Chapter 6 - Handling Customer Complaints

A. Submitting Complaints [1]

Customers may file a complaint with USCIS in several ways:

Make a complaint while in a USCIS office by asking to speak to a supervisor

In these situations, a supervisor must be made available to the customer within a reasonable amount of time. The supervisor should take the customer’s name and information about the nature of the complaint. The supervisor should attempt to resolve the issue prior to the customer leaving the office, if possible. 

Submit a written complaint by mail

Written complaints may include handwritten letters, emails, or faxes. [2] 

Contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) directly [3] 

Contact information for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) OIG can be found on both the USCIS website and on the DHS website. OIG contact information must also be displayed in a public area, visible to customers, in every USCIS field office. 

File a complaint with USCIS Headquarters (HQ)

HQ contact information is provided on USCIS’ website. If the complaint is directed to the wrong directorate or program office, the complaint must be forwarded to the appropriate HQ entity. 

Ask to speak to a call center supervisor

If a customer is unhappy with the service he or she received during a call to the USCIS Contact Center, the customer may ask to speak to a supervisor. [4] Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 customer service representatives must transfer the call to a supervisor.

B. Complaints Received

Customers should not be expected to know where to first submit a complaint or how to elevate a complaint if they feel that their issue has not been adequately addressed. Under no circumstances should a customer’s complaint be dismissed or disregarded because the customer did not follow the proper process for filing a complaint. All complaints received must be handled appropriately. 

All complaints should be responded to either by providing a written response to the customer, calling the customer to address the complaint, or verbally addressing the complaint with the customer in situations where the customer submits his or her complaint in person. The response should explain steps taken to resolve the issue. In cases where the complaint cannot be resolved in a reasonable time, the response should acknowledge the receipt of the complaint, when a resolution is expected, and any additional action the customer should take. 

Applicants with complaints about being victimized by a person engaged in the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL) should be directed to USCIS’ website where they can find state-by-state reporting information as well as information on how to report UPIL to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Footnotes


1. [^] This chapter specifically addresses complaints that do not involve egregious or criminal misconduct. For information on the Office of Security and Integrity’s policy on reporting criminal and egregious misconduct, see Chapter 10, Reporting Allegations of Misconduct or Other Inappropriate Behavior [1 USCIS-PM A.10].

2. [^] See Appendix: USCIS Customer Dissatisfaction Terms and Definitions for information on where to send complaints.

3. [^] See Appendix: USCIS Customer Dissatisfaction Terms and Definitions for information on how to contact the OIG.

4. [^] See Chapter 3, USCIS Contact Center [1 USCIS-PM A.3]. 

Appendices

USCIS Customer Dissatisfaction Terms and Definitions

Appendix: USCIS Customer Dissatisfaction Terms and Definitions

USCIS Customer Dissatisfaction Terms and Definitions

Category and Definition

Examples

Who to Contact

Complaint

Any communication received from a customer expressing dissatisfaction with USCIS. Complaints can be categorized as either “case-specific” or “non-case-specific.”

Case-specific complaints directly relate to cases processed by USCIS.Non-case-specific complaints refer to any dissatisfaction with USCIS that does not relate to a specific case.

Case-Specific Complaints

  • Cases outside normal processing times (ONPT)

  • Inaccurate or incomplete responses to case-related inquiries

  • Case processing errors 

  • Confusion regarding a notice or correspondence sent by USCIS

USCIS offices, in-person or by mail. (Addresses can be found at www.uscis.gov, under the “About Us” section.)

USCIS Contact Center toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283

(TTY number: 1-800-767-1833)

Non-Case-Specific Complaints 

  • Rude treatment by USCIS employees or contractors

  • Facility-related issues

  • Difficulty understanding forms, notices, instructions, or other general information

  • Administration of immigration laws or USCIS policies

USCIS offices, in-person or by mail. If at a USCIS office, contact a supervisor. (Addresses can be found at www.uscis.gov, under the “About Us” section.)

USCIS Contact Center toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283

(TTY number: 1-800-767-1833)

Misconduct

Actions of a USCIS employee or contractor that can be considered extreme or outrageous, including, but not limited to, criminal activity. [1]

  • Fraud, corruption, bribery, or embezzlement 

  • Perjury or falsification of documents or information

  • Physical assault or inappropriate conduct

  • Unauthorized release of classified information or unauthorized use or misuse of official government systems

  • Misuse of official position for private gain

  • Theft or misuse of government funds, vehicles, badges, credentials, secure forms, sensitive property, or other property

  • Arrest of an employee or contractor by law enforcement personnel

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG):

  • Phone: 1-800-323-8603;

  • Fax: 202-254-4297; or

  • Mail: DHS, OIG/MAIL STOP 0305, Attn: Office of Investigations -- Hotline, 245 Murray Lane, SW, Washington DC 20528-0305

USCIS Office of Security & Integrity (OSI):

  • Fax: 202-233-2453; or

  • Mail: Chief, Investigations Division, Office of Security and Integrity MS 2275, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 633 Third Street NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20529-2275

Footnotes


1. [^] See Chapter 10, Reporting Allegations of Misconduct or Other Inappropriate Behavior [1 USCIS-PM A.10].

POLICY ALERT - Customer Service

August 26, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance on its standards in customer service.

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