We have a question from Yan, and she asks: "Is it faster or better to file my IR1 spousal visa directly with the embassy in China, or by mailing it off to the USCIS?"
Because direct consular filing bypasses the USCIS and National Visa Center, the process can be quicker than the normal inquiry process. Having said that, we actually have some DCF cases that take longer as some of the field offices do not process as many of these petitions as the USCIS, and they still need to wait for the FBI background checks. It's the responsibility of the US citizen petitioner to ensure that they are eligible to file directly with the USCIS international field office for resident's permit.
A foreigner in the People's Republic of China is required to file CR1/IR1 directly with the embassy in China. The US citizens with a tourist visa in China are not eligible to file directly with the US embassy unfortunately.
In our experience, we have found in many cases that there is no real advantage to filing. Quite simply, a lot of these embassies don't process as many petitions as the USCIS does, but it really just depends on the embassy. We have seen cases where it did go a little bit quicker.
RapidVisa can help you with the process for direct consular filing, should you decide to file that way. The forms are the same. It's just bypassing the USCIS stage and the National Visa Center stage. So you would think on paper that it would be a lot quicker, but not always.
And also, you need to make sure that the embassy has a US field office. That's an international USCIS field office because there's only approximately 30 of these out there. Not every embassy has one. I know this one was from China and they actually do have one, so you can file there.