New USCIS Guidance on Family-Based Immigrant Visa Petitions Effective May 22, 2024

Posted by Donald GrossJun 10, 20240 Comments

Starting May 22, 2024, USCIS implemented updated guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding family-based immigrant visa petitions. This includes important updates to Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and, in some cases, Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant). These updates aim to clarify how USCIS handles approval notice errors, requests for consular processing or adjustment of status, and the routing procedures for approved petitions.

Key Updates You Need to Know

  • Importance of Providing Accurate Information: 

    When you submit Form I-130, you must inform USCIS of your beneficiary's current address and their preference for either consular processing or adjustment of status (if they are eligible). This information is crucial as it determines whether USCIS keeps the approved petition for adjustment of status processing or sends it to the Department of State National Visa Center (NVC) for consular processing.  Inaccurate or incomplete information can delay the visa or adjustment process.  For instance, if inaccurate information leads USCIS to retain a petition incorrectly, you may need to file Form I-824 (Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition) with a fee to transfer the petition to the NVC.

  • Handling Unclear or Changed Preferences: 
    Previously, if a petition did not clearly indicate the beneficiary's preference for consular processing or adjustment of status, USCIS would generally keep the approved petition.  Now, if the petitioner does not clearly indicate whether the beneficiary prefers consular processing or adjustment of status, USCIS will use discretion based on the beneficiary's most recent location and address to decide whether to send the petition to the NVC or keep it for adjustment of status processing.
  • Correcting Errors and Updating Petitions: 
    The updated guidance also outlines how you can contact USCIS to correct errors or update information on a pending approved Form I-130.  This includes updating the beneficiary's location and indicating their preference for consular processing or adjustment of status.
  • Decision Making Criteria: 
    USCIS has provided general guidance on the criteria they use to approve or deny family-based immigrant petitions.  This includes how relevant notices are handled and what factors are considered in the decision making process.

Need Assistance?

If you need help navigating these updates or ensuring your family based petition is accurately completed, consider consulting with Donald Gross Law Group.  We can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation, helping you avoid common pitfalls and ensuring your petition is processed smoothly.