As I have told you before, I am quite obsessive. I had everything planned out and had gone through every last bit of information I could find online about the National Visa Center process. What the NVC does is process the visa application (and $355 fee) the Affidavit of Support (and $70 fee) and asks for all supporting documents (the same ones just sent to the USCIS) and adds requirements for a police certificate from every country a person has ever lived. It also gives you the instructions for getting a United States approved Medical Exam ($250.)
Now, it would not be good government if this did not slow down the process considerably, so at the time we were applying, they would send you the fee for one form, wait til they received it, cashed it and "processed it" and then send you the form to fill out and send back. They would wait for that form to arrive and be processed before they would send you the next fee and the process would start again. Luckily, newer visa applicants get to use an online system where one can pay the fees at one time and recieve the forms to fill out. You can actually get the forms online too, but you have to have a special barcode form to mail back with each application under the laughable guise of "faster processing." I'm sorry, but there is nothing "fast" about the immigration process.
Having said that, I have to defend whatever lovely soul got their hands on my husband's USCIS application paperwork because they transferred it from Vermont, our assigned office, to California. Our I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) was processed in less than three months! That is completely unheard of! I have no idea how it happened, but I assume some kind soul took pity on us after reading the application and realizing the horrible long process that we were going to have. So, after three months, we were on our way to the NVC and the rest of the processing.
I had every fee sheet sent back to NVC same day, and every application pre-filled from their website just waiting for the barcode sheet to be mailed to me. Once the barcode arrived, I was on my way to the post office to mail that out same day too. Somehow, I was crazy enough to think this was going to help. In the end, it served its purpose. . .it made me feel better thinking I was helping.
Our case "went complete" at NVC on November 14, 2006, seven months after we were married. This meant that all of our paperwork was in and that all we had to do was wait for the consulate to schedule our appointment. Another two months passed before M received notice in Canada that he would be interviewed at the US Consulate Montreal on February 15, 2007.