A Direct Consular Filing (DCF), also called local filing, is the procedures of filing certain immigration petitions with USCIS international office where the petitioner is currently residing at instead of filing with a USCIS lockbox or online. Petitioner must be currently residing in the country, for example, holding a work visa or have a permanent resident status. Staying with a tourist visa does not qualify them for direct consular filing.
United States Department of State (DOS) has the right to accept or decline the acceptance based on if the criteria defined by USCIS has been met. Note that, as of 2/1/2020, USCIS stopped accepting and adjudicating routine Form I-130 petitions at all international field offices. Unless you meet some exceptional circumstances, petitioners residing overseas who are unable to file with DOS will need to file Form I-130 by mail with USCIS lockbox facility.
What forms can be filed with Direct Consular Filing?
- Form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow, or Special Immigrant
- Form I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (when petitioners are in exceptional circumstances)
What are exceptional circumstances for filing Form I-130?
DOS currently only accept I-130 petitions that are in exceptional circumstances. It's up to DOS's discretion that if they will accept the petition. Examples of exceptional circumstances include:
- Military emergencies
- Medical emergencies
- Threats to personal safety
- Close to aging out
- Adoption of a child
- Short notice of position relocation