Invoice ID Number and Case Number From NVC, How Do I Pay The Fee?
Did you receive a bill in the mail from NVC? Once your case reaches the National Visa Center (NVC), the process begins to speed up a little. NVC will send you a packet of documents that will contain your invoice ID number and case number.
The job of the NVC is to process your approved petition and send you a case number and invoice number. Think of them as a bridge between USCIS and the consulate abroad, helping you get from one place to another.
The invoice ID and case number allow you to pay the immigrant visa fee and affidavit of support fee (if applying for a spouse). Although there is no specific time limit to pay these fees, most couples want to get to the next step quickly. So, the soon you pay the fee the faster you can get access to the online visa application.
Normally, the National Visa Center only holds on to your case for a few weeks at most. They just make sure to collect payment and provide you with the affidavit of support form for the petitioner to fill out. If all looks good, they pass along your case to the U.S. consulate to schedule your interview.
But, if you notice that your case has been at the NVC for more than a month without receiving any letters from them, you can call them at (603) 334-0700 to get an update on your case.
Documents The National Visa Center Will Send To You
When your case first reaches the National Visa Center, they’ll send you a letter which contains three different documents. So, what exactly is the NVC and why are they taking over your case?
That’s a good question.
NVC is a private company that is contracted by the Department of State to handle processing of approved petitions. In the case of a spouse visa, when the I-130 petition is approved, it’s quickly handed to NVC to send you packet 4 which contains instructions and invoices for the two fees you’ll pay.
Then it’s time to forward your case to the U.S. consulate or embassy abroad to complete the medical and interview.
What Is In Packet 4 That NVC Sends?
- A cover letter
- The cover letter will provide instructions on what you need to send and what the next steps are.
- An Affidavit of Support Fee Invoice
- This will include form I-864 which needs to be filled out by the petitioner. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fill out form I-864.
- An Immigrant Visa Fee Invoice
- This IV fee is for the online application DS-260 that the beneficiary must fill out. It’s the official visa application that you fill out and send to the U.S. consulate to review.
Step 1: Go To The CEAC Application Center Website
First step to pay the fees is to visit the “Consular Electronic Application Center” website at http://ceac.state.gov. This website is used to accept payment and then to complete form DS-260.
Be careful when using certain browsers because it may not be compatible with their website. So if Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer aren’t working for you, try a different browser until one does.
I know that some of you may be tempted to use your iPhone or Droid phone to fill out the application and pay the fee, but it’s not a good idea. You may not be able access this website or complete the registration properly. Plus, a phone screen is so tiny and will make it difficult to fill out the numerous fields required.
Make sure to have the invoice number and case number that NVC has sent you as this information will be asked during registration.
When you first get to the CEAC website, select the “Fee Payment” option to continue to pay using your checking account. NVC doesn’t allow you to pay by credit card so make sure you have a check handy to read off the account number and routing number.
Step 2: Log Into CEAC Website Using Your Case Number
Once you get to the sign in page, you’ll be asked to enter your case number. This was sent to you by NVC along with the invoice number and they both appear on the cover letter. These numbers are listed on the invoices that were sent along with the cover letter.
If you didn’t receive the packet from NVC, make sure to call them directly and ask for this information. (603) 334-0700
Your case number will be used to identify your case with the Department of State. Think of it as a Social Security Number for immigrants.
There will be a drop down menu where you must select the visa type you are applying for. The choices are “immigrant visa” or “nonimmigrant visa”. So, if you filed for the I-130 then you would select “immigrant visa” but if you submitted the I-129F then it would be “nonimmigrant visa”. Yes, I know this can be confusing but trust me on this.
The National Visa Center sent you either one invoice (for K1 applicants) or two (for CR1/IR1 applicants). For the fiance’s of U.S. citizens, you won’t have multiple fees to pay so you only have one options.
However, for spouses of U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents you will need to pick one fee at a time to pay online. After you pay the fee, it will take about 1 week until you can move on to the next step below:
- K1 fiance visa – after you pay the fee, you will then be able to fill out form DS-160
- CR1/IR1 spouse visa – after you pay the fee, you will then be able to fill out form DS-260
Step 4: Enter Your Bank Account Number and Routing Number
After you log into CEAC and select your visa type, you’ll then be asked to pay the first fee electronically. This is the time where you need a copy of a check from your bank account.
Below is where you can find the routing number and account number on your check. Make sure that you have sufficient funds available in your bank for at least the next week or so to give them time to take the funds.
Step 5: Pay The Second Fee (For Spouse Visa Applicants)
For those of you who are applying for a spouse visa (CR1), you’ll need to pay the second fee at this time. To do this, return to main screen of the CEAC website that shows your case information and repeat the process described in step 4.
Once you pay all the fees online, make sure to print out the confirmation page. This can be used to show as proof that you’ve paid the fees when you go to your interview. I recommend that you keep it in your case file for your own records.
Step 6: Wait To Fill Out The Immigrant Visa Application Online
That’s it. The final step of this process is to wait. You’ll be notified by NVC when you are able to complete the immigrant application online. Within 48 hours, you’ll receive an email from NVC with an official payment receipt. If you don’t receive this email, call them to make sure they have the correct email address on file.
Also, NVC has been known to have issues with their payment system to it’s best to confirm everything went through on their end. It’s not enough to just check your bank to see if the funds were withdrawn. You can call NVC at (603) 334-0700.
Final Thoughts On Paying NVC Fees On CEAC
As you can see, each step of the National Visa Center process can take a bit of time. If you know what to expect, then it can take some of the stress off you and your partner. It’s important to respond to requests from the NVC quickly so that you can quickly get to the next stage.
You’ve already been waiting months to get to this point so make sure you pay the fees quickly so you can begin the application process for the visa. Unfortunately, you can’t waive the fees for the immigrant and nonimmigrant fees so everyone must eventually pay up.
It can be tough on families especially if more than one beneficiary is begin petitioned for. This is because the fees must be paid for each applicant on the I-130 petition and this can get really expensive. Sometimes I wonder how people can afford this but then again, it’s family and we would all do just about anything to be with our families.
When my husband and I paid our fees, we were shocked at how expensive it was. We we lucky because I was the only immigrating. If I had a couple of kids at the time, it would have tripled our expenses for the process.