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USCIS Service Requests: Recommendations to Improve the Quality of Responses to Inquiries From Individuals and Employers

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) developed the Service Request Management Tool (SRMT), an electronic inquiry system, to track and transfer an inquiry from an individual or employer to the USCIS office best able to assist. When a customer contacts USCIS for assistance, service requests may be generated by contractors and USCIS officers staffing the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) - USCIS' toll-free call center - or by personnel at field offices and service centers or initiating their own service requests through the USCIS website.

USCIS has prioritized the timeliness of service request responses, but the agency has not uniformly focused on the quality of responses. Stakeholders routinely report that responses to service requests are form letters that lack new information. When USCIS does not provide informative responses to service requests, individuals and employers find it necessary to make repeat requests in search of more accurate, more useful information. These repeat information requests increase the overall volume of calls and visits to USCIS, amplifying the level of frustration experienced by customers, and costing the agency, as well as individuals and employers, both time and money. More efficient use of the SRMT system’s capabilities would help USCIS address inquiries from individuals and employers, and at the same time enable the agency to identify trends and improve efficiency by reducing the overall number of customer service interactions.


On March 5, 2012, the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Service Ombudsman (Ombudsman’s Office) recommends that USCIS:

  1. Implement national quality assurance review procedures for service requests and make quality a priority;
  2. Establish a follow-up mechanism in the SRMT system so that USCIS employees can provide customers with multiple responses (e.g., initial, follow-up, final) for the same service request;
  3. Expand self-generated e-Requests to all form types;
  4. Pilot mandatory supervisory review of certain SRMT responses; and
  5. Post SRMT reports on the USCIS website and standardize the use of SRMT reports to identify spikes, trends or other customer service issues.
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