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Closing of USCIS Office in Manila Will Not Adversely Affect U.S. Visa Applicants

Beginning July 5, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office in Manila will be closed. Visa applicants and those who have pending visa petitions were alarmed by this recent development. It is important to note that the processing and issuance of visas will still continue at the U.S. Embassy in Manila through its visa services unit. USCIS and the U.S. Embassy have distinct responsibilities when it comes to immigration.

The USCIS

The USCIS is an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system. USCIS field offices such as the one in Manila handle immigration petitions such as petitions for immediate relatives (I-130), Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status (I-407), among others. The USCIS announced that individuals who were previously assisted in its Manila field offices before June 3, 2019 must follow new filing instructions that may be found on their website (www.uscis.gov).

The U.S. Embassy

The U.S. Embassy is under the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has varying responsibilities in immigration law which include non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas and anti-fraud activities related to the administration of visa issuances among others. The U.S. Embassy handles applications and the issuance of visas.

Both immigrant and non-immigrant visa processing with the U.S. Embassy will continue despite the closure of the USCIS office. General information about the U.S. Embassy Manila is available on the embassy’s website (https://ph.usembassy.gov).

(Atty. Lourdes Santos Tancinco, Esq. is an immigrant advocate and a principal partner at the Tancinco Law Offices, a San Francisco CA based law firm. She may be reached at 1 888 930 0808, law@tancinco.com , facebook.com/tancincolaw, or through her website www.tancinco.com)

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