USCIS Ombudsman Teleconference on USCIS Applicant Support Services
The USCIS Ombudsman’s office hosted a stakeholder teleconference on February 14, 2019 about recent changes in how applicants and legal representatives can access case information, inquire about pending cases and make an appointment with a USCIS field office. These changes are part of the agency’s new Information Services Modernization Program that launched last fall. Three USCIS speakers provided clarification on the following:
- Through myUSCIS, users can access a range of tools and resources about the immigration process and utilize an online account-based system to track individual cases and file seven forms online (I-90, N-336, N-400, N-565, N-600, N-600K, and G-28).
- USCIS reminded stakeholders that the online filing system allows for the receipt of PDF versions of receipt notices and Requests for Evidence.
- Online accounts are encouraged for both petitioners/applicants and representatives. Individuals may link their account to the account of their representative to access case-specific information.
USCIS Contact Center
- The USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 has replaced the National Customer Service Center.
- After listening to recorded information, callers may elect to speak with a Tier 1 contract employee who can provide general and case-specific information, open a service request with a particular field office or service center, or transfer the caller to a Tier 2 representative.
- Callers who need to speak with Tier 2 are placed into a call-back queue and must await a return phone call from a Tier 2 Immigration Service Officer.
- Requests for an in-person appointment at a USCIS Field Office may be made with Tier 1 but appointments may only be scheduled by Tier 2.
- Callers may request to speak to a supervisor during a conversation with either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 representative.
In-Person Appointments at USCIS Field Offices
- Since last March, USCIS has been phasing out the self-scheduling of in-person appointments through INFOPASS. By the end of August 2019, individuals will need to use the Contact Center to schedule an in-person appointment at all field offices.
- USCIS indicated that an in-person appointment can generally be scheduled within four to five days of the request. In cases requiring emergency travel, an in-person appointment to apply for an emergency advance parole document can be scheduled for the same day.
- According to USCIS, legitimate reasons for an in-person appointment include I-551 ADIT (Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications) stamps for those awaiting I-90 or I-751 adjudication, requests for emergency advance parole, and instances where an in-person appearance is necessary for identity verification such as deferred action, Parole in Place, or ELIS account creation.
- Stakeholders on the call reported problems in receiving timely return calls from a Tier 2 representative in order to schedule an in-person appointment. They reported never receiving a call back or receiving the return call after business hours when they were not in their office. Stakeholders also reported long hold times waiting to speak with a Tier 1 or 2 representative or being disconnected from the line while holding. USCIS stated that resolving these problems is one of their top priorities for the continuing development of this program.