After United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves a petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) if it was filed outside of the United States. The NVC is responsible for retaining petitions until a consular officer abroad is ready to adjudicate them. After a visa applicant’s petition is received by the NVC, they will be issued a welcome letter either through mail or email. This letter should contain a fee bill that details what must be paid before the case can be processed further.
The fees required in an NVC fee bill are the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee and the Affidavit of Support (AOS) Fee (if applicable). In the case of EB-5 investors, Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is not required for the principal applicant or their visa beneficiaries, so the AOS fee does not apply. As its name suggests, the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee is necessary to process a petition. There are various visa fee types depending on the type of petition being processed, and these fees can change over time. For EB-5 investors, the NVC fee for their I-526 petition is $345 as of December 2022. This fee is per person, meaning the principal EB-5 applicant and any visa beneficiaries — spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 — must each pay the fee.
If a fee bill is missing for one family member and not others, the EB-5 investor and their immigration attorney should contact the NVC immediately. Typically, the NVC issues fee bills within days of a request. In the meantime, it is advised to continue processing the other family member’s paperwork. EB5 investors should be aware that the NVC stopped accepting and responding to inquiries through mail on June 1, 2020. Investors should only send mail to the NVC if explicitly instructed to by the NVC. Moreover, the NVC has suspended its public inquiry telephone line since May 23, 2022; as of December 2022, this suspension is still in effect. Investors and their attorneys can still contact the NVC online via the Public Inquiry Form.