What is Your National Visa Center Case Status?

Your National Visa Center case status is the status of your visa petition or application at the National Visa Center.

What is the National Visa Center?

The National Visa Center processes all approved immigrant visa petitions. The National Visa Center also processes K-1 visa applications for fiancees and K-3 visa applications for the nonimmigrant spouses of U.S. citizens.

Visa petitions are first submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security. Once the immigrant visa petition has been approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center holds onto them until the case is ready to be adjudicated at a consulate or embassy.

Once your application is filed with USCIS, you'll receive a Form I-797 or a Notice of Action. The Notice of Action is a notification that the visa application was received by USCIS and provides a case number. Your case number can be used to check your case status online with USCIS.

The status of these visa applications, transfers, and extensions can be checked online:

  • H-1B

  • Form I-130

  • Form I-140

  • Form I-485

  • AOS

  • Advance Parole

  • EAD

  • Citizenship

Visa petitions may remain at the National Visa Center for weeks, or even years, waiting for the applicant's case to be ready for adjudication at the consulate. The time a visa petition spends at the National Visa Center is based on the visa category and the visa applicant's country of birth.

There are a limited number of visas handed out each year in certain visa categories and to petitioners of certain countries. During the time your visa spends at the National Visa Center, you can contact them and ask about your case status at any time.

A visa applicant's case status will change to "current" when their visa might be available in the next year. At that time, the visa application is forwarded to the applicant's local consulate or embassy.

What is the Visa Receipt Number?

The USCIS assigns a number to each visa application. This 13-digit case number is used to identify your individual visa application and to check your National Visa Center case status. This receipt number can be found on Form I-797.

The first three characters in the visa receipt number indicate which USCIS service center is processing your visa application. There are four service centers that are noted as WAC, EAC, SRC, or LIN.

Location and History of the National Visa Center

The National Visa Center was started by the U.S. State Department in 1994. The National Visa Center is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on a closed-down Air Force base. The National Visa Center is run by a private contractor.

Calling the National Visa Center

The National Visa Center receives thousands of phone call a day with inquiries from visa applicants, congressional offices, U.S. embassies and consulates, INS offices, and the White House to check on case statuses.

When you call the National Visa Center, you'll first hear a recorded message that prompts you to find out what you're calling about. The recorded message can answer the majority of inquiries and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calling the National Visa Center is a great way to check on your case status.

The phone number to reach the National Visa Center for your case status is 603-334-0700.

Checking Visa Application Status at the National Visa Center

To check on your case status you can email, call, or mail them. You must have your visa case number or INS receipt number. This is the 13-digit number that identifies your visa application.

By Email

This is the National Visa Center's preferred method of communication.

You can email the National Visa Center for your case status at NVCInquiry@state.gov

To ensure a prompt response, use your National Visa Center 13-digit case number or USCIS Receipt Number in the subject line of the email.

Within the email body, ask your question and include the following information:

  • Applicant's name

  • Applicant's date of birth

  • Petitioner's name

  • Petitioner's date of birth

  • Employer's company or organization name (if it's an employment-based visa)

  • Attorney's name, law firm, and address

By Phone

To call the National Visa Center, use 603-334-0700.

You will be asked to enter your 13-digit case number or USCIS Receipt Number, so be sure to have it nearby.

If your visa case number isn't recognized, it's likely that the National Visa Center hasn't yet received your case and cannot report your case status.

For more difficult inquiries, operators are available to answer your questions. Operators are available between 8 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Thursday.

By Mail

You can also mail questions to the National Visa Center at the following address:

The National Visa Center
32 Rochester Ave.
Portsmouth, NH  03801-2909

The National Visa Center is NOT open to the public. You can mail, call, or contact them online. Public citizens cannot simply go to the National Visa Center.

When an applicant's priority date is close, the National Visa Center will send them a packet of forms and information. The packet is called a Packet 3. The contents of a Packet 3 vary depending on the country from which a person is applying for a U.S. visa. Receiving Packet 3 is an update to your National Visa Center case status.

