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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Country Reciprocity Changes – Birth Certificates of China


On April 4, 2016, changes were made to the Country Reciprocity Table for birth certificates in China. Prior to this change, the one and only accepted form of birth certificate from China was the Notarial Certificate of Birth. Applicants bring their Household Register (户口簿) to their Notary Office to obtain the accepted form of Notarial Certificate of Birth. The Notarial Certificate of Birth has always been deemed a secondary evidence of birth, but the U.S.


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Monday, February 2, 2015

National Visa Center Upgrades Telephone System

In the past year, the National Visa Center (NVC) had plans to upgrade their telephone system to accommodate an increase in call volume.  As of January 12, 2015, the NVC began responding to e-mail and telephonic inquiries regarding nonimmigrant visa cases, which inevitably increases the call volume. Prior to January 12, 2015, the NVC did not accept inquiries regarding nonimmigrant visas.  At the end of January 2015, the upgraded phone system went into effect.  

Attorneys and applicants who previously called the NVC are familiar with the frequent busy signals and lengthy hold times of minimally thirty minutes or more before speaking with a representative.  With the upgraded phone system, there are no longer any busy signals.  However, if a representative isn't available, an automated recording instructs callers to call back and then the call is automatically terminated.  When a call isn't terminated and permitted to be on hold, the wait times have been relatively short, about 10 - 15 minutes based on our calls.  The automated recording also states that applicants should proceed with their calls if it's been more than 35 days since USCIS approved their immigrant applications.  Although the phone system can use some additional improvements, calls to the NVC are now far less frustrating. 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

February 2015 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has posted the February 2015 Visa Bulletin at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2015/visa-bulletin-for-february-2015.html. All the family-based preference categories progressed and most categories advanced between 1 to 8 weeks. The most significant advancement is 8 weeks for category F2A (Mexico only). 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

January 2015 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has posted the January 2015 Visa Bulletin at  http://www.travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2015/visa-bulletin-for-january-2015.html.  All the family-based preference categories progressed and most categories advanced between 1 to 4 weeks.  The most significant advancements are 6 weeks and 7 weeks for categories F2B (All Countries except Mexico and Philippines) and F2A (Mexico only), respectively. 


Friday, November 14, 2014

NVC No Longer Collects Original Civil Documents

Prior to consular interviews, all immigrant visa applicants (principal and derivative beneficiaries) are required to submit civil documents (e.g., birth, divorce, marriage and police certificates) to the National Visa Center (NVC) for initial review. Once the NVC determines that the visa applicants are documentarily qualified, the consular interview will be scheduled.

As of November 12, 2014, the NVC no longer requires immigrant visa applicants at non-electronic processing posts to mail their original civil documents. Instead, immigrant applicants are instructed to mail photocopies of their civil documents to the NVC and bring the originals to their interviews. Petitioners must continue to submit their original signed Form I-864s (Affidavit of Support) and supporting financial evidence. Petitioners and beneficiaries should submit all civil and financial documents in one package and include the NVC Document Cover Sheet. Failure to submit all the required documents in one package usually results in delays. The NVC anticipates that this procedural change will reduce the processing time for visa applicants.

Immigrant visa applicants at electronic processing posts should continue to email their civil documents and their petitioners’ financial documents to the NVC. The mandatory electronic processing posts include Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (AKD); Amman, Jordan (AMM); Damascus, Syria (DMS); Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (MEP) and Sana'a, Yemen (SAA). The optional electronic processing posts include Montreal, Canada (MTL) and Guangzhou, China (GUZ). However, only cases with visa categories CR1, CR2, F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4, IR1, IR2 and IR5 are eligible for electronic processing in Guangzhou, China. MTL and GUZ visa applicants who choose electronic processing must first enroll by emailing the NVC at nvcelectronic@state.gov. GUZ visa applicants will be assigned new GZO case numbers whereas MTL applicants will retain their original case numbers. Please note that once MTL and GUZ visa applicants commit to a processing method, they cannot later switch to another processing method.

For electronic processing cases, documents should be scanned as PDF files and a separate file should be created for each document. Applicants should try to include all civil and financial documents in a single email, but the attachments should not exceed five megabytes (MB). If multiples emails must be sent, then the beneficiary’s civil documents should be grouped in one email and the petitioner’s financial documents should be grouped in another email.

For the NVC’s most current updates and procedures, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s website at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/petition.html.





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