The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. As a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, the USCIS was created to strengthen the security and integrity of the immigration system. Its chief purpose is to administer the process of obtaining citizenship and/or naturalization. Furthermore, this agency also attempts to assist and educate people on how to initiate the immigration process for themselves.
The USCIS’s official website, found at http://www.uscis.gov/, is designed for the following users:
- Individuals who want to come to the United States,
- Permanent residents who want to become U.S. Citizens,
- S. Citizens who want to petition for a family member,
- Employers who want to verify the immigration status of employees,
- Attorneys who want to obtain forms, and
- Individuals who want to learn about Immigration and Nationality laws.
The USCIS’s website is user-friendly, and it provides access to immigration laws, forms, and handbooks and manuals, and a means for users to set up appointments and check the status of their cases. The following is a list of some of the content that the agency makes available to the public:
- Immigration Forms: http://www.uscis.gov/forms
- Citizenship Application ( Form N-400)
- Green Card Application (Form I-485)
- Petition for Relatives (Form I-130)
- Employment Authorization (Form I-765)
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)
- Employment Verification (Form I-9)
- Renew or Replace My Green Card (Form I-90)
- Information on how to apply for Naturalization or Permanent Residency: http://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/apply-citizenship and http://www.uscis.gov/greencard
- Immigration Handbooks and Manuals
- Appointment-Maker: https://infopass.uscis.gov/
- E-Verify Feature: http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify
- Application Status-Checker: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do
- Access to Immigration and Nationality Act (Legal Code): http://www.uscis.gov/laws/immigration-and-nationality-act
- Access to other laws related to citizenship and naturalization:
- Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations: http://www.uscis.gov/iframe/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/8cfr.html
- Precedent decisions: http://www.uscis.gov/laws/precedent-decisions
- USCIS Settlement Notices and Agreements : http://www.uscis.gov/laws/legal-settlement-notices/uscis-settlement-notices-and-agreements
- Policy Memoranda: http://www.uscis.gov/laws/policy-memoranda
Everyone benefits from the information on http://www.uscis.gov/. The government wins because the electronic access to the information decreases its workload. The people win because, provided they have access to the Internet, they can fulfill many of the citizenship and naturalization requirements online, rather than wait in line and/or pay the expense to travel to the United States. Even lawyers can use this website to help their clients with immigration matters.
How to search and locate information on the website:
The simplicity of uscis.gov allows even a computer-novice to quickly navigate through the website. Below, I will demonstrate how to access the application for naturalization and how to make an appointment.
- Accessing the Application for Naturalization:
- Making an Appointment:
- Step 1: Access the website
- Step 2: Click on the Calendar icon, entitled “Make an Appointment” (middle of the page)
- Step 3: Click on the link “Click here for English” or the language that you prefer (left side of page)
- Step 4: Click on the link “Make your appointment with INFOPASS”
- Step 5: Enter your Zip code or Country and click Continue
- Step 6: Select an Office and click on Continue
- Step 7: Select the kind of service you need and click Continue
- Step 8: Click Continue after you read the alternative options available
- Step 9: Enter your information and click Continue.
For more information please visit http://www.uscis.gov.
~ Luis Jimenez, L’15 ~
Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.