Checking Visa Status at USCIS

Before a visa application is sent to the National Visa Center, it must be processed at the USCIS. If you want to check the status of your visa and the National Visa Center doesn't have your case number on file, it's likely still at USCIS.

It's possible to contact USCIS by phone and email.

By Phone

You can call 1-800-375-5283 to check the status of your visa application with the USCIS. There are no live operators on this phone line, but the automated messages can help you find the answers you need.

Be sure to have your USCIS receipt number ready, as it will be requested.

These phone lines can be very busy so be patient when trying to connect and get answers.

By E-mail

You can also contact the USCIS for inquiries by email. The first three digits of your receipt number indicate which service center has your visa application. Below are the emails for the four service centers:

If your case status isn't available at the center where your number indicates, it's possible that your visa application has been moved to the National Visa Center. You can contact the National Visa Center by e-mail, phone, or mail.

H-1B Petition Status

To check the status of an H-1B Petition, check the H-1B Tracker on the USCIS website.

USCIS Electronic Immigration System

The USCIS Electronic Immigration System is an online system that lets users submit and view certain visa requests, receive electronic notification of visa decisions, and receive real-time case status updates.

Each visa applicant is given a unique account where they can track the status of their visa application progress.

Some forms that are required during the visa application process can even be filed through this system, including:

  • Form I-90

  • Form I-131

  • Form I-140

  • Form I-539

  • Form I-765

  • Form I-907

USCIS e-Request Portal

The USCIS e-Request Portal is an online resource for visa applicants to ask questions and make service requests. Requests that can be made in the online portal are:

  • Case questions outside of the normal processing time

  • Notification that mail notice wasn't received

  • Notification that card wasn't received by mail

  • Change of address

  • Accommodations needed for visa interview appointment

  • Typographic error on documents

Basic information will be required when making a request through the online portal. The portal will ask for the applicant's case number, date of filing, and other relevant case information.

A response will be sent via email.

USCIS Processing Time

The USCIS maintains detailed information on their website on processing times for visa applications. To check your processing time, you'll need this information:

  • Petition or form type

  • Processing center where application is located

  • Basis of filing

Changed Circumstances

Visa petitions can take years before the processing is complete. Once a visa arrives at the National Visa Center, it must wait until the priority date becomes current and it's mailed to the proper embassy or consulate.

If your National Visa Center case status changes during that waiting period, it's important to let them. Reasons to contact the National Visa Center for a changed circumstance are:

  • Change of address

  • Change of marital status

  • Death of the applicant

  • Birth or adoption of additional children

  • National Visa Center requested additional information

  • Change of attorney

  • Removal of attorney

  • Withdrawal of visa application

National Visa Center Fees

Below is a list of the visa fees from the National Visa Center. The fees periodically change so be sure to check with the National Visa Center for updates.

For temporary travel to the U.S., travelers will apply for a nonimmigrant visa. The visa fees are tiered, depending on which visa you apply for.

Non-petition-based Nonimmigrant Visa: $160

  • B: Visitor Visa: Business, Tourism, Medical treatment

  • C-1: Transiting the U.S.

  • D: Crewmembers – Airline, Ship

  • F: Student, Academic

  • I: Media and Journalists

  • J: Exchange Visitors

  • M: Students, Vocational

  • TN/TD: NAFTA Professionals

  • T: Victim of Trafficking in Persons

  • U: Victim of Criminal Activity

Petition Based Visa: $190

  • H: Temporary Workers/Employment or Trainees

  • L: Intracompany Transferees

  • O: Persons with Extraordinary Ability

  • P: Athletes, Artists & Entertainers

  • Q: International Cultural Exchange

  • R: Religious Worker

Professional Specialty Visa: $205

  • E: Treaty Trader/Investor, Australian

Fiance(e) or Spouse of U.S. Citizen Category Visa: $265

  • K

Border Crossing Card

  • Age 15 and over, valid for 10 years: $160

  • Under age 15, valid for 10 years or when person reaches age 15: $16

Other Fees

  • Fraud prevention and detection for L visa: $500

  • Border Security Act fee: $4,500

When a Processing Fee Isn't Required for a Nonimmigrant Visa

  • Applicants for A, G, C-2, C-3, NATO, and diplomatic visas

  • Applicants for J visas who participate in official U.S. Government-sponsored educational and cultural exchanges

