USCIS Ombudsman: An Agency To Resolve Complex Citizenship And Immigration Cases

When people move to another country and settle down there after a few years, they must go through a long procedure to secure a green card from that country. For some, immigration through the layers of bureaucracy under the aegis of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be very frustrating. In such a case, you can consider seeking the help of the USCIS Ombudsman’s office, an agency dedicated to creating an interface between the opaque USCIS and the people it serves. 

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) is devoted to “improving the quality of citizenship and immigration services delivered to the public by providing individual case assistance, identifying systemic issues and making recommendations to improve the administration of immigration benefits by the USCIS.” The USCIS ombudsman, which is governed by Phyllis Coven, is housed within the Department of Homeland Security, but it oversees the USCIS independently. 

The agency is often successful where the USCIS bureaucracy fails as it can function as a neutral mediator. It also submits a comprehensive report of the USCIS functioning to the US Congress annually. 

The ombudsman’s office assists with: 

  • Cases exceeding processing times as well as with zilch processing times 
  • Processing delays related to Employment Authorisation Documents 
  • Lost files or file transfer problems 
  • Typographic errors in immigration documents 
  • Mailing issues, including non-delivery of notices or completed immigration documents 
  • Cases involving an emergency or a hardship falls under USCIS expedite criteria 
  • Cases where the beneficiary may be overaged in terms of eligibility for the requested immigration benefit 
  • Applications and petitions improperly rejected by the USCIS due to clear factual error or misapplication of the law 
  • Cases involving US military personnel and their families 
  • Cases where an individual is in deportation proceedings before the immigration court and has an application pending before the USCIS that may have a bearing on the outcome of the court case 

You can open a case with the agency online but before filing a request for case assistance, ensure the below things: 

  • Check delayed processing time as they are usually unable to inquire with the USCIS on your behalf if your case is within the processing time 
  • Create a USCIS online account to communicate directly with the USCIS. Even if you have filed your case offline, you can link the case to your online account, allowing you to track your case status and history 
  • Document the last recorded action on your case by using Case Status Online with your receipt number. 

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