NOA1 and NOA2 Timeline 2019: How Long It Will Take To Approve
If there’s one thing that most visa applicants want to know, it’s how long it will take for approval. Everyone wants to know how long it will be from the first Notice of Action NOA1 and NOA2. When you first submit the initial petition for a family-based visa, you’ll quickly receive Notice of Action (NOA1) from USCIS within two weeks. This first letter tells you that your petition has been accepted.
But, then there is a long period of time that you won’t hear anything back from USCIS. Until finally you receive your approval with the second Notice of Action (NOA2). So, how long does it take from NOA1 and NOA2? That’s what we’ll find out in this post.
Why Does USCIS Send A Notice of Action?
- Receipt – USCIS has received your petition
- Approval – USCIS has approved your petition.
- Rejection – USCIS has decided to reject your petition.
- Transfer – USCIS has transferred your case to another office
- Re-open – USCIS has reopened your case that it previously closed.
- Appointment – USCIS has scheduled an appointment for you (fingerprint, biometric capture, interview, rescheduled).
In this post, we’ll be focusing on the notice of action for receipt and approval only.
What Is The First Notice of Action (NOA1)?
The first notice of action arrives in the mail about 2 weeks after you submit the petition. If you’ve also submitted from G-1145, you’ll probably receive an email or text message as soon as the petition is accepted by USCIS. If you didn’t include G-1145 then you’ll likely be waiting for then notice in the mail.
Claire petitioned for her mother, Barbara as soon as she turned 21 years old. She submitted the I-130 petition for her mom to get a green card and after about 10 days, she received the first notice of action (NOA1).
Since her mother will not be in the immediate preference category, she will need to wait for a priority date to become current before a visa will be available to her. But, this doesn’t affect how long it will take to get the second notice of action (NOA2). After 6 months, Claire receives the second notice of action (NOA2) that confirmed that her mother’s petition was approved.
Once the case is sent off to the National Visa Center, her mother will need to wait until a visa becomes available (priority date).
What Happens If You Don’t Get NOA2?
In most cases, it will take a few months to hear back from USCIS after they receive your application. But, if you don’t hear back from them in 6 months, you should contact USCIS customer service at 1-800-375-5283. When you speak with the customer service agent, provide them with the receipt number on the first NOA1 and ask them for an update on your case.
You’ll likely receive a generic answer from them that your case is still under review.
Another issue that can come up is if you forget to include something in your petition, USCIS will then send you a Request for Evidence (RFE) before they complete processing of your case. It’s important to respond quickly to an RFE to avoid further delays or the denial of the case due to abandonment.
What Is The Second Notice of Action (NOA2)?
The second notice of action will be the approval notice itself. When USCIS approves your petition, they will notify you with this letter letting you know what the next steps will be. After that, they will forward your case to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
When you receive NOA2, you will probably feel excited, happy and wonder how long it will be until the interview.
Do you see a common thread here? Even after your petition is approved, you’ll be looking at what’s ahead and how long it will be to get there.
Bill filed for the I-129F petition for his Mexican fiancee Maria a few months ago. After about 5 months, they finally receive NOA2 in the mail informing them that their petition has been approved. They were excited and looking forward to the next step in the process. USCIS provides details on the NOA2 stating that their case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC).
Within a few weeks, USCIS forwards their case to the NVC for processing. Bill and Maria will now need to complete several online forms and submit documents to NVC before their case can be scheduled for an interview.
Once you get NOA2, the happiness will wear off pretty quickly. You’ve gotten through one hurdle in the process but its’ not over yet. Now, you can look forward to the medical exam and the visa interview. There will be a lot more waiting for updates on your case.
What Is The Timeline Between NOA1 and NOA2?
I’m sure you’re wondering how long it will be between receiving NOA1 and NOA2. The time period will differ depending on which visa you’re applying for as well as how complicated your case is.
If you submitted the perfect case and didn’t miss a thing, you can expect to receive the second notice of action (NOA2) in about 4-6 months. I know this may seem like a long time but the adjudicator isn’t actually reviewing your case this entire time. For the majority of the time you’re waiting, your case is just sitting on someone’s desk.
Yup, that’s right. All the paperwork you’ve spend weeks or months putting together is just sitting around for a few months before anyone looks at it. Waste of time, right?
This is due to the fact that USCIS is severely understaffed causing this huge backlog in case adjudication. You’d think that with all the fees we pay, they could use some of those funds to hire more staff but I digress.
Vickie and Jack were recently married in Spain and they immediately applied for a CR1 visa for Jack. Two weeks after submitting the I-130 petition to USCIS, Vickie received the first notice of action (NOA1).
They were both really excited to hear back so quickly but after a few months go by without any updates, they begin to get anxious. Vickie logs into the USCIS.gov website to check the case status. It hasn’t changed since they received NOA1 which begins to frustrate them.
After 7 months without an update, they decide to contact USCIS customer service. They are told that their case is still under review and to check back again in 30 days. Thankfully, within 2 weeks of that phone call they receive NOA2 in the mail.
Your case status will not change much from the time you get your first NOA1 until you receive NOA2. Trust me, I know how hard it is to wait for an approval and it doesn’t get easier after you get it. You will still obsessively check your case status every single day hoping for an update.
When nothing changes, you get more stressed and anxious wondering what is going on with your case. I’ve been there and it’s no fun.
As you can see, the timeline between NOA1 and NOA2 can take several months. You should use this time to prepare for the visa interview and gather the rest of the evidence of financial support. I know how hard it is to wait for the decision but there’s nothing you can do to speed things up.
In some cases, you may be eligible to expedite your case if you can prove that you have an emergency situation. This will not be easy and requires a lot of evidence to back up your claim but it’s worth a shot if you truly need your cases expedited.
If more than 6 months go by without hearing anything from USCIS, contact customer service to get an update on your case. In almost all of the cases I’ve seen, it will take 4-6 months to get the second notice of action.
Normally, the only thing that can delay your case after NOA1 is a request for evidence. You should respond to an RFE as quickly as possible to ensure that you get the NOA2 quickly. Remember, you have one chance to respond to an RFE and you won’t get a second chance.
I hope this post has helped you understand what happens between NOA1 and NOA2. The petition process can be difficult, time consuming and long but if you know exactly what to expect, you can reduce the stress of uncertainty.
Wondering how long it will take between NOA1 and NOA2? Let me know in the comments below.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.