United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
USCIS logo English.svg
Agency overview
FormedMarch 1, 2003; 16 years ago (2003-03-01)
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
Headquarters111 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Employees16,654 (2017)[1]
Annual budget$3.219 billion (2014)[2]
Agency executives
Parent agencyUnited States Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)[3] is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that administers the country's naturalization and immigration system. It is a successor to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which was dissolved by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and replaced by three components within the DHS: USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

USCIS performs many of the duties of the former INS, namely processing and adjudicating various immigration matters, including applications for work visas, asylum, and citizenship. Additionally, the agency is officially tasked with safeguarding national security, eliminating immigration case backlogs, and improving efficiency. USCIS is currently headed by an acting director, Kenneth Thomas Cuccinelli II, who reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security.[4]


USCIS Office in Atlanta, Georgia

USCIS is charged with processing immigrant visa petitions, naturalization applications, asylum applications, applications for adjustment of status (green cards), and refugee applications. It also makes adjudicative decisions performed at the service centers, and manages all other immigration benefits functions (i.e., not immigration enforcement) performed by the former INS. Other responsibilities of the USCIS include:

While core immigration benefits functions remain the same as under the INS, a new goal is to process immigrants' applications more efficiently. Improvement efforts have included attempts to reduce the applicant backlog, as well as providing customer service through different channels, including the USCIS Contact Center with information in English and Spanish, Application Support Centers (ASCs), the Internet and other channels. The enforcement of immigration laws remains under Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

USCIS focuses on two key points on the immigrant's journey towards civic integration: when they first become permanent residents and when they are ready to begin the formal naturalization process. A lawful permanent resident is eligible to become a citizen of the United States after holding the Permanent Resident Card for at least five continuous years, with no trips out of the United States lasting 180 days or more. If, however, the lawful permanent resident marries a U.S. citizen, eligibility for U.S. citizenship is shortened to three years so long as the resident has been living with the spouse continuously for at least three years and the spouse has been a resident for at least three years.


USCIS handles all forms and processing materials related to immigration and naturalization. This is evident from USCIS' predecessor, the INS, (Immigration and Naturalization Service) which is defunct as of March 1, 2003.[5][circular reference]

USCIS currently handles two kinds of forms: those relating to immigration, and those related to naturalization. Forms are designated by a specific name, and an alphanumeric sequence consisting of one letter, followed by two or three digits. Forms related to immigration are designated with an I (for example, I-551, Permanent Resident Card) and forms related to naturalization are designated by an N (for example, N-400, Application for Naturalization).

Immigration courts and judges[edit]

The United States immigration courts and immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals which hears appeals from them, are part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) within the United States Department of Justice. (USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security.)[6]


Internet presence[edit]

USCIS' official website is USCIS.gov. The site was redesigned in 2009 and unveiled on September 22, 2009.[7]

The redesign made the web page interface more like the Department of Homeland Security's official website. The last major redesign before 2009 took place in October 2006.

Also, USCIS runs an online appointment scheduling service known as INFOPASS. This system allows people with questions about immigration to come into their local USCIS office and speak directly with a government employee about their case and so on. This is an important way in which USCIS serves the public. As of early 2019, however, many USCIS field offices are doing away with on-demand INFOPASS appointments.[citation needed]


Unlike most other federal agencies, USCIS is funded almost entirely by user fees.[8] Under President George W. Bush's FY2008 budget request, direct congressional appropriations made about 1% of the USCIS budget and about 99% of the budget was funded through fees. The total USCIS FY2008 budget was projected to be $2.6 billion.[9]


USCIS consists of approximately 19,000 federal employees and contractors working at 223 offices around the world.[10]

Mission statement[edit]

USCIS's mission statement was changed on February 23, 2018. Among other changes, the phrase "America's promise as a nation of immigrants" was eliminated, a move that drew criticism from immigration rights advocates and praise from those in favor of tighter restrictions on immigration.[11]

See also[edit]

Comparable international agencies[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

