Petitioners residing in Australia must file their Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lockbox facility in Chicago.
USCIS may authorize the Department of State to adjudicate their case in certain emergency situations:
- A U.S. service member stationed overseas becomes aware of a new deployment or transfer with very little notice.
- A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an urgent medical emergency that requires immediate travel.
- A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an imminent threat to personal safety.
- A beneficiary is within a few months of aging out of eligibility.
- The petitioner and family have traveled for the immigrant visa interview, but the petitioner has naturalized and the family member(s) require a new, stand-alone petition.
- The petitioner adopted a child and there is an imminent need to leave the country.
- A U.S. citizen petitioner, living and working abroad, receives a job relocation within the same company or subsidiary to the United States, or an offer of a new job in the United States with very little notice.
Petitioners residing in Australia who believe that their situation qualifies as an emergency may request an exemption to allow a U.S. Consulate General in Australia to accept the filing. Each request will be evaluated individually by a Consular officer. The petitioner is required to follow the steps below:
- Provide a detailed explanation of why their case merits an exception and include any paperwork in support of this.
- Provide a copy of the signed I-130.
- The petitioner must provide appropriate evidence that they have permission to reside in the consular district, or if he/she is member of the U.S. military stationed in the country, a copy of the petitioner’s orders.
- Each request will be evaluated individually.
- The petitioner should email:
If your exemption request is approved, the petitioner will need to attend an interview with a Consular Officer to personally submit the I-130, supporting documents and pay the fee. If approved, the applicant will then be required to apply and qualify for the immigrant visa in Sydney. This process could take an additional two to four months from the date of the petitioners’ appointment.