The National Visa Center (NVC), a division of the U.S. Department of State that is responsible for administrative processing of approved immigrant visa petitions, has begun an electronic processing pilot program. The program uses electronic communications and documentation methods in an effort to streamline and simplify its processing of documents and forms submitted by visa applicants. The program will entail completing all necessary forms online and submitted civil documents in PDF format to the NVC. Original documents, including birth and marriage certificates, are then presented at the visa interview at the consulate abroad. The NVC is sending invitation letters to applicants who can elect to participate in the program. If the applicant does not wish to participate in the electronic program, the applicant may submit documents by mail.

The Department of State also recently announced that the paper forms used in NVC processing, the DS-230 and DS-231 forms, will soon be replaced by an electronic form, the DS-260. Similar to the DS-160 for nonimmigrant visa applications, the DS-260 will allow the visa applicant to complete and submit the form online. The completed application will then be transmitted to the NVC to complete processing, and will also be available to the consulate abroad where the immigrant visa interview will take place.