In December 2014, the National Visa Center (NVC) began converting pending Chinese employment-based fifth preference (EB-5) immigrant visa applications from a paper format to an electronic processing format. It appears that NVC also may have reissued case numbers for pending Chinese EB-5 applications, changing the prefix from GUZ to GZO. NVC indicated that this change was made to transfer EB-5 cases to post for interview and adjudication as quickly as possible.

NVC appointment notices for Chinese EB-5 applications may indicate that applicants must bring original documents, even if the NVC already had original documents. Applicants should attend the interviews regardless of whether they have all of the original civil documents. In some cases, NVC notices incorrectly state that NVC only received scanned copies of civil documents. These notices can be disconcerting as they clearly are not accurate for applications that started as paper files and were converted to an electronic format. Concerns are compounded since many Chinese EB-5 applications are being scheduled for appointments with relatively short notice, and with little or no opportunity to obtain a new set of original documents.

While the U.S. consular post in Guangzhou is aware of the issue, it recommends that applicants bring a duplicate set of documents to the visa interview when they are available. Regardless of whether applicants have an extra set of original civil documents, the consulate requests that applicants attend their scheduled interview. Consular staff will discuss the available processing options with those applicants who do not have original documents at the time of the interview. If the post requires documents from the file at NVC, NVC will send the file to the consulate on an expedited basis.

The NVC has emphasized that those applicants who require original documents from the NVC file are not penalized. In such cases, the file will be shipped to Guangzhou after the interview, instead of before it. Since affected applicants already have been interviewed, the post will only need to complete the document package. Questions or concerns about a particular application can be addressed directly to the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou at GuangzhouIVform@state.gov. If an applicant wishes to retrieve original documents from the NVC file, NVC should be contacted through NVCAttorney@state.gov