Earlier this year, the USCIS published a controversial Press Release, announcing the planned closure of all 20 of its International Field Offices around the world, including the USCIS London Field Office.

The Press Release sent shockwaves through the international US immigration law community, as USCIS International Field Offices typically offer a quicker filing route for US citizens to file certain types of petition, enabling families to relocate to the US relatively quickly and efficiently, compared with filing through the USCIS in the US. For example, at the time of publication, the current published processing time for an I-130 filed by a US citizen for the benefit of a foreign spouse through the Nebraska Service Center in the US is between 12.5 to 16 months, whereas recently the published processing time for filing the same petition through the USCIS London Field Office was as little as 90 days.

The plans were subsequently revised and on August 9, 2019, the USCIS published a further Press Release, confirming plans to retain 7 USCIS International Field Offices at Beijing and Guangzhou, China; Nairobi, Kenya; New Delhi, India; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Mexico City, Mexico; and San Salvador, El Salvador. The Press Release stated that the remaining 13 USCIS International Field Offices, including the USCIS London Field Office, would close between August 9, 2019 and August 2020.

To date, 5 International Field Offices in Seoul, South Korea, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monterrey, Mexico, Manila, Philippines and Moscow, Russia have ceased operations.

While no date has yet been announced for the closure of the USCIS London Field Office, it is noteworthy that processing times at the USCIS London Field Office have significantly increased in recent weeks and, indeed, on Wednesday October 23, 2019, the following message was posted on their website:

As of Friday, October 18, 2019 , we are processing petitions filed on July 9, 2019. Due to staff shortages and other operational commitments, the I-130 processing is delayed. Individuals should not expect their I-130s to be processed until the 120 day mark.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 16:00 BST.

Is this the beginning of the end of the USCIS London Field Office?

At Davies Legal Immigration, we believe that the decision to close the USCIS London Field Office should be reconsidered and reversed, to enable the office to continue to provide its much valued and much needed service to US citizens based in the UK for many years to come. We will endeavor to keep you updated.

Published: 25th October 2019