  • Replacing machine-readable visa when the original wasn't attached or needs to be reissued, not of the visa holder's fault

  • Applicants exempted by international agreement as determined by Visa Services

Applicants Travelling to Provide Charitable Services: No Fee

  • Visa services

  • U.S Government employee on official business

  • Parent, sibling, spouse, or child or U.S. Government employee killed in the line of duty who is traveling to funeral or burial. Or for visitation for U.S. employee wounded or needing emergency treatment

Nonimmigrant Visa Issuance Fee Isn't Required in These Situations:

  • An applicant transiting to and from United Nations headquarters

  • Applicant participating in U.S. Government-sponsored program may also include spouse or children

  • Official representative of a foreign government or international organization

  • Applicant traveling to provide charitable services

When a Visa Isn't Required

  • Citizens of the Visa Waiver Program

Immigrant Services for Person Coming to the U.S. Permanently

  • Immigrant petition for relative (I-130): $420

  • International orphan, immediate relative petition (I-600, I-800): $720

Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fees

  • Immediate relative and family preference applications (approved I-130, I-600 or I-800 petition): $325

  • Employment-based applications (on approved I-140 petition): $345

  • Diversity Visa applicants, approved I-360 self-petitioners, special immigrant visa applicants: $205

Certain Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa

  • NO fee

Other Fees

  • Diversity Visa Lottery: $330

  • Affidavit of Support Review: $120

Special Visa Services

  • Application for Determining Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117: $180

  • Transportation letter for Legal Permanent Residents of the United States: $575

  • Application for Waiver of two-year residency requirement, J Waiver, Form DS-3035: $120

  • Application for Waiver of two-year residency requirement, J Waiver, Form I-601: $930

  • Refugee or significant public benefit parole case processing: NO fee

Withdrawal of a Visa Application

To withdraw a visa application, either the applicant, the petitioner, or the lawyer of the applicant must submit a signed, written statement. It's important to explain why the visa applicant is requesting to withdraw their visa application.

If this form is filed by the applicant's attorney, it must also be submitted with Form G-28. The Form G-28 is a notice that the withdrawal of the application was filed by the applicant's lawyer.

Expedition of Visa Application at National Visa Center

The National Visa Center has no control and no ability to expedite the visa application process.

If a visa application date is current, it's possible to expedite the visa application procedure for life and death situations or medical emergencies. Documentation and proof of the life or death situation must be submitted to the National Visa Center.

FAQs

  • How can I find the status of my National Visa Center case?

You can contact the National Visa Center by email, phone, or mail to obtain answers to your questions. Email is the preferred method of contact for the National Visa Center.

  • What information is required to find the status of my National Visa Center case?

The most important information that you'll need is the 13-digit case number for your visa application. This might also be called your USCIS receipt number.

  • How does the National Visa Center fit in the rest of the U.S. immigration process?

The National Visa Center holds onto visa applications after they are processed at the USCIS. Once your visa applications priority date become current, the documents are sent to the proper embassy or consulate for the final steps of the process.

  • How do I find out my priority date?

Your priority date was assigned at the time that you submitted your visa application to USCIS. Your priority date will be on the Approval Notice that you received from the USCIS.

  • Why isn't my case information available at the National Visa Center?

It's most likely that your case hasn't yet been sent from the USCIS. There can also be delays between the receipt of notice of approval and the notice of receipt from the National Visa Center.

If you have any inquiries or questions about the process of a visa application, don't hesitate to post your legal need for one of UpCounsel's highly trained and affordable lawyers on the marketplace.