DOS Implements Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act

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.