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Denise Vanison, Chief, Office of Policy and Strategy

Experience and Achievements

Denise Vanison is the chief of Policy and Strategy. Before coming to USCIS, Vanison practiced immigration law as an associate and partner for more than 18 years at Patton Boggs LLP’s Washington office. She advised multi-national and domestic corporate clients on employment of foreign nationals in the United States, I-9 employment verification and procurement of passports, visas, green cards and U.S. citizenship.

Vanison also served on Patton Boggs’ Management and Executive Committees and was chair of the Pro Bono Committee. As an advocate for pro bono work and community service, she was volunteered at Human Rights First, Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and the Whitman Walker Clinic Legal Services. 

Vanison has served on the board of directors of the Center for Justice and Accountability, and as co-chair of the Board of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.In 2003, Vanison received the Washington Lawyers’ Committee Outstanding Achievement Award in the field of Immigration and Refugee Rights. Vanison was also a volunteer at Francis Junior High School in Washington, D.C., for almost 15 years.


Vanison received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. Vanison was an adjunct professor for a course on immigration law at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, and has been a guest lecturer for a seminar course called “International Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons.” She is also a frequent speaker on immigration and employment verification issues.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/18/2014