USCIS to Close Moscow Field Office

On February 5, 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is closing its Moscow Field Office on March 29, 2019 [PDF version]. This significant decision continues the drawdown of the U.S. Department of State's (DOS's) and USCIS's immigration processing in Russia [see article]. We will discuss what the closure of the Moscow Field Office means going forward in this article.

The USCIS Field Office in Moscow, Russia, will be closed effective March 29, 2019. It will no longer be open to the public and accepting applications after February 28, 2019. Beginning on March 1, 2019, the USCIS's Athens, Greece Field Office [PDF version] will assume jurisdiction from the Moscow Field Office over immigration matters in the following countries:


With the closure of the Moscow Field Office, “[t]he USCIS Refugee Affairs Division will assume primary responsibility for adjudicating refugee cases presented for interview in the region.”

The USCIS website provided instructions for individuals filing applications on or after March 1, 2019, who would have otherwise filed with the Moscow Field Office. We have excerpted the instructions below for your convenience:

Service/Form Filing Instructions
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

File your petition by mail with the USCIS lockbox facility in Chicago. You can find additional filing information on the Form I-130 Web page.

USCIS may authorize the Department of State to accept a petition filed with a U.S. embassy in some limited circumstances.

Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation) If you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) who has lost your LPR card and/or re-entry permit and you need travel documentation to return to the U.S., you can file your Form I-131A with any U.S. embassy consular section or USCIS international field office.
Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status

Form I-407 may be submitted by mail to the nearest USCIS international field office.

In rare circumstances, a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate without a USCIS international field office may allow you to submit a Form I-407 in person if you need immediate proof that you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status.

Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition

You must file your petition with the Nebraska or Texas Service Center, depending on where you live in the United States.

For beneficiary interviews/processing, contact the U.S. embassy consular section in the country where the beneficiary resides.

Form N-400, Application for Naturalization If you are a member of the U.S. military and are stationed overseas, please see the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization page or call 800-375-5283 for the most current filing instructions. USCIS will forward the application to the appropriate international field office for processing. For qualified children of active-duty service members stationed abroad, the proper form to file is the N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322.

The USCIS added that the limited services provided by the Moscow Field Office to U.S. residents in Russia will generally be assumed by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

The Moscow Field Office serviced a large number of countries, including some with relatively high numbers of individuals seeking U.S. immigration benefits. For this reason, its closure is significant for many applicants. It will be important for individuals with pending cases who may be affected by the closure to determine how the change may affect their applications. In general, those with pending applications with the USCIS should consult with an experienced immigration attorney throughout the process. Regarding the Moscow Field Office closure, an experienced attorney will be able to determine how it affects a particular case and, if necessary, assist an applicant in properly filing his or her forms with the Athens Field Office or with the otherwise appropriate adjudicator.

We will update the website with relevant information about the functioning of Department of State and Department of Homeland Security immigration components in Russia as it becomes available.