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Family-Based Immigration
Filing an Immigrant Petition

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Step 1: Filing an Immigrant Petition
This is the first of two steps in obtaining an immigrant visa. The second step is the actual application for the visa, which is described in the next page.

How to file an I-130 petition:

Petitioners residing ​outside of the United States, you may:

For more information, visit USCIS, USCIS News or USCIS website.

Note: USCIS does not authorize the Department of State to accept a local filing abroad if the petitioner has already filed a Form I-130 domestically for the same beneficiary.  If exigent circumstances exist, the petitioner should request expedited processing for the electronic or domestically-filed petition.

Physical Presence Requirement: The petitioner and the beneficiary are physically present in our consular district when filing an I-130 petition in Japan. The beneficiary is able to remain in the country for the time it normally takes to process the visa.

Residence Requirement: The petitioners must be a resident of the consular district. If they do not meet the requirements, the petitioner will need to file the I-130 to USCIS in the U.S..

Further information can be found at USCIS website https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-6-part-b-chapter-3

Exceptions for certain U.S. military service members and U.S. diplomats:

Consular officers at US Embassy Tokyo and US Consulate General Naha may accept filing of the form I-130, Petition for Noncitizen Relative, filed by qualified U.S. military service members or U.S. diplomats for any immediate relative case, when such U.S. citizens are stationed/assigned to Japan. This exception does not apply to U.S. service members assigned to international organizations, government employees overseas who are personal service contractors, U.S. Direct Hire employees on temporary duty or official visits to Japan. For more information of this Military Exception, please click here. For I-130 Appointment for qualified personnel, please click here for further instructions.

“Exceptional Situations”:

Filing of the form I-130 immigrant petition at US Embassy Tokyo and US Consulate General Naha in other “Exceptional Situations”:
U.S. Embassy Tokyo and Consulate General Naha may 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.

USCIS published guidance on circumstances that may qualify as exceptional.

Petitioners who believe that their situation merits an exception may submit a request through our online form and explain their circumstances in detail.

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 directly.

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