Frequently Asked Questions: Direct Mail Program Adds Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
Q: How will filing N-400 applications directly with a Lockbox improve business processes or streamline the application process?
Q: Is it a cost-saver for USCIS to centralize N-400 processing at Lockboxes and the National Benefits Center (NBC)?
N-400 processing is a multi-step operation that has involved Service Centers around the country, which receive applications from customers within each Service Center’s geographic jurisdictional boundaries. Service Centers have performed fee receipting, data entry, file set-up, required security checks and file staging for numerous Field Offices for many years. Having four centers perform these tasks has led to various inconsistencies due to logistical/space related issues, staffing irregularities and differing interpretations of procedure and policy. All N-400 applications received at a Service Center are ultimately adjudicated at a Field Office where applicants are scheduled for an interview. An operational model requiring four USCIS Service Centers to move thousands of N-400 case files to numerous adjudicating offices has not proven to be the most effective processing model. That is now being changed.
Centralizing the initial processing of N-400s at the NBC increases the efficiency of case management and improves customer service. The NBC will focus on creating and maintaining applicant files, completing national security checks, and various other processing steps. The NBC will also hold all N-400 cases waiting for adjudicative interview. Field Offices will make requests to only one site, the NBC, for cases to be retrieved and mailed in a much more efficient and time-sensitive fashion. Customer inquiries will only travel back to this one site, affording quicker response time and daily resolution for customer inquiries.
Q: How is this change beneficial to the applicant?
Q: How is this change beneficial to USCIS and will this result in improved security?
By implementing a centralized collection and deposit process, USCIS will also benefit from improved financial controls. This will enhance the security related to fee collections and timely deposits and the reporting of financial data.
Q: What steps did USCIS go through to determine centralized processing would result in faster case adjudication?
Q: How will this change impact the staff at the Service Centers who used to process the applications?
Contract personnel responsible for N-400 processing at the four centers will be affected to a certain extent. Contractual understanding has been in place for some time allowing communication, awareness and progressive planning for this transition to occur. Some downsizing may occur at the Service Centers due to this centralization; however, staffing adjustments will be made where possible and on an as-needed basis to continue employment of displaced personnel.
Q: Will the NBC now be responsible for adjudicating N-400 fee waiver requests for cases filed at the Lockbox?
Q: What types of N-400 cases will be filed at the Lockbox and processed by the NBC?
Q: What will the N-400 process be at the NBC?
Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/15/2008