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Effective Aug. 15, 2011, US Petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices must file their Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lockbox facility in Chicago. This change makes the filing process more efficient and gives USCIS greater flexibility in managing its workload.
Petitioners residing in a country with a USCIS office may send their petitions to the USCIS Chicago lockbox, or file at the USCIS office in that country. Overseas petitioners filing with the lockbox should expect processing times similar to petitions filed domestically, which currently stand at five months.
Based on a Policy Memorandum published in July 2011, these petitioners will also be granted more time to respond to Requests for Evidence (RFE). Applicants and petitioners residing outside the United States are now given up to 12 weeks to respond to RFEs, plus an additional 14 days to account for overseas mail.
Previous regulations permitted individuals overseas, who comprise about 5 percent of all I-130 petitioners, to file with USCIS or their local U.S. Embassy or consulate. Under the new process, USCIS may authorize the Department of State to adjudicate their case in certain emergency situations, including when:
If you are interested in filing an I-130 petition on behalf of a relative, please make sure you follow proper filing procedures.
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