The government has many different types of identification numbers for a myriad of purposes. The National Visa Center (NVC) number is issued to immigrants wanting to enter the United States. Its alphanumeric characters store a lot of information concerning the visa application. Here is how to read an NVC case number.
“National Visa Center is for Immigrants”
The United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs runs the National Visa Center. The government center suggests that individuals with any questions concerning their visa status should have their NVC case number, applicant’s name and petitioner’s name in hand. The center can be reached by phone or email by looking up “NVC Inquiry” on the government website.
Once the National Visa Center is processing your case, you must contact them at least once every year. This prevents your application from expiring. You should update any information at that time.
The United States Department of Homeland Security United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the primary authority for processing American visas, but it has taken over some processing previously carried out by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
This can be very confusing because usually the USCIS is the final authority on visa matters. When an applicant receives his USCIS receipt number, he must be aware that this is different than the NVC number. The USCIS receipt number may be on the “Notice of Action, Form I-797.”
“What do the NVC Digits Mean?”
The basic NVC case number consists of 13 alphanumeric characters. The first three places are reserved for alphas (letters) identifying the overseas embassy or consulate that received the original immigrant visa application. Some visas are issued according to quotas set for each country.
The next 10 digits of the NVC are numbers that have been coded from the standard Julian calendar. The first four numbers are the year for the application (i.e. 1998). The next three numbers represent the date based on the following formula: Date + 500 (i.e. January 1st would be 001 + 500 = 501). The final number identifies the order of that application for that day (i.e. 4th application = 004.)
The date and order of the NVC case are important because the older applications receive priority. This could also have legal ramifications since the government has a certain statute of limitations in which it must make visa determinations.