U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will only be processed domestically by USCIS or internationally by the Department of State (DOS) in certain circumstances beginning February 1, 2020.
DOS will assume responsibility for certain services previously provided at USCIS international offices, services that DOS already provides in countries where USCIS does not have a presence. Eligible active-duty service members assigned overseas will file their Forms I-130 locally with DOS, as will certain non-military petitioners who meet specific criteria for consular processing.
Generally, DOS will process a 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 discretion to accept Form I-130 if a U.S. citizen petitioner meets the “exceptional circumstance” criteria outlined in the USCIS Policy Manual.
All other petitioners residing overseas must file Form I-130 online or by mail through the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility for domestic processing.