How the National Visa Center Works in the Immigration Process

The National Visa Center (NVC) is a facility in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The role of the NVC is to pre-process and to eventually process visa applications which have been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).The NVC processes non-immigrant visas such as the K-1 and K-3 visa for consular interview.

Once your visa application has been approved by the USCIS and has been sent to the National Visa Center, you will be issued a NVC case number or CIS receipt number. These numbers will allow you to contact the National Visa Center and identify yourself and your case in order to ask for updates and information.

The National Visa Center prefers to receive inquiries by email. You can email the National Visa Center at When writing an email, include your NVC case number or CIS receipt number in the subject line of the email and your full name and date of birth in the body of the email. Provide all the relevant information about your case in your email. If you have questions about multiple cases, send a separate email for each case.

You can also contact the National Visa Center automated phone number at 603-334-0700. The automated self-service options are available 24 hours a day, but you can also get live assistance at the same phone number by calling Monday to Friday 7:30 AM to 12:30 AM (EST). Since National Visa Center gets very busy, it is often best to call early in the morning, late at night, or prepare for some waiting time. In addition, you can contact the NVC by fax (603-334-0791) or via the postal service:

National Visa Center
Attn: WC
32 Rochester Avenue, Suite 200
Portsmouth, NH 03801-2915

It is important to remember that the National Visa Center is not open to the public. You cannot visit the offices in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in person to get specific answers about your case.

Once your petition is received by the National Visa Center for processing, the NVC will wait until the priority date is current for your case. The date must become current before you are issued a visa. Unfortunately, this process can take many months or even years. You may need to wait this length of time before being scheduled for a visa interview. The National Visa Center cannot speed up the process or change the priority date. They also cannot guarantee when your date may become current.

Since the visa process can take so long, it is important to keep the National Visa Center up to date about any changes which may affect your visa application. For example, the National Visa Center will need to be informed if you change your name, address, marital status, or attorney. The National Visa Center also needs to be informed if a visa petitioner dies. If the National Visa Center asks for more information about your case, if you decide to upgrade or withdraw your petition, or if you adopt or have children, the National Visa Center will need to be informed of these changes.