Immigration Services Officer
Job Title: Immigration Services Officer
Location: San Fernando Field Office, California
An Immigration Services Officer (ISO) in a field office interviews applicants for immigration benefits such as getting a Green Card or for naturalization. An ISO must have interpersonal skills and excellent attention to detail. Ensuring that the right benefit goes to the right person is important: the decisions an ISO makes every day can have an impact not just on the applicant but also on the United States.
How did you come to USCIS?
I was seeking a position in the law enforcement field but, with a recent injury, I was limited to positions I could obtain. I was informed by a family member that USCIS had openings for Immigration Services Officers, and after reading the description I felt I would be well suited for the position.
At the San Fernando Field Office, I have had the opportunity to be the Mandamus Officer, which means I adjudicated cases pending with the federal court. Currently, I’m part of the complex case resolution team, where I adjudicate various forms of immigration applications that are highly sensitive and complicated.
Beyond my adjudicating duties, I was offered the opportunity to be a Local Security Officer as a collateral duty for the office. As an LSO I’m able to address security concerns that arise on a daily basis, which gives me a better understanding of the operations of a field office.
Tell us more about your field office.
The San Fernando Field Office is the newest office within the Los Angeles District. This office is still in its infancy, so we have had to develop new methods and approaches. Being a new office also allowed new employees to join the agency, and they have become a great asset to this office. Our management staff has an open door policy: Employees have an opportunity to share ideas and concerns and be an integral part in promoting a quality-driven workplace.
What would you tell people who want to become an ISO?
Flexibility is the key to growth. I would tell people to be ready to learn how to apply immigration laws and policies. Be open-minded to collateral duties because these tend to assist in improving one’s career. Learn to ask for assistance when you are new. There is no better form of learning than from supervisors and veteran officers who have many years of experience.
Tell us something you have learned from your colleagues.
A primary responsibility of an Immigration Services Officer is to interview applicants for benefits. Being a shy individual, it can become uncomfortable when asking sensitive questions. Through shadowing veteran officers and obtaining their feedback, I have learned to curb my shyness by focusing on tactfully asking questions that may be sensitive in nature, but are relevant in order to complete the adjudication process.