The Immigrant Visa Process
- After Your Petition is Approved
- Begin National Visa Center (NVC) Processing
- Choose an Agent
- Pay Fees
- Collect and Submit Forms and Documents to the NVC
- Submit Visa Application Form
- Collect Financial Documents
- Collect Supporting Documents
- Submit Documents to the NVC
Filing Immigrant Petitions Outside the United States
While most immigrant visa petitions are filed in the United States, there are limited provisions for filing certain types of petition forms outside the United States.
Countries with USCIS Offices
Certain petitions may be filed at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices abroad, but these locations are limited in number. Review the list of International Offices on the USCIS website to determine if a USCIS office is located in the country where you reside.
If you reside in a country with a USCIS public office, you may either file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with that office or with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox at one of the addresses below. See USCIS Centralizes Filing of Form I-130.
Countries without USCIS Offices
Petitioners residing outside the United States are no longer able to routinely file Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Petitioners residing overseas in countries where USCIS does not have a public counter presence are required to file their Forms I-130 by mail with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox. U.S. embassies and consulates can only accept and process Forms I-130 in exceptional circumstances, as explained below.
Filing Routine Form I-130 Petitions
If you reside in a country without a USCIS public office, petitioners must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, by mail to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox at one of the addresses below.
P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107
Express mail or courier delivery:
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
For additional information about how to file a Form I-130 with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox, please visit the USCIS website or call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.
Filing Form I-130 Petitions in Exceptional Situations
U.S. Embassies and Consulates may only accept I-130 petition filings from petitioners who believe they have exceptional situations that would merit an exception from filing by mail to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox.
Petitioners who believe that their situation merits an exception may contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request an exception and explain their circumstances in detail. Each request for an exception will be evaluated individually and must be authorized by the USCIS office that is responsible for that specific U.S. embassy or consulate.
USCIS published guidance on circumstances that may qualify as exceptional.
If your request to file an I-130 petition with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate is not authorized by USCIS, then you must file the petition with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox.
I-360 and I-600 Petitions
In countries without USCIS offices, the following petitions may be filed at U.S. Embassies and Consulates:
- Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant – only when filed by the widow or widower of a deceased U.S. citizen
- Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative – only when accompanied by an approved Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition
If you would like to file one of the petition forms listed above, you must reside legally in the consular district of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which you are requesting to file. Review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website responsible for the consular district where you reside for more information.
A visa applicant for whom a petition is filed with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate must be able to remain in the country where the embassy or consulate is located for the time it takes to process the visa.