USCIS Policy Manual

Current as of January 16, 2019

Volume 1 - General Policies and Procedures

Part A - Customer Service

Chapter 1 - Guiding Principles

A. Purpose

USCIS’ customer service policy goals are to:

Achieve excellent customer service each time USCIS interacts with its customers.

Ensure the delivery of accurate, useful, and timely information to USCIS customers.

Identify issues and provide solutions to enhance consistency and to increase customer confidence.

Provide USCIS employees and contractors with clear and concise customer service guidance and standards.

USCIS will ensure its employees have the knowledge and tools needed to administer the immigration laws and policies with professionalism. USCIS will ensure educational and case-specific information is accessible, reliable, and accurate.

B. Core Principle

Meeting customer service expectations can be challenging. The performance of agency duties inevitably means that some customers will be disappointed if their cases are denied. Good customer service means that everyone USCIS affects will be treated with dignity and courtesy regardless of the outcome of the decision. USCIS will not approve a benefit unless all eligibility requirements have been met. Similarly, USCIS will not approve a benefit until all national security and public safety concerns have been appropriately addressed.

USCIS will approach each case objectively and adjudicate each case in a thorough and fair manner. USCIS will carefully administer every aspect of its immigration mission so that its customers can hold in high regard the privileges and advantages of U.S. immigration.

C. Governing Principles

The following principles will govern every action USCIS takes:

1. Respect

USCIS will demonstrate respect for its customers. USCIS will be responsive to customers’ inquiries and provide information and services that demonstrate courtesy and cultural awareness. Through its service, USCIS will be an example of how to treat customers with respect, courtesy, and dignity.

2. Competency

USCIS will provide employees with the comprehensive training necessary to perform their duties. Employees will diligently seek facts through appropriate resources to ensure that customers receive thorough, accurate information and decisions.

3. Consistency

USCIS will administer the immigration laws, regulations, and policies in a consistent manner.

4. Confidentiality

USCIS will comply with all applicable federal privacy and confidentiality laws and policies. USCIS will utilize all available measures to safeguard records that may contain sensitive personal information.

Chapter 2 - Delivery of Services

A. Responding to Customer Inquiries

Inquiries to USCIS may come from different sources and in various formats, but they all have one thing in common: the person making the inquiry has a question or concern and is reaching out to USCIS for a response or resolution.

All inquiries should be reviewed with the goal of First Contact Resolution,” that is, giving an accurate and complete answer the first time to eliminate the need for a subsequent inquiry about the same issue.

Once USCIS determines that the inquiry is not a complaint, the inquiry is resolved either through standard processing or special handling. [1] See Chapter 6, Handling Customer Complaints [1 USCIS-PM A.6].

1. Standard Processing

Most customer inquiries are routine, requesting general information or general assistance. These inquiries can be successfully resolved by regular procedures that are established for daily business operations. Such inquiries do not contain unusual circumstances which may require special handling.

2. Special Handling

Inquiries that contain unusual circumstances may require deviation from regular procedures to obtain proper results. An employee who receives such an inquiry should determine which of the following options should be used to process the inquiry:

Inquiries Not Within USCIS’ Jurisdiction

In situations where USCIS receives an inquiry that falls under the jurisdiction of another agency or department, USCIS redirects the inquiry as appropriate and provides the contact information of the correct agency or department to the customer.

Expedite Processing

Urgent situations that require accelerated processing should be expedited. Expedite cases may require the use of alternate procedures to ensure a rapid resolution.

B. In-Person Contact

There are a variety of ways in which customers can communicate in person to USCIS with any questions or concerns they may have:

1. InfoPass [2] For more information on InfoPass, see Chapter 4, Infopass [1 USCIS-PM A.4].

USCIS provides a free service called InfoPass that allows customers to schedule an appointment with USCIS through the internet. [3] See the USCIS website for information on InfoPass. Whenever possible, customers or their representatives who reside in the United States (domestically) should use InfoPass to schedule appointments if they would like to discuss their cases in person at their local USCIS field office. Customers and their representatives may also use InfoPass to cancel or reschedule appointments.

Customers residing overseas should review the International Immigration Offices overview page to determine which office has jurisdiction over their country of residence and information on scheduling appointments. [4] See the USCIS website for information on International Immigration Offices.

2. Community Outreach Events

USCIS engages in community outreach programs to educate and increase public awareness, increase dialogue and visibility, and solicit feedback on USCIS operations. During outreach events, USCIS employees do not respond to case-specific inquiries. Customers asking case-specific questions at outreach events should be directed to submit their inquiry through appropriate channels.

C. Telephonic Inquiries

Customers may contact USCIS by phone:

1. USCIS Contact Center Inquiries

For the convenience of its customers located within the United States (and territories), USCIS provides a toll-free telephone number answered by the USCIS Contact Center.

USCIS Contact Center: 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf or hard of hearing: 1-800-767-1833) [5] See Chapter 3, USCIS Contact Center [1 USCIS-PM A.3].

2. International Customers

Customers located outside of the United States should contact the overseas office with jurisdiction over their place of residence. USCIS provides a complete listing of jurisdictions and overseas field offices and their phone numbers. [6] A complete listing of jurisdictions, overseas field offices and their phone numbers can be found in the USCIS website’s International Immigration Offices page.

3. Military Help Line


USCIS has established a toll-free military help line exclusively for members of the military and their families. USCIS customer service specialists are available to answer calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (CST), excluding federal holidays. After-hours callers receive an email address that they can use to contact USCIS for assistance.

Military Help Line: 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645)

4. Premium Processing Line

USCIS has established a special phone number and email address for each service center. These special communication channels are available only to Premium Processing Service customers. [7] See the USCIS website for more information on Premium Processing Service. See Request for Premium Processing Service (Form I-907).

Premium Processing Line: 1-866-315-5718

5. Hague Adoptions Line

USCIS has established a toll-free line for questions about adoptions from Hague Convention countries. [8] See the USCIS website for more information on the Hague Process.

Hague Adoptions Line: 1-877-424-8374

D. Correspondence

Customers may contact USCIS by mail:

1. Traditional Mail

General mailing addresses are publicly available to allow the submission of applications and petitions, responses to requests for evidence, or customer Service Requests in a hard copy format. [9] A Service Request is a tool that allows the customer to place an inquiry with USCIS for certain applications, petitions, and services. Service Requests may also be submitted through the USCIS Contact Center or online. Dedicated mailing addresses are available, as appropriate, to aid specific USCIS processes. Mailing addresses are available at the Find a USCIS Office page on the USCIS website.

2. Email

USCIS Service Centers

USCIS service centers provide designated email boxes for customers to inquire about their pending or adjudicated petitions or applications. The email addresses for the service centers are as follows:

California Service Center: csc-ncsc-followup@dhs.gov

Vermont Service Center: vsc.ncscfollowup@dhs.gov

Nebraska Service Center: ncscfollowup.nsc@dhs.gov

Texas Service Center: tsc.ncscfollowup@dhs.gov

Prior to submitting an inquiry to one of the service centers’ email addresses, the customer must have called the USCIS Contact Center to submit a Service Request. If the customer has not received a response within 15 days of the call to the USCIS Contact Center, then the customer may submit an inquiry to the service center where the case is pending.

Any email submitted to a service center must include the Service Request reference number provided by the USCIS Contact Center at the time the Service Request was created. If the customer has not received a response within 21 days of the email to the service center, the customer may contact the USCIS Headquarters Office of Service Center Operations. [10] The customer may contact the USCIS Headquarters Office of Service Center Operations by emailing SCOPSSCATA@dhs.gov.

International USCIS Offices

Each USCIS overseas office has one or more email addresses that are accessible to the public, depending on the type of inquiry. [11] See the USCIS website for information on International Immigration Offices. The USCIS International Operations Division has also activated a public inquiry mailbox for USCIS customers in Canada. The inquiry mailbox, USCIS.Canada@dhs.gov, is monitored and managed by the USCIS Mexico City field office whose administrative jurisdictional responsibilities include Canada.