  1. ^ "Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment - September 2017". United States Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Budget-in-Brief: Fiscal Year 2015" (PDF). U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
  3. ^ "Our History".
  4. ^ "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services". U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  5. ^ Immigration and Naturalization Service
  6. ^ "The Citizenship Surge". The New York Times. Nov 27, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2017.. Formerly a part of the United States Department of Justice, the USCIS or INS has turned from being a "service" to being a "money making enterprise". US CIS now gives out a booklet courtesy of the Heritage Foundation, and it really applies to them with their fees, baring I am not a natural person, an Indian not taxed or 3/5th of all other persons that their fees are getting beyond prohibitive that I honestly do not believe they have managed to get congressional or senate authorization for: "he has erected a Multitude of new Of ces, and sent hither Swarms of Of cers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance", To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Of ce of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Of ce who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty ve Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.; Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their 16 The Thirteenth Amendment was rati ed December 6, 1865. 17 The Fourteenth Amendment was rati ed July 9, 1868. respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.(funny how the three fifths of all other persons has disappeared). No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any of ce, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an of cer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial of cer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each house, remove such disability. IT IS ABSOLUTELY BEYOND WORDS THAT SOME PEOPLE WHILE WAITING FOR THEIR NATURALIZATION HAS PAID MORE THAN USD 6 PER HEAD FOR THEIR ADMISSIONS AND COULD BE A SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE OR A TAX COLLECTOR BY NOW IF THEY MET THE FULL UNABRIDGED REQUIREMENTS REQUIRED BY SARBANE OXLEY (2002) AND THOSE I GUESS WOULD BE POSITIONS IN VERY SHORT SUPPLY. They have built mammoth buildings called SERVICE CENTERS in California, Nebraska, Lee's Summit, MO, Falls Church, VA, St Albans, VT, Chicago, IL, Mesquite, TX, Columbia SC and every US major city that once used to be a desk based out of the Federal Courthouse, as well as in any Military Entrance Processing Unit and at the various US Embassies (beyond the information desk) and the guarding USMC officer (right about where you would find the USCS or StudyUSA advisor) and have on one occasion helped to recruit for the Department of the Navy. They have categories known as SM1/SM6 authorized under INA § 101 (a)(27)(K) for enlistees abroad authorized by the US Department of Defense as (alien recruited outside the United States to serve or is enlisted to serve in the US Armed Forces for at least 12 years). They have categories known as CU6 authorized by Pub. L. 89-732 § 1 (Cuban Refugee), ES1/ES6 authorized by INA § 203(b)(2)(Soviet Scientist), EW3/EW8 authorized by INA § 203 (b)(3)(A)(iii) (Unskilled Worker), NP1/NP6 authorized by INA § 203 (a)(7) and INA § 203 (a)(8) for (Non-Preference Immigrant), may or may not have taken in Nazi refugees under Y1 authorized by Pub. L. 83-203 § 4(a)(1) - § 4(a)(2) for German expellee in West Germany, Berlin or Austria, may or may not have at least one or more cases of accepting polygamy to the State of Utah under one of these sketchy classes or private bill. Admit unmarried A11 Ameriasian son or daughter of USC born in Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Thailand or Vietnam (but not the Phillippines) under A11/A16 authorized by INA 203 (a)(1) and then also admit Child of A11 without any affidavit or parentage of A11 (unmarried Ameriasian son or daughter) also authorized by INA 203 (a)(1). They do not follow the US Code or Constitution that all officers of the Federal Department of Interior (non Bureau of Indian Affairs) have to take... Amendment VII... In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. Worse yet, they admit people for citizenship/resident alien in an alar carte fashion WITHOUT EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION under AY2 based on 292 U.S. App D.C. 150, 168, 948 F 2d 742 760 under the category (Ayuda class member, no employment authorization).
  7. ^ "Secretary Napolitano and USCIS Director Mayorkas Launch Redesigned USCIS Website" (Press release). United States Department of Homeland Security. September 22, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  8. ^ Khatri, Prakash (11 January 2007). "Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman's 2007 Annual Report" (PDF). United States Department of Homeland Security: 46–47. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  9. ^ "President's FY 2008 Budget Request for USCIS Focuses on Building an Immigration Service for the 21st Century" (PDF). USCIS FY2008. United States Department of Homeland Security: 2. 5 February 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  10. ^ "About Us".
  11. ^ Jordan, Miriam (2018-02-22). "Is America a 'Nation of Immigrants'? Immigration Agency Says No". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2018.

External links[edit]