United States: Updated guidance
for family-based immigrant visas

Effective 22 May 2024, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual on family-based immigrant visa petitions (including Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and, in limited situations, family-based Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant), including explaining the handling of approval notice error correction, requests for consular processing or adjustment of status on the beneficiary’s behalf, and routing procedures for approved petitions.

Petitioners submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must inform USCIS of the beneficiary’s current address and whether the beneficiary wants consular processing with the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) or adjustment of status in the United States, if eligible.

Providing this information causes USCIS to keep the approved petition for adjustment of status processing or send it to the NVC for consular processing, as appropriate. If accurate information is not provided on the petition, it can delay the immigrant visa or adjustment of status process. For example, if USCIS keep a petition because inaccurate information was provided, the petitioner must generally file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, with the appropriate fee, to transfer the petition to the NVC.

Before issuing this update, USCIS generally kept approved petitions that did not clearly indicate whether the beneficiary wanted adjustment of status or consular processing. This update clarifies procedures for family-based immigration petitions, to promote more efficient processing where the beneficiary’s preference for consular processing or adjustment of status is unclear or has changed or a correction is needed.

This updated guidance provides that if petitioners do not clearly indicate whether their beneficiary wants consular processing or adjustment of status, USCIS will use discretion to decide whether to send the approved petition to the NVC for consular processing or keep the petition for adjustment of status processing, based on evidence of the beneficiary’s most recent location, including the beneficiary’s address on the petition.

This updated guidance also explains how petitioners can contact USCIS to correct an error or update a pending or approved Form I-130. This includes updating the beneficiary’s location and indicating whether they want consular processing or adjustment of status.

Finally, this updated guidance provides general guidance on how USCIS decides whether to approve or deny a family-based immigrant petition, including relevant notices.

Speak to our US immigration experts

If you need advice or guidance relating to US immigration including family-based immigrant visas, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters is here to help.

To speak to a member of the team, please contact us today.

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