USCIS officers should use caution when responding to email inquiries requesting case-specific information, as issues of privacy and identity may arise.

3. Facsimile

USCIS does not provide general delivery facsimile numbers. [12] The Verification Division publishes the E-Verify Photo Tool fax number for general public use. USCIS does not publish dedicated facsimile numbers but USCIS offices have the discretion to provide the facsimile number for customers to submit documentation electronically when appropriate to aid in the efficient resolution of a case or as a method to expedite delivery of requested documents or information. Customers should not submit documents via facsimile unless they are specifically asked to do so by a USCIS employee.

4. Service Request Management Tool (SRMT)

The Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) provides USCIS Customer Service staff the ability to record and transfer unresolved Service Requests from customers to the appropriate USCIS service center, domestic USCIS field office, or USCIS asylum office where the customer's application or petition is pending a decision or was adjudicated.

The USCIS office receiving a Service Request should take the necessary steps to communicate directly to the customer about the inquiry or timely relocate the inquiry to another office or organization when appropriate. [13] See Chapter 8, Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) [1 USCIS-PM A.8].

Footnotes

1.

See Chapter 6, Handling Customer Complaints [1 USCIS-PM A.6].

 

2.

For more information on InfoPass, see Chapter 4, Infopass [1 USCIS-PM A.4].

 

3.

See the USCIS website for information on InfoPass.

 

4.

See the USCIS website for information on International Immigration Offices.

 

5.

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

 

6.

A complete listing of jurisdictions, overseas field offices and their phone numbers can be found in the USCIS website’s International Immigration Offices page.

 

7.

See the USCIS website for more information on Premium Processing Service. See Request for Premium Processing Service (Form I-907).

 

8.

See the USCIS website for more information on the Hague Process.

 

9.

A Service Request is a tool that allows the customer to place an inquiry with USCIS for certain applications, petitions, and services. Service Requests may also be submitted through the USCIS Contact Center or online.

 

10.

The customer may contact the USCIS Headquarters Office of Service Center Operations by emailing SCOPSSCATA@dhs.gov.

 

11.

See the USCIS website for information on International Immigration Offices.

 

12.

The Verification Division publishes the E-Verify Photo Tool fax number for general public use.

 

13.

See Chapter 8, Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) [1 USCIS-PM A.8].

 

Chapter 3 - USCIS Contact Center

A. USCIS Contact Center Organization

For the convenience of its customers within the United States, [1] Customers located outside of the United States should direct their inquiries to the overseas USCIS field office with jurisdiction over their place of residence. USCIS provides a toll-free telephone number, which is answered by the USCIS Contact Center. The USCIS Contact Center provides escalating levels of service to handle inquiries of increasing complexity and consists of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and a multi-tiered level of live assistance.

Callers initially have the opportunity to have their questions answered directly by the IVR system. If additional assistance is needed, callers may request live assistance by selecting that option from within the IVR.

Tier 1 Contact Center Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) offer the first level of live assistance. CSRs may be contract employees. CSRs provide basic case-specific and general non-case-specific information to customers. Information provided by Tier 1 will be limited in verbiage and format by informational response scripts that are created and provided by USCIS.

When unable to completely resolve an inquiry, the Tier 1 CSR may transfer the call to the Tier 2 live assistance level to be answered by a USCIS officer.

Customers may, at any time, request to have a call directed to a supervisor.

Inquiries that may need to be resolved by a USCIS domestic field office that physically has the case file require the creation of a Service Request. The Service Request is automatically routed to the USCIS office that can best provide a resolution to the customer inquiry.

For inquiries that may need to be resolved by a USCIS overseas field office that has the hard copy case file, the customer should be referred to the appropriate overseas field office and given that office’s contact information.

B. Levels of Assistance

The following provides additional information regarding the levels of assistance available through the USCIS Contact Center.

1. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

At the start of a USCIS Contact Center call, the customer interfaces with the IVR telephone system, which is a versatile key technology for automating customer access to services.

IVR enables callers to navigate a telephonic recorded menu to reach specific information or assistance.

The IVR system is available to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Live Assistance - Tier 1

Live assistance is available at published times for questions not answered by the IVR system.

After interacting with the IVR, the caller has the option to be transferred to a CSR at the Tier 1 Contact Center.

When unable to completely resolve the customer’s inquiry, the CSR may create a Service Request for the USCIS office that is processing the customer’s case, escalate the call to a Tier 2 USCIS officer, or route the call to a supervisor, as appropriate.

3. Live Assistance - Tier 2

If the customer has spoken with the CSR at a Tier 1 Contact Center and has not been able to obtain a resolution, the call may be escalated to a Tier 2 Contact Center if applicable.

Tier 2 is staffed by USCIS officers with access to applicable USCIS systems. USCIS officers may also escalate callers to a supervisor when necessary.

4. Live Assistance - Tier 2 (Supervisor)

When appropriate, the USCIS officer may escalate the call to a supervisory USCIS officer. Calls will be routed to a supervisor when:

Customer requests to speak to a supervisor;

Customer is unusually upset and believes the proposed resolution is improper; or

The matter requires urgent or expedited assistance by another office to resolve in a timely manner.

A USCIS Tier 2 supervisor has the ability to contact USCIS field offices, asylum offices, service centers, and the National Benefits Center through designated points of contact to address any issues that require immediate action or direct assistance. When appropriate for the situation, a supervisor may:

Verify the information provided to the customer by the USCIS officer.

Directly contact the appropriate USCIS office to determine if any additional options may be available to resolve the caller’s issue (if needed).

Create a Service Request if the issue cannot be resolved by the USCIS Contact Center.

Request that the appropriate office take action to alleviate any unnecessary additional wait times, if the caller’s issue resulted from a USCIS error.

Footnotes

1.

Customers located outside of the United States should direct their inquiries to the overseas USCIS field office with jurisdiction over their place of residence.

 

Chapter 4 - InfoPass

A. InfoPass System

In 2004, USCIS implemented a customer-friendly appointment system called InfoPass in domestic field offices nationwide. The InfoPass system, an Internet-based application, allows customers to self-schedule an appointment to visit a USCIS public information room to speak with an officer on a day and time of their choosing within a two-week timeframe. In addition, many of the USCIS overseas field offices have also recently implemented InfoPass. InfoPass provides USCIS with an efficient and effective method of managing its workload and meeting customer demand. InfoPass is a free service USCIS offers to its customers.

B. Scheduling an InfoPass Appointment

To schedule an appointment, customers should visit the InfoPass page on the USCIS website. Customers who do not have access to a computer may visit a USCIS field office and schedule an appointment at an InfoPass kiosk. USCIS officers may assist customers with creating InfoPass appointments as needed.

The InfoPass scheduling menu provides the option of scheduling an appointment in one of 12 languages:

Arabic;

Chinese;

Creole;

English;

French;

Korean;

Polish;

Portuguese;

Spanish;

Tagalog;

Russian; and

Vietnamese.

Chapter 5 - Privacy and Confidentiality in Customer Service

A. Privacy in Customer Service

1. Background

Broadly stated, the purpose of the Privacy Act is to balance the government’s need to maintain personal information with the rights and protections against unwarranted invasions of privacy stemming from federal agencies’ collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information. [1] See 5 U.S.C. 552a.


​Under the Privacy Act, a federal agency must provide certain protection
s for personally identifiable information (PII) that it collects, disseminates, uses, or maintains. In particular, the Privacy Act covers systems of records that an agency maintains and retrieves by a person’s name or other personal identifier (for example, Social Security number). The Privacy Act requires that privacy information in the custody of the federal government be protected from unauthorized disclosure; violations of these requirements may result in civil and criminal penalties.

