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US to close Manila immigration office in July

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the permanent closure of its field office in Manila, a move that could slow down the processing of family visa applications, foreign adoptions and citizenship petitions.

According to the USCIS, its Manila office is no longer accepting new applications or petitions as the last day of accepting applications was on May 31, 2019.

Full closure is scheduled on July 5.

USCIS, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, has 23 offices overseas, scattered across Latin America, Europe and Asia, according to the agency's website.

Reuters, citing internal e-mail, reported in March that USCIS is planning to significantly reduce its presence abroad in an effort to shift resources to domestic offices that took some career officials by surprise.

New instructions

Meanwhile, beginning June 3, USCIS said individuals who were previously assisted by its Manila office must follow the new filing instructions:

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: File your petition by mail with the USCIS lockbox facility in Chicago. You can find additional filing information on the Form I-130 web page. USCIS may authorize the Department of State to accept a petition filed with a U.S. Embassy or consulate in some limited circumstances (PDF, 61 KB).

Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (for Widow(er) petitions only): If you are a widow(er) of a US citizen, please see the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant page for the most current filing instructions. You may file your Form I-360 at the US Embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over the area where you live.

Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation): If you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who has lost your LPR card and/or re-entry permit and you need travel documentation to return to the US, you can file your Form I-131A with any U.S. embassy consular section or USCIS international field office.

Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status:  Submit your Form I-407 to the nearest USCIS international field office. In rare circumstances, a US Embassy or US Consulate may allow you to submit a Form I-407 in person if you need immediate proof that you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status.

Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition: You must file your petition with the Nebraska or Texas Service Center, depending on where the petitioner lives in the United States. For beneficiary interviews/processing, contact the US embassy consular section in the country where the beneficiary resides.

Form N-400, Application for Naturalization: If you are a member of the US military stationed overseas, please see the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, page or call 800-375-5283 for the most current filing instructions. USCIS will forward the application to the appropriate international field office for processing. For qualified children of active-duty service members stationed abroad, the proper form to file is the N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322.

Filipino World War II Veterans Parole (FWVP) Program: You must file your petition with the USCIS lockbox facility in Chicago. If your petition is accepted, it will be forwarded to a USCIS service center for adjudication. If the service center conditionally approves your application, it will forward it to the Department of State’s (DOS) National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will transfer your case to the USCIS office or U.S. embassy or consulate abroad where your beneficiary relative will be interviewed.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Manila will assume responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by USCIS to individuals residing in the Philippines. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News

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