The Standard Spouse Visa Application Process

The vast majority of spouse visa applications globally are processed by USCIS and NVC in the US. As USCIS and the NVC process spouse visa applications filed by visa applicants living all over the world, processing times can be lengthy. Indeed, the processing time for a standard spouse visa application may be up to 18 months, subject to the number of applications in process globally, at the time of filing.

The Expedited Spouse Visa Application Process: Direct Consular Filing (DCF)

In some circumstances, the US Embassy in London has a discretion to accept a spouse visa application for filing, on the basis of exceptional circumstances, if the Petitioner needs to relocate to the US as a matter of urgency. This process is known as “Direct Consular Filing” (“DCF”).

If the Embassy agrees to exercise their discretion to process a spouse visa application, this can reduce the entire spouse visa application processing time to as little as 3 months, from the date the I-130 petition is filed through to visa in hand, if approved.

What Are The Grounds For Filing A Request For Direct Consular Filing?

The US Embassy in London may process a spouse visa application, where a Petitioner demonstrates “exceptional circumstances”.

As it is a discretionary procedure, ANY exceptional circumstances or urgent need to relocate may potentially fall within the scope of Direct Consular Filing.

Some common examples of exceptional circumstances include, inter alia,

  1. US job: A US citizen Petitioner, living in the UK, has received a US job offer from a US based company OR their current employer requires them to relocate to a US office as soon as possible.
  2. Medical emergencies: A Petitioner or Beneficiary is facing an urgent medical emergency that requires immediate travel to the US.
  3. US Military emergencies

In addition to the above:

(a) The US Citizen Petitioner must have the right to reside in the UK, at the time the I-130 petition is filed i.e. the Petitioner must be resident in the UK pursuant to a UK visa, a UK BRP or UK citizenship. A US citizen present in the UK as a tourist will not qualify for DCF.

(b) The US Embassy have no discretion to accept an I-130 for filing, where an I-130 has already been filed through USCIS in the US.

As such, if you are interested in potentially pursuing a request for Direct Consular Filing, we would recommend that you seek legal advice on strategy prior to taking any action, as once an I-130 has been filed through USCIS in the US, DCF is no longer an option.

Successful Direct Consular Filing 

Direct Consular Filing is at the discretion of the Embassy and, as such, it is imperative that the request for Consular Processing is well drafted, compelling, persuasive and watertight and meets all legal requirements, to ensure the best prospects of success.

At Davies Legal Immigration, we are delighted to confirm that we have a 100% success rate in filing requests for Direct Consular Filing and, indeed, we have a 100% success rate in filing spouse visa applications generally although, per the New York Bar disclaimer, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

If you wish to discuss your case with an attorney to identify if there are any grounds upon which a request for Direct Consular Filing could be filled, please feel free to contact us, for a free, no obligation consultation with an attorney. 


Davies Legal Immigration

At Davies Legal Immigration, we represent clients in connection with all types of US immigration. We provide a comprehensive service, including clear and concise advice from the outset, a pragmatic approach and efficient working practices. We understand the importance of our cases to clients and adopt a well-reasoned, diligent approach, in order to maximize your prospects of success. Call now to speak to a licensed US immigration attorney and obtain a free, no obligation quote.


Published: 20th November 2023

Filed under: Immigrant Visa, Marriage, Spouse visa