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Family-Based Immigration
Filing an Immigrant Petition

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 overseas who wish to file a Form I-130, Petition for a Non-Citizen Relative, may do so as follows:

If the petitioner resides in a country such as Japan where USCIS does not have a public counter presence, the Form I-130 must be filed with the USCIS Dallas Lockbox Facility. Please visit USCIS website for detail.

If the petitioner resides in a country in which USCIS has a public counter presence, the Form I-130 may be filed directly with the USCIS field office or through the Dallas Lockbox.

For more information, please visit 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 mail 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:

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 for any immediate relative case, when active duty military service member is stationed at a military base in Japan. This exception does not apply to service members assigned to non-military bases, such as embassies or civilian institutions, or to service members on temporary duty orders. For more information of the Military Exception, please click here. For I-130 Appointment for qualified U.S. military service members, please click here.

“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 Dallas Lockbox.

USCIS published guidance on circumstances that may qualify as exceptional.

Petitioners who believe that their situation merits an exception may contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to request an exception 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 Dallas Lockbox.

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