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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)announced that beginning February 1, 2020, Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will only be processed domestically by USCIS or internationally by the Department of State (“DOS”) in specific circumstances.

Going forward, the DOS will assume responsibility for services provided at USCIS international offices. Eligible active duty service members assigned overseas will file their Forms I-130 locally with DOS. The DOS already provides these services in countries where USCIS does not have a presence. Generally, DOS will process Form I-130 locally if the petition falls under blanket authorization criteria, as defined by USCIS:

  • Temporary blanket authorizations for instances of prolonged or severe civil strife or a natural disaster; or

  • Blanket authorization for U.S. service members assigned to military bases abroad.

In addition to these blanket authorizations, DOS maintains the discretion to accept Form I-130 if a U.S. citizen petitioner meets the “exceptional circumstance” criteria as outlined in the Policy Manual update.

All other petitioners residing overseas must file Form I-130 online or by mail through the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility for domestic processing.

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