7 International USCIS Field Offices remain open

Picture of the Seal of the US Immigration Service USCIS

The U.S. Immigration Service USCIS is planning to close its offices abroad. Accordingly, applicants will have to adapt to changes in the future. Further details on the closure plans have now been announced, including the fact that selected locations will remain in place.

 

What is a USCIS International Field Office?

The U.S. Immigration Service maintains USCIS Field Offices within the United States in addition to the USCIS Service Centers. These field offices are open to the public, but only by appointment. 

The USCIS International Field Offices are offices of the U.S. Immigration Service outside the United States. These USCIS field offices are located in U.S. embassy and consulate buildings around the world. In Germany, for example, the USCIS International Immigration Office is connected to the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main. There are a total of 23 international USCIS offices.

The USCIS International Field Offices process, among other things, GreenCard applications for foreign family members of US citizens living outside the USA (I-130 form, Petition for Alien Relative) or applications for Transportation Letters.

Closure of USCIS field offices

The USCIS has already started to close its first branches. The USCIS Field Office in Havana has been closed since 10. of December, 2018. The USCIS field office in Moscow was closed on 28. of February, 2019. The closure of the USCIS London Field Office is planned for early 2020.

Contrary to original reports about the closure of all USCIS field offices, it has now become known that seven international sites will remain open in the future:

  1. Peking (China)
  2. Guangzhou (China)
  3. Nairobi (Kenia)
  4. Neu-Delhi (Indien)
  5. Guatemala-Stadt (Guatemala)
  6. Mexiko-Stadt (Mexiko)
  7. San Salvador (El Salvador) 

All remaining USCIS branches are to be closed by August 2020.

The tasks will be taken over by USCIS offices within the United States and by US embassies and consulates abroad (i.e. through the U.S. Department of State) following the closure of USCIS offices. 

Changes for applicants

Since 1. of July 2019, there has only been a very limited possibility of issuing the GreenCard in the field offices that are still open.

In London, for example, resources have been reallocated so that on-site appointments at the USCIS London Field Office for the voluntary abandonment of immigration status via Form I-407 (Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status) are no longer offered. To date, the USCIS office in the UK capital has received 200 such I-407 applications per month, the majority of which have been received by post. In Germany, the branch office at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt am Main is affected. Form I-407 and the GreenCard can therefore only be submitted by post. In addition, those affected must expect a processing time of 60 days. The postal address is as follows:

USCIS Eastern Forms Center
Attn: I-407 unit
124 Leroy Road
PO Box 567
Williston, VT 05495

The USCIS officials in London concentrate instead on I-130 GreenCard applications for foreign family members (fiancées, spouses, etc.) of U.S. Americans living in the UK.

But: Emergencies in connection with I-407 applications (e.g. urgent travel plans) will continue to be dealt with locally within the framework of a personal appointment.

The restrictions resulting from the closures will be felt in particular by U.S. citizens and U.S. military personnel during adoption procedures or naturalisations of family members. But also fugitives who are already in the United States and who want to bring their family members to the United States must prepare for considerably longer processing times for their cases.

updated on 24.09.2019


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