List of U.S. Consulates in Countries Which Allow Direct Consular Filing (DCF) by Non-Resident Visitor U.S. Citizens and Those Which Do Not

(Current to DECEMBER 2007)

*DIRECT CONSULAR FILING (DCF): WHAT IS IT AND WHICH U.S. CONSULATES DO IT?: Direct Consular Filing (DCF) refers to immediate filing and expedited processing of the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (Immigrant Visa) DIRECTLY at the U.S. Consulate of the foreign citizen's country. It is authorized at certain U.S. Embassies and under certain conditions in accordance with the U.S. State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual. For the precise Consular procedures and protocol concerning "Direct Consular Filing", see 9 FAM PART IV Appendix N, 200 VISA PETITIONS, Foreign Affairs Manual.

Keep in mind that DCF Processing is NOT meant to be taken advantage of as a fast ticket to a "quickie" visa.
A U.S. Citizen has no constitutional right to a "fast" visa for a foreign citizen. Nor should the existence of DCF at some Consulates incentivize people to "consulate-shop" to find a consulate which might accept DCF processing in a given case. Everyone understands of course that a married couple loves each other and wants to be together as quickly and smoothly as possible with minimal or no "red tape" from the U.S. Government. Couples should also understand however that U.S. immigration laws regulate the inflow of foreign citizens for everyone's benefit and must be complied with before a visa can be issued. DCF is strictly a discretionary tool and option with some U.S. Consulates to process certain resident visa petitions. No rules mandate or require any Consulate to undertake this type of processing format. It is done either as a diplomatic courtesy for visiting U.S. citizens, or in some cases as the only available processing method for U.S. citizens who are "residents" of a foreign country, without a current viable U.S. residence. Moreover, before undertaking the DCF format, care must be taken to avoid situations where DCF processing of a case "backfires" resulting in greater delay than if the case were filed in the first place at the appropriate Immigration Office back home in the U.S. This could happen in certain cases because Consular officers are authorized to approve direct-filed petitions, but not to deny them. This means that, under DCF, cases which are "clearly NOT approvable" must be forwarded to the appropriate Immigration Office back home in U.S. for scruntiny and decision, resulting in greater delay. Thus to avoid untimely delays and gross disappointment, you should analyze your case situation, and only submit a DCF if you are sufficiently satisfied that you and your spouse "qualify" for visa, present no unusual background problems or issues, and otherwise present a "clearly approvable" petition with proper supporting documentation.

Furthermore, there are requirements and conditions to DCF at some Consulates. For example, at most locations such as in Venezuela, the Consulate requires that the gentleman U.S. Citizen be a resident of his spouse's home country. Meanwhile, a few other Consulates such as the one in Brazil (before 07/01/05) require only that the gentleman U.S. Citizen physically present the papers to the Embassy. Most Consulates usually also require that the subject marriage be done in the Beneficiary's home country and not elsewhere, that the petitions be filed within a "reasonable time" after marriage, generally 30 to 90 days, that the U.S. Citizen show a permanent address in the U.S. with a "present intention" to reside there with the foreign spouse, and that the Beneficiary Spouse "continuously reside" in the subject country where the petitions will be filed. Some Consulates may be more relaxed than others in some of these requirements, such the U.S. Consulate in Sweden which will allow DCF even for marriages which did NOT take place in Sweden.

However, we are not aware of any general practice whereby the U.S. Consulate in a country will entertain DCF for a husband and wife who are BOTH visitors under a visitor's visa in that country and who married there or in a third country. (A few reports have been made about the US Consulate in Cyprus which may be able in some cases to "pre-process" or pre-approve the decision to accept a DCF filing where the two non-resident visitor parties contacted Consulate beforehand to advise of an impending marriage and request special "pre-process" approval and clearance for DCF filing for good reasons.) (Incidentally, many countries have stringent requirements for two visitors to marry such as Brazil, though others are more lenient, such as Dominican Republic and Cyprus.)

Where DCF is not available at a given Consulate, the remaining option is the K-3 Visa, which is currently processing for most petitioners and at most Consulates at about 6 months. Click Here for K-3 Visa Information with State Department. Click Here for Current Process Times for the K-3 Visa Petition at National Benefits Center. Visa processing times are not meant as a "harrasment" or "nuisance" or "against the public interest" but are simply an implementation of immigration regulations, and a reflection of things such as post 09-11 security clearance checking and current levels of volume, staffing, resources and personnel. See State Department Visa Notice. If a visa petitioner or applicant wishes to file a complaint about the process generally or their case in particular, then contact your Local Congressman or Homeland Security or State Department.

*CAUTION #1 (CONTACT THE CONSULATE PLEASE): It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you contact the U.S. Consulate in question directly to obtain the most current information and procedures. Click Here for List of U.S. Consulates Worldwide. DCF is not offered at all Consulates, and where it is offered, processing times can vary widely, sometimes 2 to 3 calendar weeks to 3 to 4 months or longer, depending on the Consulate in question, the specifics of a given case and the length of mandatory security checks. The DCF procedure at any Consulate can also change or even be withdrawn with little or no advance notice. Further, the current trend appears to be that U.S. Consulates worldwide are pulling back from offering DCF to Non-Resident Visitor U.S. Citizens. For example, U.S. Consulates in Colombia, Peru and Russia have decided to cease offering DCF as an option for Non-Resident U.S. Citizens. While we endeavor to keep this list reasonably current, WE CANNOT GURANTEE THAT AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT THIS LIST IS ALWAYS 100% ACCURATE BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME 300 CONSULATES IN THE WORLD AND THEY CAN AND DO CHANGE THEIR POLICIES OFTEN AND QUICKLY AND WITH ANY ADVANCE NOTICE, AND WE ARE NOT INFORMED OF THEIR POLICY CHANGES ON A MINUTE-BY-MINUTE BASIS. THUS, ANY RELIANCE ON THIS LIST IS ENTIRELY AT THE READER'S OWN RISK.

