Chapter 9: Web-Based Customer Information

A. Introduction​

As the web has expanded and evolved, the need to provide customers with timely information and service ​“where they live”​ has remained constant. An increasing number of customers expect to​interact​ with institutions, not only through traditional websites, but also through social media and multimedia. Therefore, USCIS continuously strive​s​ toward a web presence that is built to fully engage its customers and meet their needs in a multi-dimensional and multi-channel format. ​

Social media provides an informal and compact means of communication, but also connects customers with core information and services on the USCIS website. In this way, social media complements the USCIS website and increases ​USCIS’s ​ability to communicate with customers. ​

B. Web-Based Customer Information Tools​

The USCIS website provides customers with the following:​

Timely and accurate information on immigration and citizenship services and benefits offered by USCIS;​

Easy access to forms, form instructions, and other information required to successfully submit applications and petitions;​

The latest news and policy updates;​

Information on outreach events and efforts; and​

Information on ways customers can contact USCIS.​

In addition to USCIS.gov, USCIS also hosts the following sub-sites:​

InfoPass​ (​http://infopass.uscis.gov​)​– Allows customers to make appointments online​

CRIS (​http://egov.uscis.gov​) – Allows customers to check case status, change an address online, locate an office, and complete other tasks​

Citizenship Resource Center (​www.uscis.gov/citizenship​) – Hosts information and resources designed to assist prospective citizens​

Social media tools have​ also become​ an integral part of USCIS’s web presence. At present, these ​tools include:​

Official blog of USCIS, “​The Beacon​”​

USCIS YouTube channel​

USCIS Twitter account​

USCIS Facebook page​

1. USCIS Website​

Redesigned in 2009, ​USCIS’s website​provides customers with access to the most searched and visited pages as well as current news releases, alerts, and other updates. USCIS designed t​he​ website​to accommodate easy navigation to highly trafficked pages directly from the homepage, as well as a logical structure and search capability for easy access to all other pages.​

USCIS make​s​ every effort to provide complete and accurate information on ​USCIS’s website. ​USCIS does its best to correct errors brought to its attention as soon as possible​. When the USCIS webmaster receives notification from the public about a possible error, th​e webmaster ​forward​ the​ notification to the ​d​irectorate or ​p​rogram ​o​ffice responsible for the content in question.​

The ​responsible d​irectorate or ​p​rogram ​o​ffice review​s​ the content and provide​s​ corrections or clarification​s​, if necessary. Both the English language and Spanish language pages ​are​ updated at the same time as appropriate. ​USCIS ​d​irectorates and ​p​rogram ​o​ffices that submit content ​for​ post​ing​ on the USCIS website are responsible for notifying ​the Office of Communications (OCOMM) ​when there are changes to that information. ​

2. USCIS Blog,​The​ Beacon​

USCIS uses ​The Beacon​ to communicate with customers and stakeholders. ​OCOMM ​serves as the executive agent for The Beacon and controls who at USCIS has access to make changes to the blog. ​

The Beacon ​was created to foster an ongoing dialogue regarding the immigration and naturalization process in the United States. Readers are encouraged to provide USCIS with comments, ideas, concerns​,​ and constructive criticism. ​USCIS appreciates and considers comments received on The Beacon, especially as to how USCIS might improve its web presence and better serve customers. ​

The DHS privacy policy​ [1] See the DHS Website Privacy Policy. and Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)​ [2] See the DHS Privacy Resources for the DHS PIA “Use of Social Networking Interactions and Applications.” govern USCIS’s use of this blog from a privacy perspective. ​Any information posted on The Beacon is available to the person posting and to any and all users of The Beacon who are able to access the public-facing side of the account​.​

To protect privacy, readers of ​The Beacon​ who submit comments to blog posts should not include their full name, phone number, email address, Social Security number, case-number, or any other sensitive ​personally identifiable information​ (PII)​ in their submissions. Comments including this information will not be posted.​

Further, USCIS may share information posted on The Beacon if there is a demonstrated need to know, and only post​s​ information after it has been appropriately approved and vetted by OCOMM.​T​he​ Beacon is a moderated blog​. ​USCIS review​s​ all reader comments submitted before posting. ​


​USCIS does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by persons on this blog is correct and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. USCIS may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for any comments posted on The Beacon by any other person. The views expressed on the site by commentators do not reflect the official views of USCIS or the U.S. Government.


