Did you know that the USCIS has an official ombudsman? The CIS Ombudsman's Office works with applicants to improve the quality of citizenship/immigration services by helping applicants with resolving certain case issues. The current seventh Ombudsman is Phyllis Coven. Her office can help with:
- Cases that are taking longer than the estimated processing time
- Typographic errors in important documents
- Electronic file transfer problems
- Delivery issues such as delays, non delivery notices, or lack of action in delivery: change of address or mailing information
- Emergency situations that fall under the USCIS expedite criteria
- Age out eligibility issues
- Reconsideration of denials or improperly rejected petitions
- Cases with US military personnel and their families
- When the applicant is in removal proceedings and the application has a significant impact on the outcome of the court case
When seeking ombudsman assistance, an applicant must follow certain procedures and understand that their request for assistance may take many months to resolve. Currently, the ombudsman office is experiencing a high number of requests for assistance, resulting in a huge backlog. According to the ombudsman,
As USCIS is facing unprecedented case processing backlogs, our office is also experiencing a record number of requests for case assistance. We have a plan in place to respond to all pending requests by the end of September 2021. Eliminating our backlog and scaling up the office's capacity to serve customers are my top priorities. I believe that setting clear expectations as to when our office can and cannot provide assistance will enable us to serve the public more efficiently.
Here are our tips for requesting ombudsman case assistance:
- Visit the ombudsman's website at https://www.dhs.gov/case-assistance
- Before requesting ombudsman case assistance, read the instructions and FAQs very carefully
- Determine whether you have exhausted all remedies available listed under Seek Help from USCIS First section of the case assistance page
- Be sure you have scanned copies of any USCIS or other relevant documents to upload with the request
- Have the following information available in order to complete DHS Form 7001 if applicable: (1) A-Number; (2) All USCIS receipt numbers related to each application or petition; (3) Documents submitted to or received from USCIS; and (4) other information or documentation that is important to the case.
- Save a copy of your ombudsman request before submitting it
- Check your email frequently, including spam or junk folders, for any correspondence from the ombudsman's office after submitting your request
- Respond quickly to any further requests for information from the ombudsman
While it can be a good resource, keep in mind the CIS Ombudsman can bring issues to USCIS' attention and provide impartial recommendations to the agency on how to resolve problems. However, it has no authority to decide your case or change any USCIS decisions.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, text us using our chat box, or complete our contact form.