Information on the New USCIS Contact Center Tip Sheet
CIS Ombudsman Issues a New Guide for Communicating With the USCIS Contact Center
October 12, 2021
Over the past several years, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been moving away from allowing inquiries and providing information at the various offices where cases are adjudicated, and instead centralizing everything at the USCIS “Contact Center”, which has digital, online, and telephonic components. Recently, the USCIS Contact Center has made changes to reduce telephonic live assistance, requiring people to use the online self-help tools and digital inquiry channels. Unfortunately, many inquiries and problems can’t be addressed online or digitally, and require telephonic live assistance.
Therefore, the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman has published a Tip Sheet on how to communicate effectively with the USCIS Contact Center to ensure the best use of live telephonic assistance.
The Tip Sheet includes information regarding case status inquires, emergency filings, expedites, rescheduling, and following up when a case is beyond the normal processing time. It also has a link to check a specific case status, as well as to lookup USCIS processing times in general.
Here is the full statement from the CIS Ombudsman:
The CIS Ombudsman has published a Tip Sheet on how to communicate effectively with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Contact Center. USCIS encourages the use of online self-help tools and inquiry channels to ensure the best use of live telephonic assistance.
The CIS Ombudsman’s USCIS Contact Center Tip Sheet provides guidance on:
when to call the USCIS Contact Center;
who can receive case information;
how to navigate the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system;
when to expect USCIS call-backs; and
using an interpreter when receiving live assistance.
In addition, the Tip Sheet addresses how and when to use the USCIS Contact Center to reschedule appointments and interviews, how to request expedited processing, as well as how the agency seeks to ensure USCIS Contact Center representatives provide accurate and helpful information to callers.
The CIS Ombudsman continues to encourage USCIS to become more transparent regarding access to its tools, especially where live assistance is required to access a benefit. The CIS Ombudsman has written in recent Annual Reports to Congress, including in its 2021 Annual Report, on the challenges USCIS is experiencing to meet its mission to keep applicants informed of adjudication progress. The USCIS Contact Center’s limited resources are focused on helping those seeking to reschedule appointments and interviews.