What Is USCIS?
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security that handles visas, naturalization, asylum claims, work permits, and most other immigration-related processes. USCIS assumed the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s administrative and service responsibilities in 2003, at which time the INS’s other responsibility–immigration enforcement–was transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The agency now contains over 18,000 individuals distributed between a range of offices and directorates at 250 sites worldwide, and is almost entirely self-funded through fees for its services.
USCIS Services for Immigrants
Broadly speaking, the fundamental role of USCIS is to process the paperwork involved with coming to or remaining in the United States, e.g. visas and citizenship requests, as mentioned above. Less known, however, is that USCIS also manages programs and resources to help immigrants adapt to and thrive in American culture, and even provides geneological records for historians and family researchers. The USCIS web site includes a full overview of all the aforementioned services. For further information on immigration enforcement functions, which fall outside USCIS’s mission, please refer to the ICE and CBP sites, or contact your immigration attorney for individualized guidance.
Assistance with USCIS Processes
Given its wide purview, USCIS maintains several dozen current forms, all of which are available online via the USCIS forms page. Many of these forms facilitate life-changing events: beginning a job in the US, helping family members immigrate, or even obtaining US citizenship. In light of the seriousness, cost, and processing time involved with these forms, it is critical to submit them correctly, lest an error cause a lengthy and expensive delay. If you are pursuing or helping a loved one pursue an immigration process, then a call to Seattle Law Group is one of the most effective steps you can take.
At Seattle Law Group, our highly experienced attorneys know the USCIS forms and broader US immigration laws inside and out. From preparing acceptable documentation to understanding the bureaucracy, SLG lawyers are here to guide you through the entire immigration process.