The National Visa Center (NVC), the U.S. Department of State agency responsible for pre-processing approved immigrant visas, has changed its policy on collecting originals of certain supporting documents. As of Nov. 12, 2014, NVC will no longer collect original civil documents (such as birth, marriage, police, military, court, death or divorce records) for immigrant visa applications at non-electronic processing posts. Instead, applicants should only submit photocopies of these documents to NVC via mail and keep the original documents in their possession. However, applicants will need to take the original documents to the visa interview, once scheduled.

With this new policy to stop collecting certain originals, NVC hopes to reduce wait times and improve the visa processing experience overall for customers. Instead of having to send originals of such sensitive, important documents, applicants can now just provide photocopies at the initial document submission stage. NVC will include the photocopies as part of the file for the appropriate Consular post, hopefully leading to more cases being documentarily qualified faster.