Our Los Angeles immigration team of attorneys recently discussed this topic with the USCIS Nebraska Service Center (NSC) Liaison Committee. If a petitioner indicates that the beneficiary of a visa application will apply for the visa abroad at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, on either forms I-130 or I-140, the petition will be transferred automatically to the National Visa Center (NVC) upon approval of the petition.
If the beneficiary later decides that he or she will apply for adjustment of status in the United States, the NVC will automatically transfer the approved I-130 or I-140 to USCIS once the Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status is filed. The I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition is not required when immigrant visa processing is indicated on the I-130 or I-140 petition.
However, if the petition indicates that the beneficiary will apply for adjustment of status in the United States, the petition is automatically transferred to the National Records Center (NRC) upon approval. If the applicant then decides to apply for an immigrant visa abroad, an I-824 must be filed and approved before the petition will be transferred to the NVC.
As the I-824 has a lengthy processing time and requires a fee of $405, it is important to make sure the proper options are checked at the time of filing thee I-130 or I-140 petition.
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