2. Application of the Privacy Act in Customer Service

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines PII as any information that permits the identity of a person to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information which is linked or linkable to that person regardless of whether the person is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, visitor to the United States, or a DHS employee or contractor.

Sensitive PII is defined as information which, if lost, compromised, or disclosed without authorization, could result in substantial harm, embarrassment, inconvenience, or unfairness to a person. Some examples of PII that USCIS customer service personnel may encounter include:

Name

A-number

Address

Date of birth

Social Security number

Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship number

USCIS employees have a professional and legal responsibility to protect the PII the agency collects, disseminates, uses, or maintains about persons. All USCIS employees must exercise due care when handling all PII and all information encountered in the course of their work. All USCIS employees processing PII must know and follow the policies and procedures for storing, handling, and sharing PII. Specifically, USCIS employees must:

Collect PII only when authorized;

Limit the access and use of PII;

Secure PII when not in use;

Share PII, only as authorized, with persons who have a need to know; and

Complete and remain current with all PII training mandates.

Providing information to a customer about his or her case often involves releasing information covered under the Privacy Act. It is imperative that USCIS employees and contractors verify the identity of the customer, his or her authorized representative, or both, and ensure that they are entitled to receive case information. USCIS employees and contractors should never release PII over the phone until the identity of the caller and his or her need to know the information have been confirmed.

In addition, written responses to Service Requests or other inquiries are sent to the address of record. If the customer provides an address for a response that is different than the address listed in USCIS systems or in the applicant’s or petitioner’s file, the response should indicate that the customer must update his or her address before USCIS is able to send any correspondence to that address.

3. Congressional and Other Third-Party Releases

Numerous laws, regulations, and policies limit the disclosure of information contained in USCIS files and USCIS data systems. While the Privacy Act is limited to the protection of information regarding a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen, by policy, this protection is extended to all persons. In addition, specific statutory, regulatory, and policy protections may apply to certain cases, such as Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), T, and U cases.

Information from other agencies, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), may be located in USCIS files and systems. This information must not be released in response to an inquiry, although it may be appropriate to refer the inquiry to another agency.

Case inquiries from Congressional offices are covered by guidance provided by the USCIS Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) and any such inquiries must be handled by OLA or a designated congressional liaison in accordance with the OLA Standard Operating Procedures.

Generally speaking, the Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of information subject to the protections of the Act without the consent of the person to whom the information relates. There are enumerated exceptions of the Act that may apply.

One of those exceptions authorizes disclosure to either House of Congress, or any Congressional committee or subcommittee, joint committee, or subcommittee of a joint committee if the matter is within their jurisdiction. For all other requests from members of Congress, such as constituent requests, USCIS requires that a written, signed, and notarized privacy release be obtained from the applicant or petitioner before any information is released.

Similarly, prior to responding to a non-Congressional third-party case inquiry, a written, signed, and notarized privacy release must be obtained from the applicant or petitioner.

4. Requests from Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs)

Information may be shared with other DHS components under the existing DHS information sharing policy, which considers all DHS components one agency. Requests from LEAs outside of DHS should be referred to the Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) supervisor for the office. For requests from federal, state, or local government agency representatives who want to review or want copies of documents from an A-file, USCIS employees should refer to USCIS records procedures regarding outside agency requests for USCIS files.

If an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigator requests information, the USCIS employee should provide the information upon verifying the requestor’s identity. USCIS employees and contractors are also reminded that they must provide prompt access for auditors, inspectors, investigators, and other personnel authorized by the OIG to any files, records, reports, or other information that may be requested either orally or in writing, and this cooperation may not be impeded by supervisors.

B. Maintaining Confidentiality of VAWA, T, and U Cases

1. Background

Applicants and recipients of immigration relief under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) [2] See Pub. L. 103-322 (Sept. 13, 1994). and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 [3] See Pub. L. 106-386 (Oct. 28, 2000). (T and U nonimmigrant status for victims of trafficking and other serious crimes) are entitled to special protections with regard to privacy and confidentiality. The governing statute prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of information about VAWA, T, and U cases to anyone other than an officer or employee of DHS, the Department of Justice (DOJ), or the Department of State (DOS) who has a need to know. [4] See 8 U.S.C. 1367.

This confidentiality provision is commonly referred to as “Section 384” because it originally became law under Section 384 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, [5] See Pub. L. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546, 3009-652 (September 30, 1996). which protects the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes who have filed for or have been granted immigration relief.

Because an unauthorized disclosure of information regarding a VAWA, T, or U case can have significant consequences, it is imperative that USCIS employees maintain confidentiality in these cases. Victims of domestic violence, victims of trafficking, and victims of crimes can be put at risk, as can their family members, if information is provided to someone who is not authorized. Anyone who willfully uses, publishes, or permits any information pertaining to such victims to be disclosed in violation of the above-referenced confidentiality provisions may face disciplinary action and be subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation.

2. Scope of Confidentiality

Duration of Confidentiality Requirement

By law, the confidentiality provisions apply while a VAWA, T, or U case is pending and after it is approved, and ends when the application for immigration relief is denied and all opportunities for appeal of the denial have been exhausted. However, as a matter of policy, USCIS has extended the confidentiality to include denied petitions.

Disclosure of Information

USCIS cannot release any information regarding VAWA, T, and U cases until the identity of the requestor of information is verified and that person’s authorization to know or receive the protected information is verified. Such identity and eligibility verification must be done before responding to any inquiry, expedite request, referral, or other correspondence.

Exceptions for Disclosure of Information

USCIS is permitted to disclose information pertaining to VAWA, T, and U cases in certain, limited circumstances. These circumstances include:

Census InformationDisclosure of information may be made in the same manner and circumstances as census information may be disclosed by the Secretary of Commerce. [6] See 13 U.S.C. 8.

Legitimate Law Enforcement PurposesDisclosure of information may be made to law enforcement officials to be used solely for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

Judicial Review Information can be disclosed in connection with judicial review of a determination provided it is in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the information.

Applicant Waives Confidentiality Adults can voluntarily waive the confidentiality provision; if there are multiple victims in one case, they must all waive the restrictions.

Public Benefits Information may be disclosed to federal, state, and local public and private agencies providing benefits, to be used solely in making determinations of eligibility for benefits. [7] See 8 U.S.C. 1641(c).

Congressional Oversight Authority (for example, Government Accountability Office audits)The Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security can disclose information on closed cases to the chairmen and ranking members of Congressional Committees on the Judiciary, for the exercise of Congressional oversight authority. The disclosure must be in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the information and omits PII (including location-related information about a specific person).

Communication with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) – Government entities adjudicating applications for relief [8] This applies to application for relief under 8 U.S.C. 1367(a)(2). and government personnel carrying out mandated duties under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [9] See INA 101(i)(1). may, with the prior written consent of the foreign national involved, communicate with nonprofit NGO victims’ service providers for the sole purpose of assisting victims in obtaining victim services. Agencies receiving referrals are bound by the confidentiality provisions.

National Security Purposes The Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, or the Attorney General may provide in their discretion the disclosure of information to national security officials to be used solely for a national security purpose in a manner that protects the confidentiality of such information.

3. Providing Customer Service in VAWA, T, and U Cases

When an applicant for VAWA, T, or U benefits requests customer service, USCIS employees must handle the request with care to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

Change of Address

A change of address can be made by submitting a written request with an original signature to the Vermont Service Center (VSC). Applicants with VAWA, T, or U related cases should not use change of address resources online. Instead, these applicants should submit a Change of Address (Form AR-11), or call the USCIS Contact Center to change their address.

If the case has been transferred to a USCIS field office, the VSC transfers the change of address request to the appropriate office. A change of address in VAWA, T, or U cases that has been transferred to a field office can only be made by a supervisor.

An applicant may also appear in person at a USCIS field office to request a change of address. The applicant’s identity must be verified prior to making the requested change. If the case is at the VSC, the field office must also notify the VSC of the change of address.

