The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a federal agency that is a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its primary purpose is to oversee lawful immigration to the United States. In furtherance of this purpose, the USCIS administers the immigration benefits programs, including processing and adjudicating the related applications and petitions.
The USCIS operates four service centers and the National Benefits Center, which accept and adjudicate specific types of petitions and applications. There are USCIS field offices in every state that conduct in-person interviews in naturalization (citizenship) cases and certain employment- and family-based immigrant cases. These local offices provide some customer service and informational functions. Asylum applicants are interviewed at specialized USCIS asylum offices. The USCIS also operates application support centers (ASC) for fingerprinting and related services. While most of the USCIS’s operations are within the United States, there are international offices abroad that cater to the immigration needs of U.S. citizens and permanent residents visiting or residing abroad.
A wealth of information may be found on the USCIS WebSite, including useful links and resources pertaining to all aspects of U.S. immigration. Beyond the case processing and adjudications functions of the USCIS, one can learn about the E-Verify system for employer verification of work authorization, as well as other immigration compliance necessary for employers to follow.
Some of the news regarding USCIS programs and changes originates from the office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman. The CIS Ombudsman helps with problem resolution with the USCIS. Individuals and employers experiencing case issues and problems that are unresolved by the USCIS can seek the assistance of the Ombudsman, as an independent resource. The Ombudsman’s office makes recommendations for system-wide changes in order to enhance the quality of service provided by the USCIS.