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Lockbox Intake Processing Questions and Answers

1.  What happens when an application is sent to the wrong filing location?

The Lockbox facilities forward applications to the correct Lockbox facility.  If the application is not processed by a Lockbox facility, it is returned to the customer. If customers or their representatives have specific cases where this is not happening, please provide details to Lockboxsupport@dhs.gov and we will make any required corrections.

2.  How flexible is USCIS in accepting petitions submitted with an incomplete field on the forms or petitions as long as they have the basic information required to receipt a case, correct signatures and the correct fee?

The Lockbox facilities accept applications with information that is deemed critical to acceptance of the application.  This information is critical because it is used to process our business rules, such as reasons for filing or eligibility categories, and/or it is required by USCIS case management systems. In FY 2011, the Lockbox facilities processed over 4.6 million applications and rejected about 9 percent of the applications received.  The most common rejection reasons are that the applications were not signed or the correct fees were not enclosed.

3.  How does one request a fee waiver?

Please see our Fee Waiver Guidance, which includes a link to the Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.  USCIS developed this form to help customers understand the fee waiver process and provide the information needed for such requests.

4.  What is the proper order of documents submitted as part of the application package, and what happens if this order is not followed by the applicant?

For tips on filing applications with USCIS, please see General Tips on Assembling Applications for Mailing and Lockbox Facility Filing Tips.

The Lockbox service provider will assemble each application in the package in the correct processing order before it is scanned; however, we recommend customers assemble their packages in the following order:

  • Check or money order.
  • Form G-1145, Request for e-Notification (if applicable),
  • Form G-28 (if applicable).
  • Form being filed.
  • Supporting documentation.

5.  What do I/we do if we suspect that a document has been lost during the intake process?

If customers or their representatives have any specific cases where they believe something was lost by a Lockbox facility, please provide details by email to Lockbox Customer Support at lockboxsupport@dhs.gov and we will investigate.

6.  What is the step-by-step intake process that occurs once a petition is received at a Lockbox Facility?

The Lockbox Service provider performs the following activities when processing incoming applications:

  • Receive, open, sort and stage mail.
  • Prepare and scan documents.
  • Enter document data in system from scanned images.
  • Accept or reject applications and related fees based on business rules.
  • Balance applications and fees. 
  • Deposit payments to the U.S. Treasury
  • Send receipt notices for accepted applications to the applicant and designated representative.
  • Return rejected applications to the applicant or designated representative.
  • Transmit application data to USCIS and payment data to U.S. Department of Treasury.
  • Send application files to the appropriate USCIS service center or field office for further processing.

    In addition, USCIS-staffed Case Resolution Units adjudicate fee waiver requests and resolve issues with application packages so they can be accepted and sent to a USCIS office for further processing.

    7.  When does the 90-day clock for completing the adjudication of I-765s (Requests for Employment Authorization) start?

    The 90-day rule is based on when the I-765 is received at the Lockbox facility.  This date is on the notice and it is also sent to the USCIS system for tracking.

    8.  What is the process for returning rejected applications/petitions when there is a valid G-28 form (designating an attorney of record) on file?

    A valid G-28 will be respected in all filings.  In such cases, rejected petitions will be returned to the attorney of record, rather than the petitioner/applicant.  Receipt notices for all filings will also be sent to the G-28 attorneys in addition to the petitioner/applicant. However, if applications are received with G-28s that are not valid (e.g. it was not signed), the G-28 will not be honored and all further correspondence will be only with the petitioner/applicant.

    9.  What happens when a customer service email is not responded to by USCIS within a reasonable timeframe? Is there any way to request an expedited response?  

    If USCIS has not responded within the target 5 days, attorneys or representatives should reach out to their USCIS Liaison who can email the Chief, Office of Intake and Document Production directly.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/11/2013