I have been waiting overseas for my U.S. immigrant visa for a long time, but I just checked this month’s Visa Bulletin, and my Priority Date is getting closer to the Cutoff Date listed. What do I do next? Do I need to wait to be notified by the government?
Yes, you will need to wait to be notified by the U.S. government before taking the next step toward applying for an immigrant visa. You and your petitioner (your U.S. employer or relative) will receive a welcome letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) when your priority date becomes current in the application filing chart. This will give you your case identification number and invoice number, both of which you need in order to go online to the Consular Electronic Application Center to pay your fees and fill out the visa application form.
But just in case you do not receive this letter, you should check the application date filing chart in the Visa Bulletin each month (or subscribe to monthly emails) to stay informed about whether the NVC is currently accepting applications for cases with your priority date.
If your date is current (the cutoff date in your preference category in the application filing date chart is a later date than your priority date or simply says “C” for “current”) but you have not yet received the welcome letter from the NVC, send the NVC a message through its online contact system, called Ask NVC! From the drop-down menu describing your question, select “What is the status of my case?” You should also make sure that the NVC is aware of your and your petitioner’s current addresses.
Once your priority date becomes current or you have received the welcome letter from the NVC, don’t let too much time go by. You will have one year in which to contact the NVC. If you wait longer than that, the government will assume you are no longer interested in getting a visa and move to the next applications in line.
For more about the waitlist and checking the Visa Bulletin, see “How Long is the Wait for Your Priority Date to Become Current?”