Citizenship applications to continue despite planned USCIS Manila office shutdown

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2019 01:17 PM

FILE PHOTO: Members of the US Marine corps roll the American flag after the Philippines-US amphibious landing exercise (PHIBLEX) closing ceremony inside the Philippine Marines headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 11, 2016. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA - The processing of international adoptions and US citizen visa applications would not be disrupted despite the planned closure of several United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices, including the one in Manila, an official from the agency said.

Some of the USCIS's tasks would be shifted to the State Department starting next year as the US government under President Donald Trump seeks to significantly reduce its immigration desks abroad.

"USCIS operations will continue undisrupted, including the processing of international adoptions and applications from US service members seeking to become US citizens," the USCIS said in an email to state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) last month.

"State Department would provide certain limited immigration services, as they are already doing in many locations where USCIS does not have a presence," the agency said, noting that visas are issued by the State Department and not the USCIS.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington has yet to assess how the planned shutdown of the citizenship and immigration office in Manila would affect Filipinos with pending petitions.

"This proposal is still in the preliminary stages and we wish to defer our comments until more details come out of subsequent discussions," Darell Artates, public diplomacy officer at the embassy, told PNA.

The USCIS, an office under the US Department of Homeland Security has 23 offices in Latin America, Europe and Asia, according to the agency's website.