Direct Consulate Filing (DCF) is a procedure that allows a U.S. citizen to petition for his/her immediate relatives directly to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in their country. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate handles the visa petition and decides the immigrant’s eligibility for a green card without requiring any paperwork to be handled by the USCIS offices in the U.S. The entire procedure can take as little as 3 months instead of a year or more. However, this procedure is not offered everywhere and there is no readily available list of consulates that offer DCF.
Most consulates allow DCF if the sponsor is residing in the foreign country. However, procedures vary if the sponsor is residing in the U.S. Some consulates even allow this if the sponsor lives in the U.S. and the foreign spouse abroad, as a matter of courtesy. If you are a U.S. citizen now, but you are originally from that country or have previously been a resident of that country, it may help influence the outcome.
DCF may also be allowed in the following additional situations:
- Members of the military
- Emergency situations
- Situations involving the health or safety of the petitioner
- When in the national interests of the U.S.
Even though DCF is faster than processing through a U.S. Service Center, it is not instant. The immigrating spouse still needs to go through the entire visa application process and collect various documents such as birth/marriage/police/military certificates.
- A U.S. citizen submits the I-130 application. Submission may be by either mail, courier, or in person with or without an appointment and possibly only on specific days.
- An I-130 is adjudicated.
- The consulate sends a Packet 3 to the beneficiary. The beneficiary returns Packet 3 to the consulate. If you have all of the documents ready for an I-130 petition and visa application ready at your first visit to the consulate to file the I-130, you may request the officer to accept the visa application early.
Immigrant Visa details
- The beneficiary attends the interview. The U.S. citizen does not have to be present at the final interview.
- The beneficiary enters the U.S. with a immigrant visa.
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U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents living in the United States should file the petition according to the procedure described above.
U.S. citizens residing in India can file an I-130 petition for their immediate relatives at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The U.S. citizen must show that they have permission to reside in the consular district and that they have been continuously residing in India for at least six months prior to filing the I-130 petition. They can show proof of such residency by showing their U.S. passport containing exit and entry stamps. Those who are on temporary status in India, such as students or tourists, do not meet this resident standard.
U.S. consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata are not authorized to accept immigrant visa petitions.
Anyone wishing to file an IR immigrant visa petition at the DHS office in New Delhi on any working day (Monday through Friday) may do so between 9:00 AM and noon in order to file an I-130 Petition. A personal interview will be mandatory in each case. In all IR-1 (and CR-1) cases, marriage photographs must be submitted (where there was a traditional religious wedding). There will be no waiver for documentary evidence required by regulation. They can be reached through email at [email protected]
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will attempt to accommodate all applicants in one day. However, in unforeseen circumstances, it may take more than one day to file a petition.
In case of any questions, applicants may call Department of Homeland Security New Delhi at +91-11-2419-8506 or +91-11-2419-8154.
Canada does NOT allow direct consular filing, even if both spouses are residents of Canada.
Australia allows direct consular filing, even if the U.S. citizen is not a resident of Australia.
Please contact your U.S. Embassy/Consulate to find out whether they allow direct consular filing.
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