Support our mission
 
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Rome closure June 30 will force civilians seeking immigrant visas for family members and active duty service members seeking naturalization to file applications to the United States.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Rome closure June 30 will force civilians seeking immigrant visas for family members and active duty service members seeking naturalization to file applications to the United States. ()

VICENZA, Italy — Civilians who marry foreign nationals in Europe should expect delays obtaining U.S. documentation for their new families following the closure of the U.S. immigration office in Rome, one of the last on the Continent to remain open.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office there stopped taking visa applications as of Friday and is scheduled to close June 30.

The last remaining USCIS office in Europe is in London. That office quit accepting new visa applications in March and will stop taking appointments June 19 before its scheduled closure July 31.

The change will mean applications for immigrant visas have to be filed to a USCIS office in Dallas, then sent to the National Visa Center in Washington, D.C., and back to a U.S. embassy in Europe, where an interview would take place.

When handled at the Rome field office, the process took two or three months, said Karyn Begin, an immigration attorney currently living in Italy who has offices in Germany and Florida. It’s now expected to take at least 10 months, she said, partly because of an application backlog, due to reduced operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you have not planned, your family will not be able to PCS with you,” Begin said. “Quite frankly, if you are not active duty military, the moment you have a relative is the moment you should file.”

Active duty service members seeking such visas are exempt from the new filing procedure. They and their spouses will be able to file at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and have their applications processed there.

The USCIS Rome office closure, one of 15 announced last year, will also affect the timeline for active duty service members seeking U.S. citizenship. They must now file applications with offices in Washington, D.C., or, if based in the Pacific, Guam.

It was announced last year that four overseas military naturalization “hubs” would be set up, at Camp Humphreys, South Korea; Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan; U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany, and Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy. But those offices are open only for one week, four times a year, and are only for final interviews and swearing-in ceremonies.

The Rome immigration office had jurisdiction for Italy, Algeria, Andorra, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Gibraltar, the Vatican, Kosovo, Libya, Macedonia, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia and Western Sahara.

montgomery.nancy@stripes.com Twitter:@montgomerynance

Migrated
author headshot
Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
twitter Email

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up