Changing Venue in LGBT I-130 Immigrant Visa Cases

JCS Immigration and Visa has been following changes in immigration procedures and law since the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor V. U.S., struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Our Los Angeles immigration attorneys have been working to establish a procedure for changing the venue for immigrant visa processing in cases where the safety of the applicant or beneficiary may be at issue of he or she is made to return to his or her home country to appear for an interview.

 Gay Married Couple


This issue was raised at a recent meeting with the Department of State (DOS). The DOS stated they understood the issues facing LGBT applicants who fear returning to their home countries and was quick to act by reaching out to their National Visa Center and providing the following solution to our Los Angeles Immigration lawyers.

1. File the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative as you normally would by designating the consular post in the beneficiary's "Home" country;

2. Once the I-130 petition is approved and the case is transferred to NVC and an NVC receipt notice is issued, email the NVC at and provide the following information in the body of the email:

  • NVC Case Number;
  • Principal applicant's name and date of birth;
  • Family-based petitioner's name and date of birth;
  • If the visa petition is employment-based, include the petitioning employer's company or organization name.

3. In the email body, provide an explanation as to why the applicant is afraid or unable to travel to the "home" country. Include as much information as possible but note that the credible fear does not have to equal that of an asylum case.

4. Once you have established the argument for a change of venue, suggest up to 3 alternative Embassies/Consulates, in order of preference, where you would like the applicant to apply. When choosing alternate venues, keep in mind that the applicant may need a visa to travel to certain countries based on their nationality.

5. NVC will then contact the designated posts, provide the information forming the basis for the change of venue and ask if they will take jurisdiction over the case. Some Consulates may be unable to due to workload.

6. Once a post confirms that it will take jurisdiction over the case, NVC will advise you accordingly and will note it in the beneficiary's A file so that it is transferred to the appropriate consular post prior to the interview.

If you required assistance with your case, please contact our experienced LGBT lawyer now for a FREE consultation.

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