The spouse, widow(er) and unmarried children under 21 of a U.S. citizen, and the parent of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older are eligible to receive a Green Card under the “Immediate Relative” category. A step-parent or child will qualify for immigration only if the marriage creating the step parent/child relationship occurs before the child’s eighteenth birthday. Immigrants under this category do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number. It becomes available once the visa petition is approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The first step in applying for an immigrant visa is for the U.S. citizen (petitioner) to file an immigrant visa petition, Form I-130, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A separate petition must be filed for each person immigrating. However, U.S. citizens resident in the United Kingdom may file the petition, Form I-130, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in London. In this article we outline the procedure of filing I-130 petition for alien relative with the DHS in London (direct consular processing) and its further processing by the U.S. Embassy, London.
What Is The Benefit of Filing I-130 In London?
Generally U.S. citizens need to file I-130 petition with the USCIS Service Centers in the U.S. After the USCIS approves the I-130 petition, it is transferred to National Visa Center (NVC) for further administrative processing. This administrative processing may take three to four months, after which the file is transferred to the U.S. Embassy for immigrant visa processing.
If the U.S. citizen and immigrant visa applicant reside in the United Kingdom and the U.S. citizen is filing the I-130 with the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration) in London, the National Visa Center (NVC) will not be involved in processing of your application. Your case will be processed by the Immigrant Visa Unit at this Embassy and it will be possible to begin the administrative processing of the immigrant visa application before the petition is approved and received by the Immigrant Visa Unit.
Where Do I File The Petition?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Embassy in London accepts I-130 or I-360 petitions from U.S. citizens who reside in their jurisdiction. U.S. citizens whose principal residence is not in the U.K., and/or who have entered the United Kingdom as a temporary visitor/student/or with limited leave to enter and remain in the United Kingdom, must file the petition with the appropriate U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service Center in the United States.
You need to file evidence in the form of a photocopy of the leave to remain stamp in the petitioner’s passport (must also include a photocopy of the photo page of U.S. passport) or a letter from the Home Office confirming the petitioner’s status in the United Kingdom; or a copy of the petitioner’s orders if he/she is a member of the U.S. military stationed in the United Kingdom. Lawful Permanent Residents may only file with this office if they are in possession of a valid Reentry Permit:
Where Do I File The Petition If I Am Not Eligible To File In London?
If you are not eligible to file the petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in London, or you reside in the United States, you should file the petition on behalf of your relative with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence or last residence in the United States.
How Do I File The Petition?
You need to submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, along with the supporting documentation with the USCIS Office in the U.S. Embassy, London. Please read the instructions pages attached to the petition carefully and complete all appropriate sections of the form. Detailed checklists of documents required for filing I-130 petitions for spouse, child, parent, and brother or sister are available on the website of the U.S. Embassy, London.
Filing Fee for the petition
The fee for filing an I-130 or an I-360 is currently $190.00 (in U.S. dollars only). Do not mail personal checks, traveler’s checks or cash. The fee is payable by the following means:
- U.S. dollar money order; cashier’s check, international bank draft made out to: “U.S. Disbursing Officer”. Be sure to print your name and complete address on the back of the check ; or
- You can use the Credit Card Payment Form for your Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover or American Express cards only.
The complete petition, along with the supporting documents mentioned in the checklist, need to be mailed to the USCIS office at the U.S. Embassy, London. Please enclose a large self-addressed stamped envelope to ensure you receive a prompt response.
The mailing address is:
USCIS I-130 (or I-360)
P.O. Box 2444
London W1A 5WT
Approval of The Petition And Visa Processing
After approval of your I-130 petition, the USCIS office at the U.S. Embassy, London will transfer the approved petition to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the Embassy. On receipt of the approved petition, the Immigrant Visa Unit will send you an Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants which consists of the Form DS-230-I Part I, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration – Biographic Data, Form DS-2001, Applicant’s Declaration of Qualification for Immigrant Visa Interview, and Form I-864 Affidavit of Support.
