What Is a CEAC Visa Status?

The Consular Electronic Applications Center (CEAC) allows foreign individuals and their legal representatives to check the status of U.S. visa applications online. This system is also used to make payments for applications, submit and check files and documents, such as the DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) and DS-260 forms through the site linked to the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

Following the application confirmation, the barcode on the DS-260 or DS-261 forms can be used to track the progress. The CEAC system allows applicants to get updates on their petition any time of the day.

The CEAC visa status check site is a global service allowing applicants of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to check the progress of their case. It is accessible from anywhere, and all petitions are in the database, independent of where these petitions originated.

CEAC Visa Status: What Is It?

From Sept. 3, 2013, all individuals have to file an immigration petition to the U.S. DOS using the DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa Application & Alien Registration) and DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent) forms online. 

To conduct a check, the place where the visa interview was held needs to be entered into the system, along with the reference number (barcode). The CEAC visa status check service only covers applications made during the past 12 months. Additionally, CEAC data is not available for the first few months of each year, generally becoming available around the beginning of January in the processing year. For example, DV2016 started processing on Oct. 1, 2015, but the CEAC data wasn't available until Jan. 1, 2016.

Once entering the details, applicants will see the status of their petition. This status may appear as follows:

  • No status

This status is shown on online applications until the interview is completed.

  • Ready

The status indicates that information (such as photographs and fingerprints) need to be taken or that an interview needs to be scheduled.

  • At NVC

The U.S. authority has not yet opened the case or the DS260 form has not been submitted yet.

  • In Transit

The case arrived to a U.S. Embassy to schedule an interview. You can find out more about scheduling an interview by visiting the USCIS website.

  • Issued

The visa application is completed and approved in the final processing phase.

  • Refused

You can find out more about the refusal by contacting the U.S. authority that handled the interview.

  • Administrative processing

Further checks are needed. This process can take up to 60 days after the visa interview. If any documents are missing, the U.S. consulate contacts the applicant. Once this stage is complete, and your application has been accepted, your visa will be sent to you via mail in two business days.

  • Expired

This notification signals that your registration for an immigrant visa was cancelled. Any petition approved on your behalf was also cancelled. Your application may be reinstated if, within one year, you demonstrate that your failure to pursue an immigrant visa application resulted from circumstances beyond your control. Note that your registration record and any petition approved on your behalf, as well as supporting documents, have been destroyed and any U.S. Department of Labor certifications have been returned to your prospective employer. If you still want to pursue an immigrant visa, your petitioner should contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to file a new immigrant visa petition. 

  • Expiring Soon

Section 203(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act requires the cancellation of registration and any approved petition if you don't apply for an immigrant visa within one year of being notified to do so. If you do not obtain an immigrant visa during that time, and you fail to notify the USCIS that you haven't obtained one, your application and any petition approved on your behalf will be canceled. 

Your application can get reinstated and a petition can get revalidated if, within that one-year period, you can prove that your inability to get an immigrant visa application was due to events beyond your control. You'll need to give a written statement to the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate that details those circumstances and notes that you still want to pursue a visa petition. 

To check the status, the applicant will need the USCIS Receipt Number, the full name, date of birth, and the location of the interview scheduled. The system can be accessed at the CEAC status check page. Both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas can be checked using the same websites, selecting the appropriate description from the first drop-down menu on the site.

Why Is CEAC Visa Status Important?

In some cases, the CEAC needs additional information to make a decision regarding your application. Not checking the status of the application can result in unnecessary delays and possible decline. The site can provide information on interviews scheduled, progress, and the office that is handling the case. The CEAC electronic tool allows applicants to check their CEAC visa statuses 24 hours a day while allowing enhanced transparency.

In some cases, applicants are not informed in their letter received after the interview about the refusal of their visa application. If the CEAC status shows that the petition was declined, applicants can contact the USCIS or their local U.S. Embassy for explanation.

When using the CEAC visa status check, applicants will know how quickly their case is progressing and can schedule their interviews on time without delay. Using the system will help understand the process and get notifications on the next steps to be completed.

Not using the checking facility provided by the CEAC system can cause delays and unnecessary stress. Getting a professional visa attorney to check the status and take action based on the comments on the system can prevent disappointment.

When the visa is received, it is no longer necessary to check the status. Further, if the application was made more than 12 months ago, the petition will not be held in the system.

Actions are required for each status. For example, if the case is in a nonstatus phase, the applicant has to schedule an appointment. When it is in a "ready" status, the status needs to be checked regularly. When the visa shows an "issued" status, the delivery can be tracked online. When the case shows "administrative processing," applicants need to wait to be contacted by the USCIS for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I check my CEAC visa status?

You can either visit the status check system online or contact the National Visa Center at 603-334-0700. You will need the barcode and your personal details to get updates for data protection reasons.

  • What does "ready" status mean?

It simply indicates that an interview is being scheduled.

  • What does the "Return to NVC" code mean?

This status means that there is a problem with your application, and you need to contact the National Visa Center.

  • What is needed at the interview?

Your will have to submit identity proof, along with your passport, additional supporting documents, proof of fees paid, and the printout of the confirmation page of your application.

  • How long does it take to get the application processed?

It depends on the type of visa, your country of origin, and the visa center dealing with your application. Contact an experienced immigration attorney with any questions you have.

Steps to Check CEAC Visa Status

  • Visit the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).

  • Check that your application was made in the past 12 months.

  • Get your barcode from the DS-160 application form you submitted. The barcode will start with AAoo.

  • Click on the "submit" button.

  • See the status report on your application.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the application online can cause delay and your application cancellation.

  • Not understanding the statuses can cause confusion, and applicants can fail to follow up their case.

  • Failing to schedule an interview will potentially cause refusal of your visa application.

Learn more about how to use the CEAC service to check visa applications and get help with checking your CEAC status. You can post your job or concern on UpCounsel's legal marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.