The recent legislation has led to changes in the procedures American citizens resident abroad follow, if they wish to sponsor an immediate relative (spouse, parent or minor child) for an immigrant visa. Effective immediately, the immediate relative petition (I-130) must be filed with the USCIS office responsible for the petitioner’s place of residence (that is, the place of residence of the American citizen who is filing the petition). American citizens should submit their I-130 at the CIS office responsible for their place of residence. Consular offices at U.S. embassies and consulates are no longer authorized to accept I-130s, although they will continue to provide guidance to American citizen petitioners and their family members. Responsibility for acceptance and approval of immigrant visa petitions rests solely with USCIS. This procedural change may result in a processing delay for some applicants.
The USCIS have completed a thorough analysis and come to the conclusion that posts must cease accepting or adjudicating any I-130 petition for family-based immigrant status that was not adjudicated by USCIS, and inform any individual wishing to file such a petition that it is necessary to file it with the appropriate USCIS office and refrain from assisting further. In any case in which a post has already accepted an I-130 from a petitioner but has not yet issued a visa, post must forward the petition to the appropriate USCIS overseas office as “not clearly approvable.” USCIS may provide subsequent guidance on processing I-600 petitions and previously approved I-130 petitions. This change is expected to cause difficulties and distress.