USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Customer Service

USCIS has issued a new customer service manual. The guidance is intended to be comprehensive and controlling. It supersedes any previous USCIS guidance on customer service. Using a customer service platform is extremely useful and the results they deliver speaks volumes.

These are some of the highlights:

Expedited Processing

Applications that were not filed via Premium Processing may be eligible for expedited processing if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

? Severe financial loss to company or person;
? Emergency situation (i.e. applicant is gravely ill);
? Humanitarian reasons (i.e. outbreak of war in the home country);
? Certain nonprofit organizations;
? Department of Defense or national interest situation;
? USCIS error; or
? Compelling interest of USCIS.

Please note that USCIS does not consider petitions that have Premium Processing Service available. USCIS may request additional documentation to support expedite requests.

Requests for expedited processing can be done in one of the following ways:

? Call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. The NCSC will then forward the Service Request to the office with jurisdiction over the case;
? Schedule an InfoPass appointment at a local USCIS office; or
? Write a letter to the field office or service center processing the case.

Expedite requests can be done for cases that are approaching regulatory processing times. For example, an application for EAD work authorization can be given a service request to expedite when it has been pending for more than 75 days.

Email Correspondence

USCIS service centers provide designated email boxes for customers to inquire about their pending or adjudicated petitions or applications. The email addresses for the Service Centers are:

? California Service Center: csc-ncsc-followup@dhs.gov
? Vermont Service Center: vsc.ncscfollowup@dhs.gov
? Nebraska Service Center: ncscfollowup.nsc@dhs.gov
? Texas Service Center: tsc.ncscfollowup@dhs.gov

Prior to submitting an email inquiry, customers must have called the NCSC to submit a service request. If the customer has not received a response within 15 days of the call to the NCSC, then the customer can email the service center where the case is pending. The email must include the service request reference.

If no response is received within 21 days of the email to the service center, customers may contact the USCIS Headquarters Office of Service Center Operations at: SCOPSSCATA@dhs.gov.

Complaints

There are several ways to submit complaints:

? Call NCSC and ask to speak with a supervisor;
? Make an InfoPass appointment at a local USCIS office;
? Written complaint by mail, email, or fax;
? Contact the Office of Inspector General directly; or
? Contact USCIS headquarters directly.

The customer service manual directs that customers should not be expected to know where to first submit a complaint, and that complaints should not be dismissed because the proper procedure was not followed.

The manual further directs that all complaints should be responded to in writing, by phone, or verbally (where the complaint is submitted in person). Responses should explain steps taken to resolve the issue. In cases where the complaint cannot be resolved in a reasonable time, the response should acknowledge the receipt of the complaint, when a resolution is expected, and any additional action that needs to be taken.

Graham Adair is committed to providing excellent customer service to its clients. We closely monitor all cases and work with USCIS as necessary to proper outcomes. If you have any questions or concerns on how your case is being handled by USCIS, please feel free to contact us at info@grahamadair.com.