​USCIS recognizes that the web is a
“​24/7​”​ medium, and comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, ​USCIS ​moderat​es​ and post​s​ comments during regular business hours on Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours, on weekends, or on ​f​ederal holidays ​are​reviewed​and posted as early as possible; in most ​cases,​these comments are posted ​the next business day.​

3. USCIS T​witte​r Account​

USCIS approaches ​its ​Twitter account​ in much the same way as the blog: ​USCIS’s Twitter account ​is another electronic channel that helps USCIS make information and services more widely available to the general public, and promote transparency and accountability​.​

Further, Twitter is used as a tool for short, real-time communication with the public​. ​OCOMM serves as the executive agent for the USCIS Twitter ​account​ and controls who at USCIS has access to ​publish tweets​. ​Like the blog, any​ information posted on the USCIS Twitter ​account​ is available to the ​person​ posting and to any and all users on the USCIS Twitter ​account​ wh​o are able to access the public​ side of the account. ​

USCIS may share information posted on the USCIS Twitter ​account​ if there is a demonstrated need to know, and only post​s​ information after it has been appropriately approved and vetted by OCOMM.​

4. USCIS YouTube ​C​hannel​

Before USCIS launched ​its ​own ​YouTube channel​, many USCIS videos published on USCIS.gov were also available on the DHS YouTube channel​. ​As the number of videos increased, a decision was reached to start a separate USCIS YouTube channel ​for​USCIS-specific content. ​The USCIS channel remains access​ible and searchable through the DHS​ channel.​

Comments and​ video responses posted to the USCIS YouTube c​hannel are subject to YouTube's usage policies​. C​omments are public and available to anyone visiting a ​USCIS​c​hannel or video. To protect ​one’s ​privacy and the privacy of others, ​users should ​not include ​their​ full name​s​, phone numbers, email addresses, ​Social Security​ numbers, case numbers​,​ or any other ​PII​ in comment​s​ or response video​s​.​

USCIS​ doe​s not moderate user comments on its c​hannel prior to posting, but reserves the right to remove any materials ​that pose a security risk​. ​Any opinions expressed on YouTube, except as specifically noted, are those of the individual commentators and do not reflect any agency policy, endorsement, or action​. ​USCIS does not collect or retain comments in ​its​ records. ​

​Use of YouTube, including the posting of comments on this channel, is governed by the YouTube Privacy Policy.
[3] See YouTube Privacy Policy.

5. USCIS Facebook Page​

USCIS social networking web pages welcome comments and postings​. ​USCIS does not moderate comments on ​the​USCIS Facebook page​ prior to posting, but reserves the right to remove any materials that pose a security or privacy risk.​Only ​USCIS​ employees acting in their official capacity are authorized representatives to administer ​a USCIS​ Facebook page​. ​All postings and content are considered property of ​USCIS​, and ​USCIS​ retains the authority to remove or limit its distribution. ​

USCIS ​generally use​s​the ​Facebook page for external relations (​for example, ​communications​, ​outreach​, ​public dialogue) to make information and services widely available to the general public, ​to​ promot​e​ transparency and accountability, ​and ​as a service for those seeking information about or services from ​USCIS.​

DHS ​OCOMM​ serves as the executive agent for ​the ​USCIS​ Facebook page and controls who has and maintain​s​ access.​ USCIS ​may share information on ​the​ USCIS​ Facebook page if there is a demonstrated need to know, and only post​s​ information after it has been appropriately approved and vetted by ​USCIS OCOMM​.​