As of August 25, 2011, US citizens residing in a foreign country that does not have a US CIS office in that country, are no longer allowed to directly file their marriage-based immigrant visa cases with the consulate in that country. They have to file the case with US CIS lockbox in the United States. In only cases of rare emergency (such as medical emergencies or where the personal safety of the petitioner or beneficiary is at risk), will CIS authorize the Department of State (consulate abroad) to accept a direct filing when there is no CIS office in that country.
This will not be a popular decision as it eliminates the advantage to direct filing which was cutting out the long CIS processing time that averages 6 months for the file to be approved by CIS in the US), plus the time NVC takes to assemble and request more documents and set up the consulate interview. Now, it will take longer for CIS to approve the case, reroute it to the National Visa Center, then reroute it again to the consulate abroad for the immigrant’s interview based on the marriage. Only those US citizens living in a foreign country that has a CIS office within that country will be able to skip the US CIS & NVC processing.
Attorney Heather L. Poole practices exclusively in the area of U.S. family-based immigration law and citizenship law. Heather is a nationally-published immigration author, frequent lecturer on immigration issues, and member & officer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Southern California Chapter. For more information about Heather and the services offered, visit www.humanrightsattorney.com
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