Philippines U.S. Immigration Office to Close

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (Homeland Security) announced early in March 2019 that it will permanently shut down some 23 USCIS offices worldwide in an effort to alleviate the backlog of more than 800,000 immigration refugee applications inside the U.S.

Meanwhile, In the Philippines…

The USCIS has since announced that it will close its field office in Manila beginning July 5, in line with the Trump administration’s plan to reduce its presence abroad.

Some of the services that were provided by this office included application acceptance and filing assistance in:

  • Americans who want to bring relatives to the United States
  • Processing refugee applications
  • Enabling overseas citizenship applications
  • Assisting U.S. citizens who want to adopt foreign children.

The new filing instructions and additional information for the services above that were previously provided by the Manila field office can be found on the USCIS website.

From what I read, the USCIS Manila field office has announced that it already began redirecting Forms I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to the USCIS Lockbox on May 14, 2019, to the consulate in Chicago. All other form submissions in the future should be sent to the U.S. Embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over the area where one lives, or per the USCIS website.



Filipino Travel Visas….

Once the USCIS field office officially closes, the U.S. Embassy in Manila will assume the responsibility for certain limited services previously provided by USCIS to individuals residing in the Philippines and includes Visa entry services and U.S. Citizen immigration assistance.

America First?

The decision by the Trump administration’s Homeland Security to close multiple offices worldwide were was mentioned in part based upon a reduction in demand for its services.  Administration officials also defend that the decision will allow them to “shift resources to slash backlogs in the United States,” estimating another benefit of cost savings in the millions of dollars per year.

As Trump continues to get blamed for the current immigration crisis along the southern border, I think this is just another “America First” move that is designed to re-allocate much needed human resourses to where they need to be which will also ultimately save the country millions of dollars.

Among some of the 23 countries identified to lose their US immigration offices are Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Italy, India, the Philippines, and China.

The decision to shut down these offices worldwide was announced by Homeland Security in March 2019 and has drawn the ire of international organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights First claiming it would mean fewer services for refugees. They also claim that the closure of these immigration offices will result in delaying the processing of family visa applications, foreign adoptions and citizenship petitions from members of the military stationed abroad, although U.S. Embassies in these countrys will be there to assist U.S. citizens.

About the author: Arel (Filipino for R.L.) first arrived in the Western Pacific in 1974, and has been coming and going ever since. He and his filipina wife of 33 years moved to the Philippines in 2013 and now share residency and travel between the Philippines and the island of Guam. He pulls no punches when he blogs about life, liberty, and happiness under the tropic sun, all the while Living in the Pacific… the Western Pacific – One Day at a Time!

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