As of November 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of State has announced, the National Visa Center ceased collecting original civil documents – birth and marriage certificates, police clearance certificates, etc. – from applicants for immigrant visas.  From now on, applicants will submit only photocopies of these documents to the NVC and take the originals to their visa interviews at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

The NVC’s practice of requiring original documents is a long-standing one that has caused applicants additional stress, worry and expense in the already demanding and difficult process of applying to immigrate permanently to the United States.  The State Department’s announcement suggests that the change will “reduce customer wait times, and improve the customer experience overall.”