Exceptional Circumstances

Examples of exceptional circumstances when USCIS may authorize a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to directly accept and process an I-130 petition:

  • Military emergencies: A U.S. service member abroad becomes aware of a new deployment or transfer with very short notice. This exception applies in cases where the US service member is provided with exceptionally less notice than would normally be expected by most service members in his or her position.
  • Medical emergencies: A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an urgent medical emergency that requires immediate travel. This includes the situation where a petitioner or beneficiary is pregnant and delaying travel may create a medical risk or extreme hardship for the mother or child.
  • Threats to personal safety: A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an imminent threat to personal safety.
  • Close to aging out: A beneficiary is within a few months of aging out of eligibility.
  • Petitioner has recently naturalized: A petitioner and family member(s) have traveled for the immigrant visa interview, but the petitioner has naturalized and the family member(s) requires a new, stand-alone petition.
  • Adoption of a child: A petitioner who has adopted a child locally and has an imminent need to depart the country. This exception should only be considered if the child has been in the petitioner’s legal and physical custody for at least two years and the petitioner has a full and final adoption decree on behalf of the child.
  • Short notice of position relocation: A U.S. Citizen petitioner, living and working abroad, who receives a job relocation within the same company or subsidiary to the United States, or an offer of a new job in the United States with very little notice.

The above is not an exhaustive list of examples. USCIS has discretion to authorize an embassy or consulate to adjudicate an I-130 for compelling humanitarian reasons, including natural disasters, widespread civil unrest and other large scale crises.

If you are a U.S. citizen residing in France and you believe you may qualify for the exceptional circumstances provision according to USCIS guidelines, please write to ParisIVPending@state.gov and include an explanation along with scanned documentary evidence demonstrating the need for direct filing, such as employment letters, military orders, or medical records. Please also include copies of your U.S. passport, your spouse’s and/or child’s passport(s), the marriage certificate (Copie Intégrale de l’Acte de Mariage if married in France), birth certificate, and/or adoption decree as appropriate.  The Paris Consular Section will then forward your request to the appropriate USCIS Office, which will determine if direct filing is warranted.  If direct filing authority is granted, the Paris Consular Section will contact you with the next steps in the immigrant visa process. If USCIS does not approve the direct filing, you will be instructed to submit an I-130 petition through the USCIS Chicago Lockbox, and proceed from Step 1 here.