After a petition (I-129F or I-130) is approved by USCIS it will then be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC). (For an overview of the process, follow this link). But how long does that take?
Historically we’ve seen this process take between 30 and 60 days. But recently we’ve seen delays of up to five months! This can happen for at least a couple reasons. First, sometimes the delay is on the NVC side. This last year we saw long processing delays for all documents sent to the NVC. Basically they have just been behind schedule processing all documents. So when a new petition arrives at the NVC it takes a while to reach the top of the stack. When this is going on there’s nothing you can do except just wait.
The second cause for delay is on the USCIS side. We’ve seen a couple cases recently where USCIS sent the approval notice, but then failed to actually send the petition file to the NVC. In these situations the first thing you should do is contact USCIS customer service center (1-800-375-5283). In cases of extreme delay the next step could be contacting your congressional representative to ask them to contact USCIS.
How do you know when the petition has been received and processed by the NVC? Because they will send you invoices for the visa fee (and in marriage cases the Affidavit of Support Fee). Since these are sent via email make sure you are checking your inbox regularly. Also be sure to check your spam filter, since some email programs think the NVC emails are junk mail.
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