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USCIS shifts to requiring citizens residing abroad to file Form I-130 online except in very limited circumstances

  1. Original Date Announced

    January 31, 2020

    USCIS issues guidance that Form I-130s (petitions for alien relatives) will only be processed domestically by USCIS or internationally by the Department of State (DOS) in certain circumstances. A Policy Alert addresses the limited circumstances in which DOS can accept and adjudicate the Form I-130 filed abroad at U.S. embassies and consulates. [ID #663]

    Accepting Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) Abroad USCIS Policy Manual - Volume 6, Part B, Chapter 3 News release re: USCIS change in accepting I-130 petitions abroad
  2. Effective Date

    February 1, 2020

Current Status

Fully in Effect

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Final/Actual
Trump Administration Action: Change in Practice
Agencies Affected: USCIS DOS

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • August 23, 2019 Previously, if you were a U.S. citizen and you resided outside of the United States where USCIS did not have an international office, you could file for an immediate relative at the U.S. Embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over the area where you live only if you demonstrated "exceptional circumstances" and the USCIS field office director with jurisdiction over that location determines that the embassy or consulate may accept and adjudicate the case. Adjudicator's Field Manual - Chapter 21.12


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