Telephonic Inquiries to the USCIS Contact Center

As previously noted, the identity of the person inquiring about a confidential case must be verified and that person’s eligibility to receive information must also be verified. Such verification cannot be effectuated telephonically.

C. Asylum, Refugees, Credible Fear Determinations, and Reasonable Fear Determinations

1. Background

Federal regulations generally prohibit the disclosure to third parties of information contained in or pertaining to asylum applications, credible fear determinations, and reasonable fear determinations. [10] See 8 CFR 208.6. This includes information contained in the Refugee and Asylum Processing System (RAPS) or the Asylum Pre-Screening System (APSS), except under certain limited circumstances. As a matter of policy, this regulation is extended to Registration for Classification as Refugee (Form I-590) as well as Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions (Form I-730).

These regulations safeguard information that, if disclosed publicly, could subject the claimant to retaliatory measures by government authorities or non-state actors in the event the claimant is repatriated, or could endanger the security of the claimant’s family members who may still be residing in the country of origin.

Moreover, public disclosure might give rise to a plausible protection claim by the claimant where one would not otherwise exist by bringing an otherwise ineligible claimant to the attention of the government authority or non-state actor against which the claimant has made allegations of mistreatment.

Confidentiality is breached when information contained in or pertaining to an asylum application (including information contained in RAPS or APSS), refugee application, or I-730 petition is disclosed to a third-party in violation of the regulations, and the unauthorized disclosure is of a nature that allows the third-party to link the identity of the applicant to:

The fact that the applicant or petitioner has applied for asylum or refugee status;

Specific facts or allegations pertaining to the individual asylum or refugee claim contained in an asylum or refugee application; or

Facts or allegations that are sufficient to give rise to a reasonable inference that the applicant has applied for asylum or refugee status.

The same principles generally govern the disclosure of information related to credible fear and reasonable fear determinations, as well as to applications for withholding or deferral of removal under Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture, which are encompassed within the asylum application. As mentioned above and as a matter of policy, USCIS extends the regulatory safeguards to include refugee case information as well as Form I-730 information.

In the absence of the asylum or refugee applicant’s written consent or the Secretary of Homeland Security’s specific authorization, disclosure may be made only to U.S. government officials or contractors and U.S. federal or state courts on a need-to-know basis related to certain administrative, law enforcement, and civil actions.

The release of information relating to an asylum or refugee application, credible fear determination, or reasonable fear determination (including information contained in RAPS or APSS) to an official of another government or to any entity for purposes not specifically authorized by the regulations without the written consent of the claimant requires the express permission of the Secretary of Homeland Security.

2. Inquiries Related to an Asylum or Refugee Application or Credible or Reasonable Fear Determination

Information contained in, or pertaining to, any asylum or refugee application must not be disclosed to any third-party without the written consent of the applicant, except as permitted by regulation or at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security. [11] See 8 CFR 208.6.

This includes neither confirming nor denying that a particular person filed:

Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal (Form I-589);

Registration for Classification as Refugee (Form I-590); or

Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition (Form I-730).

USCIS employees should respond to inquiries related to Form I-589, Form I-590, and Form I-730 applications in different ways depending on the inquiry:

Request for Disability Accommodation at an Upcoming Form I-589 Interview

Tier 2 officers may create a Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) request and submit the request to the asylum office with jurisdiction over the pending asylum application. The asylum office then contacts the applicant to arrange for disability accommodation at the interview. While officers must not confirm or deny the existence of a pending asylum application, those making disability accommodation requests for upcoming asylum interviews should be told that the request is being recorded and will be forwarded to the appropriate office for follow-up.

Change of Address Request

Tier 2 officers may create a Service Request and submit it to the asylum office or service center with jurisdiction over the pending asylum application or Form I-730 petition. The office then fulfills the Service Request. While officers must not confirm or deny the existence of a pending asylum application, those making address change requests should be told that the request is being recorded and will be forwarded to the appropriate office.

USCIS Contact Center Status Inquiries for Form I-589 Applications and Form I-730 Petitions

USCIS Contact Center personnel may not respond to any status inquiries, and may not confirm or deny the existence of an application or petition. Instead, USCIS Contact Center personnel should direct the caller to the local office with jurisdiction over the application. The office with jurisdiction over the application must respond to the inquiry.

USCIS Contact Center Status Inquiries for I-590 Applications

USCIS Contact Center personnel may not respond to any status inquiries and may not confirm or deny the existence of an application or petition. Instead, USCIS Contact Center personnel should obtain all relevant information from the inquirer and refer the inquiry to the USCIS Headquarters Refugee Affairs Division (RAD) for response.

Inquiries Regarding Subsequent Applications or Petitions Based on Underlying Form I-589, Form I-590, or Form I-730

Officers may respond to inquiries regarding subsequent applications or petitions that are based on an underlying Form I-589, Form I-590, or Form I-730 (including Application for Travel Document (Form I-131), Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), or Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) applications or petitions). Officers may not confirm or deny the existence of the underlying application.

General Inquiries

USCIS employees may respond to general questions about the asylum program, the U.S. Refugee Admission Program (USRAP), and credible and reasonable fear screenings. [12] Examples of general inquiries include: Who can apply for asylum or refugee status, how to apply for asylum or access the USRAP, bars to protection, whether applicants are eligible for work authorization, number of days it normally takes before an interview is scheduled. However, for all specific case status questions relating to I-589 applications or I-730 petitions, the inquirers must be directed to contact the local asylum office or service center with jurisdiction over the application. For specific case status questions relating to I-590 refugee applications, the inquiry must be referred to RAD for response.

Asylum offices may accept case inquiries from the applicant or the applicant’s attorney or representative with a properly completed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28) on file.

Asylum offices may receive case inquiries in a variety of ways, such as by mail, email, phone, fax, or in person. When it is possible to verify the identity of the applicant or attorney or representative inquiring, offices may respond using any of those communication channels. If it is not possible to verify the identity of the inquirer, asylum offices should respond to inquiries by providing a written response to the last address the applicant provided.

RAD does not respond to inquiries over the phone, but instead asks the inquirer to put his or her request in writing so that the signature and return address can be compared to information on file. RAD responds to an inquiry received by email only if the email address matches the information the applicant submitted to the Resettlement Support Center.

D. Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

1. Background

Like refugee and asylum cases, information pertaining to TPS cases may not be disclosed to certain third parties because unauthorized disclosure of information may put the applicant or the applicant’s family at risk. [13] See INA 244(c)(6). See 8 CFR 244.16.

The law prohibits the release of information contained in the TPS application or in supporting documentation to third parties without the written consent of the applicant. A third party is defined as anyone other than:

The TPS applicant;

The TPS applicant’s attorney or authorized representative (with a properly executed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28) on file);

A DOJ officer, which has also been extended to include a DHS officer following the transfer of certain immigration functions from DOJ to DHS; or

Any federal or state law enforcement agency.

2. Inquiries Related to TPS

USCIS may not release any information contained in any TPS application and supporting documents in any form to any third party, without a court order or the written consent of the applicant. [14] See 8 CFR 244.16 for exceptions.

Status inquiries may not confirm or deny the existence of a TPS application, or whether a person has TPS, until the identity of the inquirer has been confirmed and it has been determined the inquirer is not a third party to whom information may not be released.

USCIS employees must adhere to these same TPS confidentiality provisions regarding the disclosure of information to third parties even if the information is contained in a TPS-related form such as the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), which every TPS applicant must file; a TPS-related waiver requested on Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601); or a TPS-related Application for Travel Document (Form I-131). With respect to confidentiality, employees must treat these records as they do other TPS supporting documentation in the TPS application package.

