U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has historically maintained International Offices in countries around the globe as part of the International Operations Division, a component of the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate. In addition to providing services to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and certain other individuals visiting or residing outside the U.S. who need immigration assistance, officers of the International Operations Division also take on the charge of reuniting families, enabling the migration of adoptive children to join permanent families in the U.S., considering parole requests from individuals outside the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, and providing information services and travel documents to individuals around the world.

However, citing aims to increase efficiencies and deduce backlog, USCIS recently announced plans to close 13 international field offices and three district offices between now and August 2020. The agency recently shuttered operations at Moscow, Russia in March; at Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in June; and at Manila, Philippines in July. The next batch of closures will occur in Seoul, South Korea and Monterrey, Mexico at the end of September. USCIS has also indicated that effective September 1, 2019, the Seoul Field Office will no longer process Form N-400, Form N-600, or Form N-600K applications for overseas military personnel and qualifying family members. As of that date, the Guam Field Office will overtake those case responsibilities, and USCIS officers from the Guam Field Office will travel to Asia Pacific locations as necessary. Individuals with new cases following the Seoul office closure will need to review the USCIS filing instructions for each form to confirm the appropriate USCIS facility where their application should be filed. Form N-400, Form N-600, and Form N-600K cases still pending when the Seoul office closes will be transferred to the Guam Field Office to complete processing, and USCIS is to provide Form I-797C Notices of Action for impacted cases.

Additional closures will be implemented on a staggered basis over the next year. USCIS indicates that many of the in-person functions now being performed by its international offices will be transitioned to the Department of State. Amidst the closure announcements, USCIS has confirmed it will maintain international field offices in Beijing and Guangzhou, China; Nairobi, Kenya; New Delhi, India; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Mexico City, Mexico; and San Salvador, El Salvador.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.