\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 21 Family-based Petitions and Applications. \ 21.12 Reserved
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Process for Responding to Requests by the Department of State (DOS) to Accept a Locally Filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative [Chapter added 08-09-2011; AD11-38]
(a) When DOS Contacts USCIS to Request Authorization for DOS to Accept and Adjudicate an I-130.
If a consular officer in an embassy or consulate where USCIS is not present encounters an individual case that the officer believes requires immediate processing, the consular officer should contact the USCIS Field Office Director (FOD) with jurisdiction over that location to request authorization for DOS to accept and adjudicate the case. The FOD will determine whether DOS may accept and adjudicate the case.
(b) When DOS Can Adjudicate an Authorized Case.
If the USCIS FOD authorizes DOS to adjudicate a case, the consular officer may only adjudicate a case that is clearly approvable. If the case is not clearly approvable, DOS must forward the case to the USCIS office with jurisdiction.
(c) Exceptional Circumstances.
The following are some examples of exceptional circumstances when USCIS will likely authorize DOS to accept and process an I-130 petition:
Military emergencies: A U.S. service member overseas becomes aware of a new deployment or transfer with very little notice. This should be an exception to the regular relocation process for most service members.
Medical emergencies: A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an urgent medical emergency that requires immediate travel. This includes the situation where a petitioner or beneficiary is pregnant and delaying travel may create a medical risk or extreme hardship for the mother or child.
Threats to personal safety: A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an imminent threat to personal safety.
Cases close to aging out: A beneficiary is within a few months of aging out of eligibility.
Cases where the petitioner has recently naturalized: The petitioner and family have traveled for the immigrant visa interview, but the petitioner has naturalized and the family member(s) require a new, stand-alone petition.
Cases involving the adoption of a child: A petitioner who has adopted a child locally and has an imminent need to depart the country. This exception should only be considered if the child has been in the petitioner's legal and physical custody for at least two years and the petitioner has a full and final adoption decree on behalf of the child.
The list of examples provided in Chapter 22.12(b) is not exhaustive. FODs have the discretion to authorize a DOS adjudication of an I-130 when there are compelling humanitarian reasons to do so. FODs should consult with their District Director or Deputy District Director when they have questions about whether to authorize a DOS adjudication of the case.
(e) Appeal Rights.
The petitioner does not have the right to appeal or request reconsideration of a USCIS decision to deny a DOS request for authority to process an I-130 because of exceptional circumstances.
(f) In the Event of a Large Scale Crisis.
USCIS may authorize the blanket processing of I-130s by DOS at an overseas location in response to a large scale crisis. A large scale crisis includes a natural disaster or widespread civil unrest that creates a humanitarian emergency for U.S. citizens or residents living abroad. In these circumstances, the Chief or Deputy Chief of USCIS International Operations may choose to give blanket authorization to DOS to accept and adjudicate I-130s for a specified period of time.
(g) When DOS Requests Exceptional Authorization.
When DOS requests authorization to accept and adjudicate an emergency Form I-130, the following process will be followed:
A DOS employee will call the USCIS office having jurisdiction over their location and provide details to the FOD.
DOS will also e-mail the FOD to request permission to accept and adjudicate the I-130.
The FOD may provide verbal approval to proceed in particularly urgent circumstances and will respond via e-mail within 1-3 business days of receipt of the e-mail.
If the decision is negative, DOS should instruct the individual to file the Form I-130 with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox.
The FOD has the discretion to determine which cases may be processed by DOS and which cases must be filed by mail with the USCIS lockbox in the United States.