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NVC Backlog: What It Means For Your Immigration Journey

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Immigrating to the United States can be a complex and challenging process. From navigating the paperwork to attending interviews, every step requires careful attention and patience. Unfortunately, one of the major hurdles that most applicants face is the National Visa Center (NVC) backlog.

In this article, we will delve into the following:

  • What the NVC backlog entails
  • The impact of NVC backlog on your immigration journey
  • How immigration lawyers can help you navigate through this challenging situation

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Understanding the NVC Backlog

The NVC serves as the intermediary between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and consulates or U.S. embassies abroad. Its main role is to process and prepare immigrant visa cases for a decision by the consular officials.

However, due to a significant increase in the number of cases submitted and limited resources, the NVC backlog has reached an unprecedented level.

4 Factors contributing to the NVC Backlog

1. Increase in visa applications

With millions of people seeking visas each year, it's no surprise that the NVC faces a tremendous workload. The demand for U.S. visas has been steadily increasing over the years. This influx of applications puts a strain on the NVC's resources and processing capabilities, leading to delays in the review and approval of visa petitions.

Size of the backlog

The NVC backlog is a result of the imbalance between the number of cases submitted and the number of cases processed.

According to the recent NVC immigrant visa backlog report, there are approximately 314,853 immigrant visa applicants waiting for an interview as of September 2023. These individuals have already applied and submitted all required documents, and their cases are considered "documentarily complete" for decision-making purposes. Despite some progress, with 39,347 applicants scheduled for an interview in September, the backlog remains a significant challenge. There are still 275,506 applicants awaiting to be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview.

What does “documentarily complete” mean

Your case is considered “documentarily complete” once you have paid the necessary fees and submitted all required documents to the NVC. At this point, it is up to the U.S. government to decide on your case. Then, the NVC schedules an interview appointment with the respective consulate or U.S. embassy. And this marks the beginning of the immigrant visa backlog.

2. Limited staff and resources at the NVC

The NVC operates with a finite number of employees who are responsible for reviewing and processing visa applications. Budget constraints may also limit the NVC's ability to invest in additional resources or technology upgrades that could enhance efficiency. As a result, the NVC struggles to keep up with the high volume of visa applications, leading to a growing backlog.

3. Administrative processing and security checks

The visa application process involves thorough administrative processing and security checks to ensure the integrity and safety of the immigration system. These checks are necessary to verify the identity, background, and eligibility of visa applicants. However, these additional steps can significantly lengthen the processing time, contributing to the NVC backlog.

4. Changes in immigration policies

Shifts in immigration priorities, visa categories, or eligibility criteria can result in a surge of applications or the need for additional documentation. These changes can catch the NVC off guard, leading to delays as they adjust their processes and procedures accordingly.

Additionally, political factors or global events can influence the visa application process, causing fluctuations in demand and potentially exacerbating the backlog.

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The Impact of NVC Backlog on Your Immigration Journey

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The NVC backlog has far-reaching implications if you are seeking to immigrate to the United States. Whether you are applying for a green card through adjustment of status or consular processing, the backlog can significantly delay the processing of your case. This delay can have various consequences, including:

Prolonged separation from family

For many immigrants, the desire to reunite with their families is a primary motivation for seeking a visa or green card. However, the NVC backlog can lead to prolonged separation from your loved ones. The uncertainty and extended waiting period can take a toll on your emotional well-being and strain relationships.

Disrupted career plans

Immigrants often have professional aspirations and career goals in the United States. However, the NVC backlog can disrupt these plans by delaying the issuance of work permits and employment authorization documents (EADs). Without proper documentation, you may be unable to secure employment or pursue your desired career.

Uncertainty and frustration

The long wait caused by the NVC backlog can create a sense of uncertainty and frustration. You may feel anxious about your future and the outcome of your immigration journey. The lack of progress and information can be disheartening, making it challenging to plan for your future.

Financial implications

The extended waiting period caused by the NVC backlog can have significant financial implications. You may need to put your lives on hold, postpone job opportunities, or incur additional expenses while waiting for your case to be processed. This financial strain can be particularly challenging if you have limited resources.

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How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help

Experienced immigration lawyers can provide invaluable assistance and support.

Here's how our immigration lawyers can help you with your case:

Expert guidance and advice

Immigration lawyers here at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC have in-depth knowledge of immigration laws and procedures. We can provide expert guidance and advice tailored to your specific situation. We will review your case and identify potential issues. Also, we provide strategies to mitigate the impact of the NVC backlog on your immigration journey.

Application preparation and submission

Preparing and submitting immigration applications can be a daunting task. We can ensure your application is complete, accurate, and submitted within the required timelines. We will help you gather the supporting documents and fill out the forms correctly. We will present your case effectively to the NVC.

Communication and advocacy

Dealing with the NVC and other government agencies can involve complex communication channels. Our immigration lawyers can act as your advocate. We will communicate with the NVC on your behalf and ensure that your case receives the attention it deserves. We can help address any concerns, provide updates, and navigate through the bureaucracy.

Case monitoring and updates

Closely monitoring the progress of your case is essential. We will stay informed about changes in immigration policies, visa availability, and processing times. This proactive approach ensures that you are aware of any developments. That way, you can make informed decisions about your immigration journey.

Legal representation

In cases where complications arise, or additional legal action is required, we can provide the necessary legal representation. We will advocate for your rights and handle any appeals or waivers. We ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the process.

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FAQs about NVC Backlog

How long is the NVC backlog?

The length of the NVC backlog can vary depending on various factors. These include the visa category, the applicant's country of origin, and the overall demand for immigrant visas.

To get a better idea of the current processing times for your specific situation, refer to the Visa Bulletin published by the Department of State. The Visa Bulletin provides information on visa availability and priority dates. It will help you estimate the timeline for your case.

Can I expedite my case in the NVC backlog?

Expedited processing of cases in the NVC backlog is possible under certain circumstances. However, it is essential to understand that expedited processing is granted on a case-by-case basis. It is generally reserved for situations involving extreme hardship or emergencies.

What are my legal options in the NVC backlog?

The NVC backlog does not prevent you from exploring other avenues for immigration.

One option to consider is the possibility of adjusting your status if you are already in the United States. This allows you to change your immigration status without the need to go through the NVC process.

Another option is to explore alternative visa categories that may offer a faster processing time. For example, if you are eligible for an employment-based visa or a visa through a family member who is a U.S. citizen, you may be able to pursue these options instead.

The key is to consult our immigration attorneys to assess your eligibility for alternative visa categories. We will determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances.


The NVC backlog poses significant challenges for individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States. The prolonged waiting period can cause emotional distress and financial strain and disrupt personal and professional plans. However, by working with our immigration lawyers, you can navigate through this challenging situation with confidence and peace of mind. We will provide expert guidance, handle the complexities of the process, and advocate for your best interests.

Your immigration journey does not have to be faced alone. With our legal support, you can navigate the NVC backlog and move closer to achieving your dreams of a new life in the United States.

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