transit”: Good news – your case has been sent to the U.S. embassy/consulate! This status means that they have not received it yet.
- “Ready”: The U.S. Consulate/Embassy has received your file, and they are ready to schedule the interview.
Once your file is ready, you will need to schedule your interview at the embassy, schedule or register for the medical exam, attend the exam, and complete the interview.
What to Bring to the Interview
Once your NVC expedite request is approved without conditions (or the conditions have been completed), then the next step is for the beneficiary to prepare for the interview. The beneficiary should bring the following documents with them to the U.S Consulate abroad:
- Appointment letter confirming interview at U.S. Consulate
- DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application confirmation
- If this has not been completed before receiving NVC expedite approval, then it needs to be done. You will need to wait 2-3 days after receiving the approval to do so. In the CEAC system, it will say “Start Now” when prompted to complete the DS-260. If it says “Pay Now,” then wait 2 to 3 days for the system to update. Use the Invoice ID number and beneficiary’s ID Number from the Notice to Applicant page to complete the DS-260.
- Beneficiary’s passport (needs to be valid for min. 6 months)
- Medical information envelope from the approved medical examiner (may also be sent directly to Consulate from the medical examiner)
- Three passport-style photos (2×2 inches, color ink)
- Police clearances from anywhere the beneficiary has lived since 16 years old
- Certified birth certificates (translations as well if not in English)
- Certified marriage certificates and/or divorce decrees (if applicable)
- Evidence of relationship
- Affidavit of support (Form I-864) along with support evidence
- Form DS-5540 if beneficiary previously lived in the United States
What if a visa is not available for my relative’s category?
If a visa is not available, unfortunately there is nothing that NVC can do to expedite the petition. Immigrant visa processing is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended, which controls availability of visas. There is no provision within the law that would allow the Department of State to issue a visa to someone for whom a visa is unavailable.
With that said, if the expedite request is not granted, then the case will continue to process as it normally would. Should the NVC determine that you need to submit any corrected documents, they will notify you. With non-expedited cases, you will often receive the approval notice from USCIS before it actually arrives at the National Visa Center. Do not worry in this case; you can always check on the processing timeframes for the NCV here.
NVC Expedite Request Letter Sample
Here is an NVC expedite request sample letter:
Email to: [email protected]
Subject: Request for NVC Expedite for NVC Case Number XXXXXX.
NVC Case Number: XXXXXXX
Beneficiary’s Full Name: Jose Chavez
Beneficiary’s Date of Birth: 05/11/1990
Beneficiary’s Telephone Number: 999-398-2289
Petitioner’s Name: Maria Chavez
Petitioner’s Date of Birth: 02/22/1977
Petitioner’s Telephone Number: 902-765-3222
My name is Maria, and I am requesting to expedite the case of my father, Jose Chavez, NVC case number XXXXXX, because I am facing an emergency medical condition and need him to help care for me during my surgery (put the reason that applies to your case here). Mention the current status of your case including any fees you have paid, forms submitted, etc. If you are claiming a serious medical condition or health ailment, be sure to include medical documents showing this is accurate. In addition, provide as much information supporting your hardship (financial, medical, humanitarian, etc.) and the reason for your expedite request.
[The following is a timeline of events regarding the visa application for Jose Chavez]
Please contact me at 902-765-3222 if you have any questions. Thank you!
You may be prompted to file a request through the NVC Public Inquiry Form in response to this email.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some reasons I can request an NVC expedite?
Several reasons can qualify for an NVC expedite including the petitioner having a serious medical condition (life or death medical emergency), humanitarian reasons, the beneficiary experiencing severe trauma in their home country, financial hardship, etc. If you are unsure whether your case warrants an NVC expedite request, consult your immigration lawyer.
How can I check my NVC case status?
Visit the CEAS case tracker to check the status of your case.
What are the fees for the NVC services?
You can find a complete list of National Visa Center services here. Lawyer fees associated with your case are an additional cost.
Can I do anything if I’m told there is no visa available for my relative?
No, there is nothing that the NVC can do to expedite the petition if a visa is not available in their category.
What does my approval with conditions mean?
Conditions can mean you need to pay the required fees or complete forms before sending your case to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy overseas. A qualified immigration lawyer can assist you with satisfying these conditions.
What does my approval without conditions mean?
If you received an NVC expedite request approval without conditions, then it will be sent directly to the U.S. Consulate overseas, and a notice for the interview will be sent to the beneficiary (along with instructions).
How long does it take NVC to respond to expedite requests?
Assuming you meet the requirements of the expedite request, USCIS will respond to your request anywhere from 30-45 days. Due to COVID, additional delays and backlogs may affect you.
What happens after NVC approves expedite requests?
After your NVC expedite request is approved, you will receive instructions to schedule your interview at the embassy, schedule or register for the medical exam, attend the exam and then complete the interview.
How do I request expedite NVC?
Email your request to [email protected] using the sample format provided above. You can also contact the National Visa Center by telephone at (603) 334-0700 for immigrant visa inquiries or (603) 334-0888 for nonimmigrant visa inquiries.
How do I write an expedited letter to NVC?
See the NVC expedite request letter sample above for a rough outline. In your email, include the NVC Case Number, beneficiary’s full name, date of birth, telephone number, Petitioner’s name, petitioner’s date of birth, and telephone number.
Where do I send my NVC to expedite request?
Email your request to [email protected]
My visa expired before I could travel to the United States. What can I do?
If your immigrant visa expired, you should contact the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, which issued your visa. Fortunately, you will not need to submit a new petition with USCIS, but you might have to resubmit a new DS-260 along with the appropriate visa application processing fees. Moreover, you may be required to undergo a new medical examination and submit new supporting evidence, police certificate, etc. Therefore, keep the unused visa in your possession because you will need to send the expired visa in.
What should I do if I was a Lawful Permanent Resident when I filed the petition for my family member and now I am a U.S. citizen?
If your status changed to U.S. citizen, it could impact the type of visa that your relative can receive. When you become a U.S. citizen, you must submit proof of citizenship to the National Visa Center (NVC), so they can update your family member’s visa category. First, scan and save either a copy of the biodata page of your passport or a copy of your certificate of naturalization PDF or JPG file. Then send it as an attachment to the Public Inquiry Form. Learn more about the steps you need to take here.
How do I adjust my status after arriving in the United States?
Requesting to adjust your status needs to be done with USCIS, not the National Visa Center. Contact a USCIS office near you for information on adjusting your status. If you plan to do this, it is best to notify the National Visa Center of your intentions.