USCIS employees may respond to general questions about the TPS program. [15] Examples of general inquiries include: Who can apply for TPS, how to apply for TPS, bars to TPS, whether applicants are eligible for work authorization, and the number of days it normally takes to adjudicate an application for TPS. However, for all case-specific questions relating to Form I-821 applications, identity must first be confirmed and eligibility to receive such information must first be established.

Offices must not take or respond to inquiries about the status of a TPS application made by telephone, fax, or email because it is not possible to sufficiently verify the identity of the inquirer. Offices may accept written status requests signed by the applicant (or the applicant’s attorney or representative with a properly completed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28) on file).

3. Exceptions for Disclosure

Information about TPS applications and information contained in supporting documentation can be disclosed to third parties in two instances:

When it is mandated by a court order; or

With the written consent of the applicant.

Information about TPS cases can be disclosed to officers of DOJ, DHS, or any federal or state law enforcement agency since they are not considered third parties. [16] See 8 CFR 244.16. Information disclosed pursuant to the requirements of the TPS confidentiality regulation may be used for immigration enforcement or in any criminal proceeding.

E. Legalization

1. Background

Statutory and regulatory provisions require confidentiality in legalization cases and Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act legalization cases, prohibiting the publishing of any information that may be identified with a legalization applicant. [17] See INA 245A(c)(4)-(5). See 8 CFR 245a.2(t), 8 CFR 245a.3(n), and 8 CFR 245a.21. The laws also do not permit anyone other than sworn officers and employees of DHS and DOJ to examine individual applications.

Information contained in the legalization application can only be used in the following circumstances:

To make a determination on the legalization application;

For criminal prosecution of false statements violations; [18] See INA 245A(c)(6). or

In preparation of certain reports to Congress.

A breach in confidentiality of legalization cases can result in a $10,000 fine.

2. Exceptions for Disclosure of Information

USCIS is permitted to disclose information pertaining to legalization cases in certain, limited circumstances. These circumstances include:

Law Enforcement Purposes

USCIS is required to disclose information to a law enforcement entity in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution, when that information is requested in writing.

Requested by an Official Coroner

USCIS is also required to disclose information to an official coroner for purposes of affirmatively identifying a deceased person (whether or not the person died as a result of a crime).

Census Information

Disclosure of information may be made in the same manner and circumstances as census information may be disclosed by the Secretary of Commerce. [19] See 13 U.S.C. 8.

Available from Another Source

USCIS may disclose information furnished by an applicant pursuant to the legalization application, or any other information derived from the application, provided that it is available from another source (for example, another application or if the information is publicly available).

3. Inquiries Related to Legalization

Case-specific information may be provided to the applicant and the applicant’s attorney or authorized representative (with a properly completed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28) on file) after the inquirer’s identity has been verified. No others are authorized to receive legalization information unless one of the enumerated exceptions to disclosure noted above applies.

F. Special Agricultural Workers (SAW)

1. Background

Material in A-files filed pursuant to the SAW program is protected by strict confidentiality provisions. [20] See INA 210. This pertains to the 1987-1988 SAW program. The statute provides that the employee who knowingly uses, publishes, or permits information to be examined in violation of the confidentiality provisions shall be fined not more than $10,000. In general, USCIS may not use information furnished by the SAW applicant for any purpose other than to make a determination on the application, for termination of temporary residence, or for enforcement actions relating to false statements in applications. [21] See INA 210(b)(7). The applicant may not waive the confidentiality provisions and they even survive the death of the applicant.

2. Exceptions for Disclosure and Use of Information

It is appropriate for DHS and DOJ employees to have access to SAW material. The materials are subject to the above mentioned penalties for unlawful use, publication, or release. USCIS is permitted to disclose information pertaining to SAW cases in certain, limited circumstances. These circumstances include:

Law Enforcement Purposes

USCIS is required to disclose information to a law enforcement entity in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution, when that information is requested in writing.

Requested by an Official Coroner

USCIS is also required to disclose information to an official coroner for purposes of affirmatively identifying a deceased person (whether or not the person died as a result of a crime).

Criminal Convictions

Information concerning whether the SAW applicant has at any time been convicted of a crime may be used or released for immigration enforcement or law enforcement purposes.

3. Inquiries Related to Special Agricultural Workers

In general, it is permissible to disclose only that an applicant has applied for SAW and the outcome of the adjudication. Case information may be provided to the applicant and the applicant’s attorney or authorized representative (with a properly completed Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28) on file) after the inquirer’s identity has been verified. No others are authorized to receive SAW information unless one of the enumerated exceptions to disclosure noted above applies.

G. Nonimmigrants under S Visa Category

Nonimmigrants under the S visa category are foreign national witnesses or informants. An S nonimmigrant is not readily identified in USCIS systems. However, if a USCIS employee discovers that a customer is an S nonimmigrant or has applied for such status, the case must be handled carefully. Inquiries regarding an Interagency Alien Witness and Informant Record (Form I-854) as well as inquiries regarding an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) filed on the basis of being a principal nonimmigrant witness or informant in S classification, and qualified dependent family members should come from a law enforcement entity. [22] See 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(21).

If a customer makes an inquiry regarding the status of a Form I-854 or a Form I-765 filed as an S nonimmigrant, the USCIS employee must neither confirm nor deny the existence of such applications and should inform the customer that inquiries on these applications must be submitted through appropriate law enforcement channels.

Also, under no circumstances may USCIS employees ask questions about the S nonimmigrant’s role in cooperating with law enforcement, the type of criminal activity for which the nonimmigrant is an informant or witness, or any specific information about the case in which the S nonimmigrant may be involved.

H. Applicants in the Witness Security Program

Applicants in the Witness Security Program (commonly known as the Witness Protection Program) are not identifiable in USCIS systems. Such applicants should not tell anyone, including USCIS employees, that they are participants in the program. Identities of foreign nationals in the program must be in separate immigration files. However, one file will have documentation of a legal name change.

If an applicant indicates that he or she is in the Witness Security Program, the applicant should be referred to the U.S. Marshals Service. Also, under no circumstances should USCIS employees ask questions about why or how the applicant was placed in the Witness Security Program or any specific information about the case which resulted in the applicant being placed in the Witness Security Program.

Footnotes

1.

See 5 U.S.C. 552a.

 

2.

See Pub. L. 103-322 (Sept. 13, 1994).

 

3.

See Pub. L. 106-386 (Oct. 28, 2000).

 

4.

See 8 U.S.C. 1367.

 

5.

See Pub. L. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546, 3009-652 (September 30, 1996).

 

6.

See 13 U.S.C. 8.

 

7.

See 8 U.S.C. 1641(c).

 

8.

This applies to application for relief under 8 U.S.C. 1367(a)(2).

 

9.

See INA 101(i)(1).

 

10.

See 8 CFR 208.6.

 

11.

See 8 CFR 208.6.

 

12.

Examples of general inquiries include: Who can apply for asylum or refugee status, how to apply for asylum or access the USRAP, bars to protection, whether applicants are eligible for work authorization, number of days it normally takes before an interview is scheduled.

 

13.

See INA 244(c)(6). See 8 CFR 244.16.

 

14.

See 8 CFR 244.16 for exceptions.

 

15.

Examples of general inquiries include: Who can apply for TPS, how to apply for TPS, bars to TPS, whether applicants are eligible for work authorization, and the number of days it normally takes to adjudicate an application for TPS.

 

16.

See 8 CFR 244.16.

 

17.

See INA 245A(c)(4)-(5). See 8 CFR 245a.2(t), 8 CFR 245a.3(n), and 8 CFR 245a.21.

 

18.

See INA 245A(c)(6).

 

19.

See 13 U.S.C. 8.

 

20.

See INA 210. This pertains to the 1987-1988 SAW program.

 

21.

See INA 210(b)(7).

 

22.

See 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(21).

 

Chapter 6 - Handling Customer Complaints

A. Submitting Complaints [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].

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

Contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) directly [3] See Appendix: USCIS Customer Dissatisfaction Terms and Definitions for information on how to contact the OIG.

