It's an effing mess
The American National Visa Center (NVC) is a mysterious organization that one must deal with when trying to get anything related to a visa to the USA. Many people use it to process paperwork, mostly foreigners in the USA trying to get a loved one or other type of visa to enter the USA.
In general, there are two types: An Immigrant (one who is planning to live in the USA or years through a Green Card, and, Non-Immigrant (temporary employment through employers, stays less than six months, etc.). For either type, the process is the same, that is, file the appropriate documents electronically by uploading them via their website (ceac.state.gov) in either JPG or PDF format. This is AFTER the NVC have accepted your original paperwork sent via regular mail to their designated address. Once accepted, they will issue you a NVC number and Invoice number that you will use to login with to communicate and upload other documents as needed. More information can be found at: nvc.state.gov.
What seems to be a 21st Century solution electronically, is in reality, a rabbit hole for the person waiting. The website used by the NVC is clunky and not user friendly to anyone, in fact, it is quite the opposite until the user figures out how it works. The uploading of documents may or may not work or be accepted, the messages sent from the NVC staff via their secured email may or may not work with the browser you have, the website also times out if nothing is done quickly.
However, the worst is there is little human interaction with the NVC, even if you call their phone number, most likely you get a recording with limited options or just be told to hold, or worse, just disconnected. The case workers at the NVC are either morons in some cases with different levels of expertise in visas, or, are grossly understaffed and fail to attend to your uploaded paperwork in a timely manner.
What is a timely manner for processing a visa?
In general, 5-8 months once NVC has accepted it. But, Covid-19, really has ended this timeline and made it much longer. For example, I filed an immigrant visa for a child now living in the Philippines. Since I am a US citizen, I have priority. The paperwork was sent in Sept. 2019, accepted Oct. 2019. Documents were uploaded. Nothing at all happened until a NVC person finally looked at them in June 2020! More documents were needed and sent. The next time they reviewed it was Sept. 2020! Despite my attempts to communicate, nothing was heard back. It was not until early March 2021! It was then the NVC reviewer told me that paperwork filed electronically must have original signatures (not those created electronically)! Obviously, the NVC reviewer changes everytime because this could have been told me WAY back in June or Sept. 2020. NVC reviewers must have different levels of expertise.
We are still waiting for approval and it be sent to the US Embassy in Manila. The paperwork will expire in April 2022, which at that point, we need to refile and repay for the visa again.