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    Important Changes About Immigrant Visas (February 2007, Updated January 2014)


    Recent legislation has led to changes in the procedures that American citizens residing abroad must follow if they wish to sponsor an immediate relative, such as spouse, minor child or parent, for an immigrant visa into the U.S.A.

    Effective immediately, the immediate relative petition (I-130) must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office responsible for the petitioner’s place of residence, i.e. the place of residence of the American citizen who is filing the petition. Now only the USCIS is authorized to accept immigrant visa petitions. Furthermore the responsibility for acceptance and approval of these petitions rests solely with the USCIS. Although U.S. consular offices and embassies are no longer authorized to accept these I-130 application forms, they will continue to provide guidance to American citizen petitioners.

    Where to File

    File at the Chicago or Phoenix Lockbox, depending on where you live and whether you are also filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Check for your  filing location from one of the addresses are listed on the form.

    If you reside outside of the United States where USCIS has an international office, you may file at the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility or at the USCIS international office in the country in which you reside. If you reside outside of the United States where USCIS does not have an international office, you may file at the U.S. Embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over the area where you live only if exceptional circumstances exist and the USCIS Field Office Director with jurisdiction over that location determines that the Embassy or consulate may accept and adjudicate the case. For a list of USCIS international offices and filing instructions please visit www.uscis.gov/international.

    Filing Fee - $420

    The information page for relative petitions can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/i-130

    Dorothy S.Chair CitizenshipCommittee

    February 2007 (Updated, January 2014, Judy Furukawa, Citizenship Chair)

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