**CAUTION #2 (NEARLY ALL CONSULATES WILL ALLOW DCF FOR U.S. CITIZENS WHO ARE "RESIDENT" OF THE FOREIGN SPOUSE'S COUNTRY, BUT ONLY A SHRINKING NUMBER ALLOW DCF FOR U.S. CITIZEN WHO ARE ONLY SHORT-TERM VISITORS): This list refers to DCF submitted by Non-Resident Visitor U.S. Citizens who marry in the foreign citizen's home country. By contrast, nearly all U.S. Consulates generally will process DCF submitted by Resident U.S. Citizens of the foreign citizen's home country (or if some extraordinary situation exisits.) See Explanation on U.S. State Department Website. One such Consulate example of DCF for Resident U.S. Citizens is the U.S. Consulate in New Delhi, India. "Residency" is a mixed question of law and fact, and usually requires a permanent home address, physical presence for a given time (which some Consulates such as Bogota suggest is at least 6 months), daily living activity such as paying of local taxes and sometimes possesion of a host country resident visa or other long term visa. Contact the U.S. Consulate in question for more specifics on what is required for the U.S. Citizen to legitimately "qualify" as a resident of the foreign spouse's country in order to allow DCF processing at that particular Consulate. Be aware that Consular officers know that some anxious U.S. citizens may sometimes explore artificially "creating" residency in a foreign country to try and qualify for expedited DCF processing. Misrepresentations in the visa process are punishable by fines, imprisonment and other remedies such as temporary or permanent exclusions from entry into the U.S. imposed on your foreign spouse.

Countries with U.S. Consulates Which DO ALLOW DCF by Non-Resident Visitor U.S. Citizens Under the "Usual Scenario" Which is A Local Marriage in the Past Thirty Days in the Foreign National's Home Country Where She or He Resides Continuously. (*If your case does not fall under this pattern, check with the applicable US Consulate directly to assure that they will accept your petition.)
Countries with U.S. Consulates Which DO NOT ALLOW DCF by Non-Resident Visitor U.S. Citizens
as a General Rule Under Normal Circumstances. (Exception: The Consulate has Inherent Discretion to Accept DCF Processing in any given case. Thus, if after contacting the Consulate directly about your situation, and if Consulate represents that it will process your particular case DCF, then under normal circumstances you should be able to rely on the representation. Keep in mind that circumstances and representations are subject to change with little or no advance notice, and thus any reliance is ultimately at the petitioner's risk.
Albania Italy
Intentionly Left Blank United Kingdom
Austria China
Belarus Vietnam
Belgium Ecuador
Brazil (The U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro is the only Consulate in Brazil which accepts and processes the I-130 Petition under DCF. However, as of March 2007, they will only process petitions submitted by a U.S. Citizen who is a Resident of Brazil or under very limited emergency circumstances. Check with the U.S. Consulate in Rio for more information.) Morroco
Bulgaria Canada
Chile Philippines
Colombia: (U.S. Consulate in Bogota has advised that as of July 01, 2003, they no longer accept DCF in routine cases. In unusual circumstances, they may still accept some cases. Contact the Consulate in Bogota for further information.) Thailand
The general rule is that US Consulate will only accept DCF filing of Non-Resident Visitor US Citizens who marry a spouse who is resident of Cyprus, Lebanon or Iran. Other situations will require special "pre-process" approval.
India (*Effective June 01, 2006, Consulate now requires that the USC Petitioner show residency in India to qualify for DCF. For requirements, see: Consulate Website Page. Contact the Consulate directly for more discussion. Click Here for: Marriage Information in India.
Czech Republic Guyana
Denmark Norway
Finland France
Iceland Ghana
Indonesia Mexico
Israel Bolivia
Japan Germany
Kosovo (DCF done in U.S. Embassy at Skopje, Macedonia) Korea
Kuwait Keyna
Latvia Argentina (March 20, 2007)
Lithuania (DCF done at U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland) Pakistan
Malaysia Egypt
New Zealand Venezuela
Nigeria (*Ceased DCF for USC Non-Residents as of 2003) Russia
*Peru: (U.S. Consulate has advised that as of March 01, 2003, they no longer accept DCF in routine cases. In unusual circumstances, they may still accept some cases. Petitions are filed at USCIS Immigration Office in Lima, Peru in Embassy Bldg. Contact the Consulate in Lima, Peru for further information.) Romania
South Africa Netherlands
Spain (Ceased DCF for Non-resident US Citizens after 07/01/03) All Carribean countries
Syria: (If Spouse & Child are residents for 12 months, and marriage took place in Syria or Lebanon.) Jordan
Sweden Spain (Ceased DCF for Non-resident US Citizens after 07/01/03)
Switzerland Costa Rica
American Institute in Taiwan) (American Institute in Taiwan will process the I-130 Petition in Taipei.) Australia*(Changed their policy and will now only accept Direct Processing of the Family-Based I-130 Petition in cases where the Petitioner is a resident and physically resides in the country for at least 6 months.)
Turkey (Consulate in Ankara will process U.S. Citizen petitions for spouses and children in Turkey and Iran.)
Nepal (Petition may be filed at U.S. Consulate in Katmandu, but will be processed at New Delhi, India, provided that the marriage is state-registered. Reported time frame is approx. 90 days).

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Gary Bala, USA Immigration Attorney.