If you’re an immigrant and intend to visit or stay in the United States temporarily or for an extended period, you’ll interact with the USCIS at some point. The USCIS is responsible for enforcing immigration rules and regulations on behalf of the federal government. Here’s what you need to know about this agency.
What Is the USCIS Green Card Organization?
The USCIS stands for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a government agency responsible for administering lawful immigration to the U.S. and executing the federal government’s immigration and naturalization duties. As a result, this agency offers different immigration-related services, including:
- Evaluating an immigrant’s eligibility for various immigration benefits, such as citizenship and naturalization,
- Reviewing and processing different immigration applications forms, such as green card petitions, work visas, and employment authorization documents,
- Conducting interviews and background checks of intending immigrants to ensure the immigrant isn’t inadmissible,
- Conducting national security checks and detecting immigration fraud.
USCIS Green Card Organization Reviews
As of April 2023, the USCIS has a review rating of 1.37 out of 10 on sitejabber.com. The rating is based on 19 reviews. People using USCIS services report dissatisfaction regarding call center customer service, immigration application processing times, high service fees, the poor user experience of the Green Card Organization website, etc.
As of April 2023, the USCIS has a review rating of 3.8 out of 5 on indeed.com – a website that focuses on worldwide employment listings. The rating is based on 89 reviews.
Brief History of the USCIS
The USCIS was established in 2003. Before then, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was in charge of enforcing the federal government’s immigration policies, processing immigration applications, and overseeing border patrol activities for over 70 years.
However, these duties were overwhelming for the INS. As a result, there was a dire need for change to help the federal government improve its immigration services.
In 2002, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act and abolished the INS. In its place, the Act introduced three agencies to handle different immigration functions, all working under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) oversaw immigration policies, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforced border security, and the USCIS took over the responsibility of administering immigration benefits to qualifying immigrants.
Today, the USCIS has about 20,000 employees and over 200 offices in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, the agency receives and processes millions of applications for different immigration benefits every year. Despite the workload, this agency commits to upholding integrity, fairness, and professionalism while serving the public.
What Documents Does USCIS Issue?
The USCIS issues several documents to eligible immigrants. Some common documents include issued by this federal agency include the following:
The Permanent Resident Card also known as the Green Card
The permanent resident card, also called the green card, is a document that allows an immigrant to live and work in the U.S. permanently. An eligible immigrant may obtain this card through several means, including but not limited to a marriage, employment, and the diversity visa lottery (DV lottery).
Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Most immigrants must obtain an employment authorization document permitting them to work in the U.S. Usually, an EAD is valid for two years and must be renewed before its expiry date, but only if the individual is eligible to continue working in the U.S.
Certificate of Citizenship
The USCIS issues the Certificate of Citizenship to individuals born abroad to U.S. citizen parents. This certificate is proof of citizenship and may be helpful in different circumstances, such as applying for a U.S. passport.
Certificate of Naturalization
Immigrants who obtain U.S. citizenship through naturalization receive this document from the USCIS. Although the process may be long and complex, becoming a U.S. citizen has numerous benefits. For example, naturalized immigrants no longer have to worry about renewing their work permits to gain employment in the United States.
Green card holders who travel abroad for extended periods need a reentry permit to return to the U.S. This document allows green card holders to maintain their residency status while abroad.
Read More | U.S. Green Card Residency Requirements
Advance Parole Document
The USCIS issues the Advance Parole Document to some immigrants who wish to travel abroad temporarily without disrupting their pending applications for some immigration benefits. This document proves that an immigrant hasn’t abandoned their application, so the USCIS won’t halt the process.
How to Contact the USCIS?
You can contact the agency online through their website or call the USCIS Contact Center at (800) 375-5283 to speak with a customer service agent.
If you prefer mailing your inquiries, it’s important to note that the USCIS has several departments handling different functions within the agency. For this reason, the agency has several mailing addresses designated for specific applications and inquiries.
For instance, the mailing address for VAWA, T, and U Filings inquiries differs from the address you’ll need to send your green card application.
If you’re unsure which mailing address to use for your inquiry, you can contact the USCIS via phone or their website. Alternatively, consider speaking with an experienced immigrational lawyer. The attorney will review your case and guide you on how best to proceed with it.