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

 

Chapter 7 - Assessing Customer Satisfaction and Continuous Service Improvement

A. Introduction

Customer satisfaction is generally understood to be the sense of satisfaction that customers feel when comparing their expectations with the actual service the customer received. In order to improve customer service, USCIS conducts periodic assessments of customer satisfaction.

B. Assessing Customer Satisfaction

1. USCIS Contact Center

USCIS conducts telephone interviews every month with customers who have called the USCIS Contact Center within the past 90 days. USCIS may contract with a private company to execute this task. The interviews that are conducted represent a statistically valid sample. At least 20 percent of these interviews are conducted in the Spanish language.

Interview questions assess satisfaction with each component of the USCIS Contact Center. USCIS develops the telephone interview questions in conjunction with the contracted company. These questions are reviewed annually for applicability and usefulness in assessing overall satisfaction with the services provided by the USCIS Contact Center.

2. InfoPass Appointments

Field offices may provide customer satisfaction feedback forms in their waiting rooms. If such forms are provided, field offices should also provide customers a place within the office to deposit their feedback forms. Offices should not distribute legacy-INS Report of Complaint (Form I-847).

3. USCIS Website

In February 2010, USCIS, through its Office of Communications, implemented the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Survey on the USCIS website. This recognized instrument is a randomized, pop-up, online survey offered to users of the USCIS website. By participating in this survey, USCIS became part of the E-Government Satisfaction Index and joined more than one hundred other government organizations and agencies that have already implemented this survey and are receiving feedback.

USCIS reviews the results of the survey on a quarterly basis and identifies opportunities for improvement on the USCIS website. Survey data also informs USCIS where resources might best be used to affect overall customer satisfaction.

Survey questions are designed to gauge the overall user experience and customer satisfaction with USCIS’ website. Survey questions address the following USCIS website elements:

Content;

Functionality;

Appearance;

Navigation;

Search function; and

Performance (for example, speed).

A 10-point scale is used in survey questions. These individual scores are grouped according to the performance area, then weighted and translated into a 100-point customer satisfaction score. The survey also contains open-ended questions. Responses to these questions are examined for specific feedback and recommendations USCIS can implement on the site.

USCIS also reviews a wide assortment of research papers and other products available from the survey administrator to help USCIS in data gathering, analysis, and site improvement activities.

Chapter 8 - Service Request Management Tool (SRMT)

A. Introduction

SRMT is used domestically to record and respond to a customer or his or her authorized representative’s request for service. When the customer requests service by calling the USCIS Contact Center toll-free telephone number, a SRMT Service Request is created by USCIS Contact Center staff if the inquiry cannot be resolved during the call. Though the majority of SRMTs are created at the USCIS Contact Center, SRMTs are also created by officers, often when access to an A-file is needed to properly respond to the applicant’s question and the file is located elsewhere. Creating an SRMT allows the customer to receive a response without having to return to the office in most instances.

By using an online portal, customers living in the United States may create a request directly for change of address (COA) requests regarding most receipt types (excluding VAWA, T nonimmigrant, and U nonimmigrant applicants or petitioners). [1] For more information on confidentiality in VAWA, T, U, and other cases, see Chapter 5, Privacy and Confidentiality in Customer Service [1 USCIS-PM A.5]. Customers may also directly initiate SRMT inquiries online when certain pending applications or petitions are outside normal processing times.

B. Timely Response

USCIS responds to requests for service within the required timeframes. USCIS categorizes an SRMT request based upon the urgency and request type, and assigns a target completion date based on the category. USCIS completes requests within each category on a first-in first-out basis. In general, the goal for all other SRMT referrals is 15 calendar days from the date of creation.

The following requests receive processing priority and should be responded to within 7 calendar days from the date of creation:

1. Change of Address (COA)

USCIS must process change of address requests at the earliest opportunity in order to reduce the potential for undeliverable mail and associated concerns. Address records on all open associated application or petition receipts must be updated unless instructed otherwise by the customer. Address record changes are only limited to select identified receipts when the customer explicitly requests the change of address request be restricted.

When the address listed for the applicant in a request is different from the address listed in USCIS information systems, it is considered to be an address change request regardless of whether the request was for a COA or for another reason. The address in the request is then used to change address records on all directly related receipts.

However, no address change request is inferred if the Service Request was initiated by a representative and the address listed in the request is the representative’s address. Also, in these situations, a copy of the response should be mailed to the petitioner or applicant at his or her address of record.

USCIS does not accept COA requests on a VAWA, T nonimmigrant, or U nonimmigrant-related application or petition that are received through an SRMT. A hard-copy, signed COA request submitted through traditional mail is required. Offices should respond to VAWA, T nonimmigrant, and U nonimmigrant COA requests using the standard language. [2] See Chapter 5, Privacy and Confidentiality in Customer Service, Section B, Maintaining Confidentiality of VAWA, T, and U Cases, Subsection 3, Providing Customer Service in VAWA, T, and U Cases [1 USCIS-PM A.5(B)(3)].

2. Expedite Requests

Expedite service requests, including those involving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are self-identified as urgent. The customer requesting expedited service may be required to submit evidence to support the expedite request. [3] See Chapter 12, Requests to Expedite Applications or Petitions [1 USCIS-PM A.12].

3. Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodation service requests must be responded to in accordance with the disability accommodations policy. [4] See Chapter 11, Disability Accommodation Requests [1 USCIS-PM A.11].

4. Military Referral

Military referrals have implied urgency based upon the uncertainty of reassignments and deployments.

5. Approaching Regulatory Timeframe

Approaching regulatory timeframe service requests are for an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) that has been pending for more than 75 days.

USCIS considers the following in determining whether a case has been pending more than 75 days:

If USCIS issues a request for initial evidence on either the Form I-765 application itself or the principal application (for example, Form I-485), the 90-day regulatory timeframe starts over from the date of receipt of the initial evidence (USCIS will reset the “clock” to Day 1 upon receipt of the evidence).

If USCIS issues a request for additional evidence, the clock stops upon issuance of the request and resume from the same point upon receipt of the additional evidence.

6. Beyond Regulatory Timeframe

Beyond regulatory timeframe service requests are for a Form I-765 that has been pending more than 90 days. [5] For information on the calculation of how long the application has been pending where a request for evidence has been issued, see Subsection 5, Approaching Regulatory Timeframe [1 USCIS-PM A.8(B)(5)].

Footnotes

1.

For more information on confidentiality in VAWA, T, U, and other cases, see Chapter 5, Privacy and Confidentiality in Customer Service [1 USCIS-PM A.5].

 

2.

See Chapter 5, Privacy and Confidentiality in Customer Service, Section B, Maintaining Confidentiality of VAWA, T, and U Cases, Subsection 3, Providing Customer Service in VAWA, T, and U Cases [1 USCIS-PM A.5(B)(3)].

 

3.

See Chapter 12, Requests to Expedite Applications or Petitions [1 USCIS-PM A.12].

 

4.

See Chapter 11, Disability Accommodation Requests [1 USCIS-PM A.11].

 

5.

For information on the calculation of how long the application has been pending where a request for evidence has been issued, see Subsection 5, Approaching Regulatory Timeframe [1 USCIS-PM A.8(B)(5)].

 

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 strives 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’ 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 (https://my.uscis.gov/appointment) – Allows customers to make appointments online

Customer Relationship Interface System (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’ 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’ website provides customers with access to the most searched and visited pages as well as current news releases, alerts, and other updates. USCIS designed the 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 makes every effort to provide complete and accurate information on USCIS’ 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, the webmaster forward the notification to the directorate or program office responsible for the content in question.