Filing Form DS-230-I
The biographic data form DS-230-I should be completed for each person applying for a visa, regardless of age. You may make photocopies of the form if insufficient copies are received for each family member. The DS-230-I should be completed and returned immediately to the Immigrant Visa Unit at the Embassy in order for them to begin the administrative processing of the application. Failure to return the DS-230-I promptly will delay the processing of the application.
On receipt of the DS-230-I, the Immigrant Visa Unit will notify you whether or not police certificates are required and advise as to how they are obtained. All applicants 16 years of age and over are required to furnish a police certificate (certificate of good conduct) to cover any period of residence of twelve months or more since reaching the age of sixteen; the period of residence is six months if country of birth or current residence.
Assembling the supporting documents
Form DS-2001, Applicant’s Declaration of Qualification for Immigrant Visa Interview is required to be sent to the Immigrant Visa Unit after you have collected all the supporting documents required for your petition. Assemble all of the relevant documents required in support of your application and forward the Form DS-2001 to the Immigrant Visa Unit. You DO NOT need to mail the documents to the Embassy. You will be required to furnish the original of all documents and one copy on the day of the formal visa interview. PLEASE NOTE that you are not required to complete form DS-3032 as your application is not being processed through the NVC.
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
The form I-864 is a contractual affidavit of support, and must be submitted for most family-based applicants and employment-based applicants when a relative is the petitioner or has ownership interest in the petitioning business.
Additional processing by Immigrant Visa Unit
On receipt of the DS-230-I and DS-2001, the Immigrant Visa Unit will perform any additional processing which may be required and advise you concerning the scheduling of the medical interview and the appointment for the formal visa interview.
The Medical Examination
The medical examination is performed at one of two medical centers in London. The medical examination cannot be performed by the applicant’s own physician. Detailed information on the location of the medical centers and scheduling the medical appointment is provided to the applicants when they receive notification of the date and time of the formal visa interview.
The medical examination must take place before the visa interview. The medical results will be couriered to the Embassy within 2 – 3 workdays of the examination.
Applicants registered in the immediate relative category will be contacted within 4 – 6 weeks of the Immigrant Visa Unit completing action on their application with a date for the formal visa interview. Those registered for immigration in the family or employment based preference categories are subject to the annual numerical limitation on immigrants admitted into the United States. In such cases, the appointment for the formal visa interview is scheduled within two months of a visa number becoming available for the applicant’s use.
Who is required to attend the visa interview?
All applicants registered for immigration in the immediate relative category, including children, are required to visit the Embassy in person for a formal visa interview with a U.S. consular officer. Persons under the age of fourteen who are deriving status from an immigrant visa petition filed on behalf of a parent and are applying for the visa at the same time as the parent need not attend the interview. However, they must attend the medical examination.
The visa processing fee is $380.00 or sterling equivalent. Visa applicants whose case is being processed by the Embassy in London will be required to pay the fee on the day of the visa interview; those whose application is being processed through the National Visa Center (NVC), pay the fee before the NVC begin processing the case. The Embassy accepts the visa processing fee in cash, a certified money order or by credit card – Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, Discover or American Express.
Visa Issuances After The Interview
Visa processing takes 3 – 5 workdays. The visa will be returned to you by the Embassy’s courier service, Secure Mail Services. On the day of the visa interview you will be required to purchase an envelope for the return of your documents once visa processing has been completed. The fee for the courier service beings at £13:50; payable by debit or credit card or in cash.
We at VisaPro advise our clients to check the website of the relevant consulate prior to appearing for a visa interview because policies and visa processing procedures for I-130 petition in the consular posts are changing constantly, making it difficult to be aware of the latest policies.
We at VisaPro have successfully helped clients in various countries, including the U.K., with their immigrant visa process and take pride in contributing to the countless smiles when we help our clients unite with their family members. Contact VisaPro if you need our assistance to process a visa petition for your family member.
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