The Department of State (DOS) Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) has implemented the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Adam Walsh Act), Public Law 109-248. Both the DOS’s Bureau of CA and the USCIS now mandate that consular posts can no longer accept or adjudicate any Form I-130 petitions for family-based immigrant status that were not adjudicated by USCIS. Rather, the sponsor must file the I-130 with the USCIS office. The new processing guidelines are now in effect. Previously, certain consular posts accepted Form I-130s directly from the petitioner as opposed to requiring the petitioner to file with a USCIS Service Center in the U.S.
Section 402 of the Adam Walsh Act amends INA Section 204(a)(1) to disqualify any petitioner who has been convicted of a “specified offense against a minor” from filing an I-130 immigrant visa petition on behalf of a family member. The Bureau of Consular Affairs and USCIS decided that consular officers do not have access to information about a petitioner’s criminal history, which is a prerequisite to determining whether the petitioner is eligible to file an immigrant visa petition for a family member.