USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Acceptance and Adjudication of Form I-130 Abroad

With the impending adjustment of USCIS’s international footprint, USCIS is revising Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, processing roles abroad. This USCIS policy guidance addresses the limited circumstances in which USCIS has delegated authority to DOS to accept and adjudicate the Form I-130 filed abroad at U.S. embassies and consulates. This guidance is effective February 1, 2020, and applies to petitions filed on or after that date. Once effective, this policy will supersede the guidance found in Chapter 21.12 of the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM), related AFM appendices, and related policy memoranda. Comments are due February 13, 2020.

Policy Highlights

  • Clarifies that USCIS will, generally, no longer accept and adjudicate routine Form I-130 petitions at its remaining international offices, as of February 1, 2020, and outlines filing options, including the new Form I-130 online filing.
  • Removes the requirement that DOS seek and receive case-specific permission from USCIS in advance, and instead explains when DOS may exercise its discretion to accept and adjudicate Forms I-130 filed abroad, and related procedures.
  • Provides examples of exceptional circumstances, such as medical emergencies, and clarifies blanket authorization criteria, such as for certain active duty military members, that petitioners must meet in order to warrant DOS’s favorable exercise of discretion to accept and adjudicate Form I-130.

Please see note on the USCIS forms page for I-130:

Special note for U.S. citizens residing in the United Kingdom or Ghana: If you residei n country, we will continue to accept and adjudicate Forms I-130 until march 31, 2020. In this case, you do not need to establish exceptional circumstances (as listed in USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 6, Part B, Chapter 3) for these offices to accept your Form I-130 petition.

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Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20013134.

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