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  3. Homeland Security Enterprise
  4. Ombudsman Offices
  5. CIS Ombudsman
  6. How to Submit a Case Assistance Request

How to Submit a Case Assistance Request

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) assists individuals and employers in resolving difficulties they are experiencing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We are an independent office in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and are not part of USCIS.

Please review the information on this page before you submit a case assistance request.

Before you request assistance from us, you must have contacted USCIS in the last 90 days and given the agency at least 60 days to try to resolve your problem.

1. Start by checking the status of your case.

2. Contact USCIS to try to resolve your issue.

Individuals, employers, attorneys, and accredited representatives may submit a request. 

  • If you are an attorney or accredited representative, you need to include a copy of the Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, on file with USCIS for the form you are seeking assistance with.
  • Family members, congressional caseworkers, designated school officials (DSOs), and others may help prepare the case assistance request. However, you must include written consent from the applicant or petitioner allowing us to communicate with you for the specific form and issue.

Please note you must put the petitioner’s or applicant’s name as the person encountering difficulties with USCIS in Section 5 of the DHS Form 7001. Do not enter the beneficiary, attorney, or accredited representative.

These are some of the most common types of difficulties or issues we can help with if you have been unable to resolve the issue by contacting USCIS. Also, see our Web Alerts for recent updates that may affect you if you want to request case assistance.

  • Undelivered USCIS notices or decisions
    Such as receipt notices, requests for evidence, appointment notices, or denial notices where USCIS systems indicate that it issued one, or instances where the U.S. Postal Service returned a card or document to USCIS as non-deliverable.
  • Aging out of eligibility
    Certain cases where the beneficiary may “age out” of eligibility for the requested immigration benefit. See USCIS’ Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) page for additional information.
  • U.S. military personnel
    Certain cases involving U.S. military personnel and their families.
  • Improper rejections
    Applications and petitions that were improperly rejected by USCIS due to clear errors of fact or obvious misapplication of the relevant law.
  • Typographical errors
    Typographic errors (such as the wrong name or date of birth) in immigration documents, such as Green Cards or employment authorization documents.
  • Emergency or hardship
    Certain cases involving an emergency or a hardship that fall under the USCIS expedite criteria.
  • Expedites
    Expedite requests approved by USCIS more than 2 months ago.
  • Transfers to the Department of State
    Delays in sending approved petitions to the Department of State.
  • Form I-134A (only three types of issues)
    We can help with only these three issues for Form I-134A cases for the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) and Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (CHNV) parole processes. See our web alert for more information.
    • Correcting certain typographical errors (such as an email address or name) on your pending Form I-134A before U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issues the travel authorization;
    • Assisting when some family members have received their travel authorization, but other family members are still waiting; or
    • Getting a copy of the previously issued confirmation notice that was emailed to the beneficiary so they can set up their USCIS online account.

With few exceptions, we cannot help if:

  • It is before the case inquiry date for your case
    You can find your case inquiry date on USCIS' Check Case Processing Times page under the "When can I ask about my case?" section after choosing your form category and USCIS location.
    • The two exceptions (cases we can help with) are:
      • If there is a statutory or regulatory processing time requirement (such as Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, for Special Immigrant Juveniles; Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for L-1 petitions), or
      • USCIS approved your expedite request more than 60 days ago.
  • There are no published processing times and you have not waited 6 months
    We cannot help if there is no published processing time for the form type, and less than 6 months have passed since you filed your form with USCIS and submitted a case inquiry to USCIS.
  • You are asking about Form I-134A delays, expedites, or overturning a decision
    We cannot help if your concern is related to a Form I-134A processing delay or expedite request, or you want to overturn (or get an explanation for) a decision not to confirm or authorize travel. USCIS is not accepting expedite requests and does not provide explanations for these decisions.
  • Your expedite request was denied
    We cannot help if USCIS recently denied your expedite request.
  • You want legal advice
    We cannot give you legal advice.
  • You want help with issues that do not involve USCIS
    We only have the authority to work on issues involving USCIS.
  • A congressional representative is currently inquiring for you
    We cannot help if it has been fewer than 45 calendar days since your congressional representative made an inquiry to USCIS.

We also cannot:

  • Replace the formal appeal or motion process or change the deadline for submitting an appeal.
  • Communicate with anyone other than the benefit requestor (the individual who signed the submitted form to USCIS) or the attorney without written consent from the benefit requestor.
    • If you are applying, or applied, for T, U, VAWA, or refugee status and do not have an attorney or accredited representative, your address must match the address in USCIS systems. We can only communicate with you via U.S. postal mail to comply with the law and keep your case confidential.
  • Compel USCIS to take action on a pending application, petition, or request.
  • Fix actions resulting from bad information given by third parties, such as legal representatives or DSOs.

If you have tried to resolve your issue through USCIS’ customer service tools but still need help, you can submit a case assistance request in one of three ways.

We can bring issues to USCIS’ attention and recommend solutions, but only USCIS can approve or deny pending applications or petitions, including expedite requests. Please note that filing a case assistance request does not replace USCIS’ appeal or motion process. It also does not extend any USCIS deadlines you may face.