The responsible directorate or program office reviews the content and provides corrections or clarifications, if necessary. Both the English language and Spanish language pages are updated at the same time as appropriate. USCIS directorates and program offices that submit content for posting 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 Department of Homeland Security (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’ 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 posts information after it has been appropriately approved and vetted by OCOMM. The Beacon is a moderated blog. USCIS reviews 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 moderates and posts comments during regular business hours on Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours, on weekends, or on federal holidays are reviewed and posted as early as possible; in most cases, these comments are posted the next business day.

3. USCIS Twitter Account

USCIS approaches its Twitter account in much the same way as the blog: USCIS’ 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 who 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 posts information after it has been appropriately approved and vetted by OCOMM.

4. USCIS YouTube Channel

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 accessible and searchable through the DHS channel.

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

USCIS does not moderate user comments on its channel 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 uses the Facebook page for external relations (for example, communications, outreach, public dialogue) to make information and services widely available to the general public, to promote 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 maintains access. USCIS may share information on the USCIS Facebook page if there is a demonstrated need to know, and only posts information after it has been appropriately approved and vetted by USCIS OCOMM.

Footnotes

1.

See the DHS Website Privacy Policy.

 

2.

See the DHS Privacy Resources for the DHS PIA “Use of Social Networking Interactions and Applications.

 

3.

See YouTube Privacy Policy.

 

Chapter 10 - Reporting Allegations of Misconduct or Other Inappropriate Behavior

USCIS customers should report allegations of misconduct by both government and contract employees. [1] USCIS employees are also subject to mandatory reporting requirements for known or suspected misconduct by federal employees and contractors.

A. Employee Misconduct to Report

Examples of alleged employee misconduct that should be reported immediately to the USCIS Office of Security and Integrity (OSI) and the DHS Office of the Inspector General include, but are not limited to:

Fraud, corruption, bribery, and embezzlement;

Sexual advances or sexual misconduct;

Theft or misuse of funds and theft of government property;

Perjury;

Physical assault; [2] Physical assault may include grabbing, fondling, hitting, or shoving.

Unauthorized release of classified information;

Drug use or possession;

Unauthorized use or misuse of sensitive official government databases;

Misuse of official position for private gain;

Misuse of a government vehicle or property;

Failure to properly account for government fund;

Unauthorized use or misuse of a government purchase or travel card;

Falsification of travel documents; and

Falsification of employment application documents.

B. How to Report Employee Misconduct

A person should report criminal and other serious misconduct allegations to the USCIS OSI Investigations Division. Customers may report employee misconduct by writing a letter to USCIS or reporting allegations directly to the DHS OIG.

USCIS Office of Security and Integrity

Contact Information

Fax

Mail

202-233-2453

Chief, Investigations Division
​Office of Security and Integrity

MS: 2275
​U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services

​633 Third Street NW, 3rd Floor

​Washington, DC 20529-2275


USCIS OSI makes every effort to maintain the confidentiality of informational sources. However, be aware that for investigations in which an allegation is substantiated and disciplinary action is proposed, the subject is entitled to review documentation and evidence relied upon as the basis for the proposed action.

Depending upon the nature of any allegation included in the report, OSI may refer the matter to DHS OIG for review and investigative determination as required. If the allegation either does not meet the criteria for referral to DHS OIG or is not accepted by DHS OIG for investigation, OSI may resolve the matter by conducting an investigation; referring the matter for an official management inquiry, if appropriate; or referring the matter to the appropriate USCIS manager for information and action as necessary.

As a matter of procedure, OSI does not provide a complainant, victim, witness, or subject of a complaint with the initial investigative determination of a complaint, since a disclosure of this nature could adversely impact the investigative process.

Any allegation may also be reported by contacting DHS OIG directly either through a local OIG field office [3] A list of OIG Office of Investigations field offices is available on the DHS OIG’s website. or by one of the methods below.

DHS Office of Inspector General

Contact Information

Phone

Fax

Mail

Toll-free DHS Hotline at

800-323-8603

202-254-4297

DHS Office of Inspector General/MAIL STOP 0305
Attn: Office of Investigations -- Hotline

245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC  20528-0305

C. Allegations of Discrimination

Customers should promptly report allegations of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, parental status, protected genetic information, national origin, age, or disability to a USCIS supervisor or to the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). [4] See the DHS Website on how to File a Civil Rights Complaint. In addition, report allegations involving physical assault (such as grabbing, fondling, hitting, or shoving) to OSI or DHS OIG. CRCL’s website also contains detailed information about avenues for filing complaints with different offices and components of DHS. [5] See How to File a Complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, issued October 3, 2012.

DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Contact Information

Email

Fax

Mail

CRCLCompliance@hq.dhs.gov

202-401-4708

Department of Homeland Security
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
245 Murray Lane, SW, Building 410

Mail Stop: 0190
Washington, DC  20528

D. Employee Misconduct to Report to a Supervisor

Report other types of conduct issues that do not fall under one of the bases of prohibited discrimination (for example, race, color, gender) to a USCIS supervisor. Types of conduct issues that may be reported through the supervisory chain include:

Dissatisfaction with an application or petition decision

Rude behavior such as profanity in the workplace

Insubordination or deliberate failure to comply with orders

Performance issues

Dress code issues

Supervisors should consult with their servicing Labor and Employee Relations Specialist to address employee performance and conduct issues.

Footnotes

1.

USCIS employees are also subject to mandatory reporting requirements for known or suspected misconduct by federal employees and contractors.

 

2.

Physical assault may include grabbing, fondling, hitting, or shoving.

 

3.

A list of OIG Office of Investigations field offices is available on the DHS OIG’s website.

 

4.

See the DHS Website on how to File a Civil Rights Complaint.

 

5.

See How to File a Complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, issued October 3, 2012.

 

Chapter 11 - Disability Accommodation Requests

A. Introduction

This chapter outlines USCIS policy for receiving and processing requests for accommodations from qualified customers and other persons with disabilities who use USCIS services and access USCIS facilities. This includes, but is not limited to, persons who:

USCIS schedules to have in-person contact with an officer (such as for an interview);

Wish to schedule an InfoPass appointment and are requesting an accommodation for that appointment; or

Wish to attend a USCIS-sponsored public event.

Implementing this policy ensures that USCIS is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. [1] See Pub. L. 93-112 (September 26, 1973). This law prescribes that “[n]o otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency.” [2] See Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. 93-112, 87 Stat. 355, 394 (September 26, 1973), codified at 29 U.S.C. 794(a). See 6 CFR 15.3 for applicable definitions relating to enforcement of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) federal programs or activities, which includes those conducted by USCIS.

B. Background

An applicant must satisfy all of the legal requirements to receive an immigration benefit; however, USCIS must provide reasonable accommodations to persons with a disability to afford those customers the opportunity to meet those requirements. Accommodations vary depending on the person’s disability. For example, a customer who is:

Unable to use his or her hands may be permitted to take a test orally rather than in writing;

Deaf or hard of hearing may be provided with a sign language interpreter for a USCIS-sponsored event; [3] In this scenario, “customer” refers to any member of the public who wants to attend the event, such as a naturalization ceremony or an Enlace engagement.

Unable to speak might be allowed to respond to questions in a previously agreed upon nonverbal manner;

Unable to travel to a designated USCIS location for an interview due to a disabling condition may be interviewed at his or her home or a medical facility.

The essential feature of an accommodation is that it allows the customer to participate in the process or activity. While USCIS is not required to make major modifications that would result in a fundamental change to the adjudication process or cause an undue burden for the agency, USCIS makes every effort to provide accommodations to customers with disabilities.

C. Disability Accommodation Requests

All USCIS offices are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified customers with disabilities. Doing so ensures all USCIS customers the same level of access to all USCIS-administered programs and services. USCIS has established a standard procedure for persons with disabilities to request accommodations when they:

Visit a USCIS field office, an Application Support Center (ASC), or asylum office; [4] Asylum offices do not handle requests for disability accommodations for asylum office customer fingerprint appointments. These requests are handled by the USCIS office that oversees the ASC that will be collecting the fingerprints.

