Recent legislation has led to changes in the procedures American citizens resident abroad will follow if they wish to sponsor an immediate relative (spouse, parent or minor child) for an immigrant visa.

Effective immediately, the immediate relative petition (I-130) must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office responsible for the petitioner's place of residence (that is, the place of residence of the American citizen who is filing the petition). Consequently, consular offices at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide are no longer authorized to accept I-130s, although they will continue to provide information and guidance to American citizen petitioners and their family members. As a result of the new legislation, responsibility for acceptance and approval of immigrant visa petitions rests solely with USCIS. American citizens should submit their I-130 at the USCIS office responsible for their place of residence. The location of these centers is available at

If you filed and received approval for an I-130 petition at the U.S. Embassy in Belize after July 27, 2006, and your file is still within post's control, that file has been forwarded to USCIS. U.S. citizens who are full time residents in Belize should contact Consular Officer Cindy Gregg at 822-4011 for additional information and guidance.

The procedural change may result in a processing delay for some applicants. The Department of State recognizes and sincerely regrets the inconvenience this change may cause.