  • Go to our FAQ page for information that may address your issue and help you decide if you want to submit a case assistance request.

Remember to include supporting documentation (and the Form G-28 where applicable) with your case assistance request. For example, if you are requesting assistance with a USCIS error, submit an explanation and documentation to show why you believe there is an error and how you have asked USCIS to address your concern.

  • Second Option - Email

    If you are unable to submit the DHS Form 7001 online or prefer to email your request, you can download the DHS Form 7001 with instructions and email the completed and signed form with supporting documentation to cisombudsman@hq.dhs.gov.

    • If you email the form to us, it can take two to three weeks to manually enter your information into our system. We do not review your request before it is entered into our system.
    • If you are outside the United States and unable to submit your case assistance request online, you can email the completed form to us.

    Please answer all questions clearly and concisely.

  • Third Option - Mail

    You may also mail your DHS Form 7001 and supporting documents to:

    Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman
    Department of Homeland Security
    ATTN: Case Assistance
    Mail Stop 0180
    Washington, D.C. 20528

    If you mail a paper DHS Form 7001 to us, it can take two to three weeks or more for our office to receive it and manually enter your information into our system (even for express mail). We do not review your request before it is entered into our system. Please answer all questions clearly and concisely.

Here are the steps in our case assistance process after you submit a DHS Form 7001, Request for Case Assistance. To ensure that you receive our emails, please add cisombudsman@hq.dhs.gov to your email contacts.

  1. You will receive a confirmation email

    • We email you or your legal representative a confirmation that we received your case assistance request. The email will include your CIS Ombudsman Request Number and a copy of your DHS Form 7001.
      • If you submit DHS Form 7001 online, you will typically receive the email within 24 hours.
      • If you email or mail DHS Form 7001, you will receive your CIS Ombudsman Request Number by email or mail after we enter the information into our system. This can take two to three weeks or more.
    • If you requested that we communicate with you only by mail (or we are required to), we will mail you a letter with your CIS Ombudsman Request Number.
    • If you are an applicant or self-petitioner for (or were previously granted) T, U, VAWA, asylee, or refugee status, we can only communicate with you by sending mail to the address listed for you in USCIS systems to follow the law and keep your case confidential.
      • We can communicate with your legal representative if the information in USCIS systems matches the information in Section 10 of the DHS Form 7001 and a Form G-28 was provided to us for the form you are seeking assistance with.
    • You can use your CIS Ombudsman Request Number to Check the Status of Your Request.
  2. We will assign your request

    • We review your response in Section 2 of the DHS Form 7001 to determine the primary reason you are seeking our assistance and how to prioritize your request. 
    • Our goal is to assign requests that fall under one of our priority issues to an analyst within 14 business days. Priority issues are ones that USCIS can quickly address. 
    • Requests involving only USCIS processing delays may take longer to be assigned to one of our analysts.
  3. We are reviewing your request

    • If we need more information, we will email you and ask you to respond within 5 calendar days.
    • Use the Upload Requested Documents (after submitting your request) tab on our online DHS Form 7001 page to submit the requested documents or other documents that you have not already submitted.
    • We research USCIS systems, applicable laws, regulations, and policies and review USCIS processing times to see if we can assist you. 
    • If we cannot assist you, we move to Step 5 below.  
  4. We contacted USCIS about your request

    • If we can assist, we will contact the appropriate USCIS office about the issue described for the primary form listed on the DHS Form 7001, and we will email you to let you know.
    • We will follow up with USCIS (and notify you) until we receive a response that addresses the main issue in your request.
  5. We closed your request

    • We close your request if it is not the type of issue we can help with.
    • Otherwise, we close your request after USCIS addresses our inquiry.

While we are working on your request, you do not need to contact us unless your situation has changed. For example, email us at cisombudsman@hq.dhs.gov if:

  • Your case is resolved by USCIS after you submit a case assistance request (include your CIS Ombudsman Request Number).
  • Your address changes. You must also change your address with USCIS (you will need the receipt numbers for all pending applications or petitions).
  • You have a new attorney representing you for the specific form listed on your DHS Form 7001.

You can find more information and resources on submitting a case assistance request below:

  • CIS Ombudsman Web Alerts: Alerts provide information on recent updates that may affect you if you want to request case assistance from the CIS Ombudsman.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Learn more about the CIS Ombudsman’s processes, including questions and answers on how to request case assistance; expedites, appeals, and requests from USCIS; and how we process your request.
  • Tips for Submitting a Case Assistance Request: Tip sheet on how to best request case assistance from our office.
  • How to Request Case Assistance from the CIS Ombudsman – Infographic: One-page infographic to learn how to request case assistance from our office. It is available in English, Arabic (العربية), Simplified Chinese (中文), Dari (دری), French (Français), Haitian Creole (Kreyòl ayisyen), Pashto (پښتو), Portuguese (Português), Russian (Русский), Somali (Soomaali), Spanish (Español), Ukrainian (українська), and Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt).
Last Updated: 07/09/2024
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