A little known policy has allowed U.S. citizens to petition for their immediate relatives (spouse, parent, minor child) more quickly than with normal processing. On May 14, 2012, USCIS issued a policy memorandum which allows the Embassies and Consulates, which are part of the U.S. Department of State (DOS), to accept an I-130 immigrant petition in certain circumstances and adjudicate it there instead of requiring the petitioner to first file the petition in the United States. This is critical because USCIS is taking more than six months to adjudicate I-130 petitions, whereas an Embassy or Consulate might just take a few weeks! Additionally, because the Embassy or Consulate already has the file, it can issue an immigrant visa (IV) relatively quickly after the I-130 is approved, in cases where a visa number is immediately available. This would mainly impact spouses, parents and minor children of U.S. citizens, who are "immediate relatives" and always have a visa number immediately available.
The Policy Memorandum sets out certain circumstances in which a petitioner can request this process, including but not limited to military emergencies, medical emergencies, threats to personal safety, cases which are close to aging out despite CSPA, where the petitioner has recently naturalized, adoption of a child, or short notice of position relocation, such as when a U.S. citizen living and working abroad receives a job relocation to the United States with very little notice. Our experience has been that, with the proper USCIS authorization for this type of process, it takes just a couple of months to immigrate.