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themoldy1

Exceptional IR-1 Filing direct to Embassy (Married with children)

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Before finding out how to do this I went through the normal route of researching the I-130 application via USCIS/NVC in the USA, and expecting the whole thing to take about a year (based on the current stats).

But I discovered (buried in a USCIS memo that is available online somewhere) details of the original Exceptional Filing memo to the US State Department. Basically this states that it is possible to have your I-130 processed directly by your local/regional embassy for exceptional reasons. If you look carefully in your Embassy's online site, and you may have to dig quite deep!, you should find something like this (for ours in Stockholm):

Exceptional Filing

Beginning August 15, 2011, petitioners who believe their situation merits an exception may request the Consular Section to accept the filing. Each request will be evaluated individually.

A petitioner seeking to file a Form I-130 should contact the Consular Section to request consideration for exception and explain the circumstances in detail. The Consular Section will then relay the request for an exception to the USCIS field office with jurisdiction over the U.S. Embassy. The determination of whether the case presents exceptional circumstances which warrant an exception to the general filing process will be made by USCIS. Please visit USCIS website for guidance on the circumstances that may qualify as exceptional.

In our case, London was the USCIS field office. We applied for exceptional filing on the grounds that if a visa was not granted quickly our family would be separated and this would case suffering to our two (young) children. This is in breach of the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child, to which the US is a signatory country (although it did not ratify the Charter).

There are other (humanitarian) reasons for exceptional filing listed in the USCIS memo.

So if you are married, have children together (it probably helps if they have US citizenship) then I would seriously consider this route. We submitted our I-130 to the Embassy on 9th June (once the Embassy had agreed to process the application there; we submitted the request on 14th May), and I had my interview at the Embassy this morning. So that's 5 weeks from submission to interview, and exactly 8 weeks from initial exceptional filing request to interview.

I still have hoops to jump through (insufficient police records, incorrect I-864, incomplete I-864a) so the woods have not been cleared yet! But the consular officer told me the visa would be issued once they get these documents, so it's just a question of time now.

If time is an issue (as it was with us), and you can convince the Embassy that not dealing with the I-130 quickly will cause distress due to separated family (my wife has a fixed start date in the US for her new job) then perhaps you can follow the same route we did.

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