Breaking Good News – Record Number of Scheduled Visa Interview Appointments at NVC in January 2024
The National Visa Center (NVC) has scheduled a record number of 337,870 documentarily complete immigrant visa applicants for interview appointments in January 2024, indicating good news for applicants who have been stuck in the backlog.
Overview of the Immigrant Visa Process
The immigrant visa process involves several steps before an applicant can be scheduled for a visa interview appointment. Here is a brief overview:
- Petitioner files Form I-130 or I-140 with USCIS to establish eligibility and relationship for an immigrant visa
- Once approved, NVC reviews documents and creates a case
- Applicant submits required documents to NVC to complete their case
- NVC schedules a visa interview appointment once a case is “documentarily complete”
- Applicant attends visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate on scheduled date
An applicant is considered “documentarily complete” when they have submitted all required documentation to the NVC, such as financial and civil documents. As of December 2023, there were 337,870 documentarily complete cases ready for interviews at the NVC.
Analysis of Interview Appointments in January 2024
The 337,870 scheduled interview appointments for January 2024 is a new monthly record for the NVC. This suggests:
- NVC and embassies abroad are ramping up capacity to address the visa backlog
- Additional NVC staff and resources are being utilized to schedule more appointments
- Embassies have increased availability for visa interviews and adjudications
Compared to previous months, this is a large jump in scheduled appointments:
- October 2023: 123,000 appointments
- November 2023: 99,000 appointments
- December 2023: 76,000 appointments
Impact on NVC Visa Backlog
The record number of January interview appointments indicates progress in reducing the deep visa backlog at the NVC.As some background, the COVID-19 pandemic severely curtailed visa operations starting in March 2020. A presidential proclamation in April 2020 also paused the issuance of new green cards for over a year.
These restrictions led to massive backlogs and long wait times for visa interviews over the past three years.The January 2024 appointments suggest NVC’s backlog may have peaked in late 2022. If high interview volume is sustained, the existing backlog could be reduced substantially by end of 2024. However, elimination of the entire backlog will be a multi-year effort.
NVC Processing Times
Once a petitioner is approved (step 1 of the process), the time for NVC processing is currently taking around 8 months. This measures how long it takes the NVC to review documents and create an applicant’s case.After a case is created, the applicant must submit all required documents for NVC to deem the case “documentarily complete” (step 3). This step is taking an average of 11 months as of January 2023.
Finally, the time between submitting all documents and getting an interview appointment scheduled (steps 3-4) is the longest wait. This wait time was over 2 years for some countries as of January 2023.
The record January 2024 interview appointments suggest this final wait time could decrease substantially in 2023. However, total processing times are still lengthy for many applicants.
Preparing for a Visa Interview
While NVC works to schedule more visa appointments, there are things applicants can do to prepare for their eventual interview:Gather DocumentsMake sure to have original or certified copies of all required civil and financial documents ready for your consular interview. Documents include:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates or divorce decrees
- Police certificates
- Court dispositions for any arrests
- Financial evidence like pay stubs or bank statements
Practice Interview QuestionsConsular officers need to verify information and confirm eligibility, so expect to answer questions about your background. Practice these types of questions:
- Why are you immigrating to the U.S.?
- Information about your work, education, and family ties
- Details on any prior immigration attempts or visa denials
Book Travel ArrangementsOnce you receive your appointment date, book any necessary flights and hotels. Confirm visa application instructions for your specific embassy. Many embassies recommend arriving at least one day before your interview.
The record number of January 2024 visa appointments marks a major milestone for the NVC as it works to reduce visa backlogs. Sustained high interview volume could substantially cut down wait times over the next year.
While NVC processing times are still lengthy, applicants stuck in the backlog can now see light at the end of the tunnel. Taking preparation steps like gathering documents and booking travel will ensure you are ready when your long-awaited visa appointment arrives.
- February 2024 Visa Bulletin Predictions: Big Changes Expected by USCIS This New Year: This article examines the possible forward movement of priority dates for various employment-based green card categories, especially for Indian and Chinese nationals in the EB-2 and EB-3 preferences.
- Unveiling the Future: Comprehensive Predictions for the February 2024 Visa Bulletin and Green Card Opportunities: This article provides an overview of the current priority dates and expected forward movement in 2024 for all major immigrant categories, including family-based and employment-based preferences
- MOVE TO USA 2024: CARE ASSISTANTS & SOCIAL WORKERS IN HIGH DEMAND: This article discusses the opportunities for foreign care professionals looking to immigrate to the US, as the country is expected to have over 1 million job openings for care assistants and social workers by 2024.