Are physically unable to appear for an appointment at a USCIS facility; or

Schedule and appear for an InfoPass appointment.

The standard procedure is for customers to call the USCIS Contact Center to request an accommodation to complete any phase of the application process. If the customer needs an accommodation for multiple interviews during the adjudication process, customers should also call the USCIS Contact Center prior to each of the appointments.

Customer service representatives at the USCIS Contact Center enter the information about the accommodation request into the Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) system and forward to the appropriate USCIS office that serves the customer’s zip code. The adjudicating office must then contact the customer and take action on the accommodation request.

USCIS determines whether the office may reasonably comply with the accommodation within 7 calendar days of when the inquiry was received by the office, unless unusual circumstances exist (for example, USCIS is unable to reach the customer). If USCIS has a delay in the determination of the availability of the accommodation, the office explains the delay in the case notes section of the SRMT inquiry and completes its processing as soon as possible after the reason for the delay concludes. The office must provide the accommodation within a reasonable time frame.

Ideally, offices receive advance notice of the customer’s accommodation needs through the USCIS Contact Center so they are prepared to provide accommodations when needed. However, in the event that a customer contacts the field office, ASC, or asylum office directly to request a disability accommodation for an interview, the office creates an SRMT request, works with the customer to respond to the request, and marks the request as fulfilled when it is complete so that the request and the response are recorded.

To assure accountability, each field office, ASC, or asylum office must designate an employee(s) to be responsible for handling accommodation requests from customers. Regardless of how many employees are tasked with handling requests for accommodations, the entire office should be aware of the procedures for handling such requests.

If an accommodation is warranted for an office appointment, the field office, ASC, or asylum office should provide the accommodation on the date and time the customer is scheduled for his or her appearance. The field office, ASC, or asylum office should aim to provide the requested accommodation without having to reschedule the appointment. If an accommodation cannot be provided for the scheduled appointment, the customer and his or her attorney or accredited representative should be notified as soon as possible. The appointment should be rescheduled within a reasonable period of time.

Offices are encouraged to provide reasonable accommodation requests made by walk-in customers whenever practical. If the accommodation is not available, the office should inform the customer that the office is not able to provide the accommodation at that time, but will provide the accommodation for a future appointment. USCIS evaluates each request for a reasonable accommodation on a case-by-case basis. Offices are authorized to approve requests for a reasonable accommodation without consulting the Office of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion (OEOI).

While a customer is not required to include documentation of a medical condition in support of a reasonable accommodation request, an office may need documentation to evaluate the request in rare cases. In these situations, the office must consult OEOI for guidance before the USCIS office requests the customer provide medical documentation to support an accommodation request.

OEOI also provides assistance whenever a field office, ASC, or asylum office preliminarily believes that an alternative accommodation should be suggested or that an accommodation may not be required. The OEOI Disability Accommodation Manager must concur on any alternative accommodation offered or any accommodation denial before the office communicates either action to the customer.

Offices should understand that, while the inability to speak is considered a disability under the Rehabilitation Act, the inability to speak the English language (while being able to speak a foreign language) is not considered a disability under the Act. Therefore, no accommodation is required and one should not be provided if a customer is unable to speak English. No request for a translator should be approved unless the customer is otherwise eligible. [5] See, for example, 8 CFR 312.4.

D. Reconsideration Requests

To request a reconsideration of a denial of a disability accommodation request, the customer must call the USCIS Contact Center. Upon receiving the request, a customer service representative creates a new SRMT inquiry.

Upon receiving the SRMT inquiry, the relevant office must review the customer’s prior request and any additional information provided in the case notes section of the new SRMT inquiry. The office should contact the customer again if additional information is needed.

The USCIS employee in the office responsible for handling disability accommodations should coordinate the resolution of any reconsideration requests as necessary. The OEOI Disability Accommodation Manager must concur on any alternative accommodation offered or any accommodation denial before the office communicates either action to the customer. All affirmed denials must be approved by the field office director, ASC manager, or asylum office director, whichever applies.

Footnotes

1.

See Pub. L. 93-112 (September 26, 1973).

 

2.

See Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. 93-112, 87 Stat. 355, 394 (September 26, 1973), codified at 29 U.S.C. 794(a). See 6 CFR 15.3 for applicable definitions relating to enforcement of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) federal programs or activities, which includes those conducted by USCIS.

 

3.

In this scenario, “customer” refers to any member of the public who wants to attend the event, such as a naturalization ceremony or an Enlace engagement.

 

4.

Asylum offices do not handle requests for disability accommodations for asylum office customer fingerprint appointments. These requests are handled by the USCIS office that oversees the ASC that will be collecting the fingerprints.

 

5.

See, for example, 8 CFR 312.4.

 

Chapter 12 - Requests to Expedite Applications or Petitions

USCIS reviews all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership. The burden is on the applicant or petitioner to demonstrate that one or more of the expedite criteria have been met.

A. Expedite Criteria [1] For the expedited processing of an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601), see additional information provided on the USCIS website.

USCIS may expedite a petition or application if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

Severe financial loss to company or person;

Emergency situation; [2] For example, the applicant is gravely ill.

Humanitarian reasons; [3] For example, outbreak of war in the home country.

Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States; [4] For example, an organization broadcasting in regional areas to promote democratic interests.

Department of Defense or national interest situation; [5] The request must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.

USCIS error; or

Compelling interest of USCIS.

B. Premium Processing 

USCIS does not consider petitions and applications that have Premium Processing Service available for expedited processing. The only exception is when the petitioner is a not-for-profit organization designated by the Internal Revenue Service that is acting in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States. [6] For information on premium processing, see the USCIS webpage on “How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?”

C. Making an Expedite Request

To make a request to expedite the processing of a domestically filed application or petition, the customer should contact the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. The USCIS Contact Center forwards the Service Request to the office with jurisdiction over the application or petition.

Customers may also visit a local office by scheduling an InfoPass appointment or writing a letter to the field office or service center. Applicants or petitioners outside the United States should submit their requests directly to the USCIS office with jurisdiction over their applications or petitions. For contact information for USCIS offices outside the United States, see the USCIS website.

Approval of such requests is discretionary and USCIS reserves the right to request documentation supporting the request to expedite an application or petition.

Footnotes

1.

For the expedited processing of an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601), see additional information provided on the USCIS website.

 

2.

For example, the applicant is gravely ill.

 

3.

For example, outbreak of war in the home country.

 

4.

For example, an organization broadcasting in regional areas to promote democratic interests.

 

5.

The request must come from an official U.S. government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to the government.

 

6.

For information on premium processing, see the USCIS webpage on “How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?

 

Chapter 13 - Cell Phone Usage in USCIS Offices

Visitors of USCIS facilities may be permitted to possess cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and tablets. However, USCIS customers receiving services in facilities not controlled by USCIS should abide by cell phone policies established by the facility.

Customers may not use camera and recording capable devices (including cell phones) at a USCIS office except when observing naturalization or citizenship ceremonies. In addition, cell phones should be silenced while in the waiting area and any conversations should be kept to a low level so as not to disrupt others. Customers must completely turn off all phones during interviews or while being served by USCIS staff at the information counter.

To ensure successful implementation of this guidance, USCIS field offices are encouraged to:

Ensure all employees (federal and contract) are aware of the cell phone usage policies and the prohibition against using any type of device to take photographs inside USCIS common areas except during naturalization ceremonies;

Ensure all visitors are informed of the cell phone usage policies and prohibition against using any type of device to take photographs inside USCIS common areas (for example, waiting rooms, or restrooms), unless to record naturalization ceremonies; and

Display posters and signage regarding this guidance in common areas.

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

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 & 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].

Updates

POLICY ALERT – Customer Service

August 26, 2014

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