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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. Please also see our FAQ page for more details about our processes, how we interact with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and information by topics.

Current Alerts

  • The CIS Ombudsman continues to receive a significant number of requests for case assistance related to pending employment-based adjustment of status applications. We understand the time-sensitive nature of these requests and know that USCIS is committed to maximizing employment-based immigrant visa usage for the rest of Fiscal Year 2022. Given USCIS’ focus on maximizing its resources to adjudicate these applications and the rapid movement of these applications, our office is unable to retrieve real-time information and is accordingly unable to provide individual case assistance and regular updates at this time.
     
  • However, we hope the following information is helpful and reassuring:
     
    • Confirmation related to your request to transfer the underlying basis of your Form I-485:
      • If you submitted a Form I-485 Supplement J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer or Request for Job Portability Under INA Section 204(j), to the Western Forms Center to make a transfer request — While USCIS previously experienced delays in processing receipt notices for Supplement Js filed with the Western Forms Center, it is now processing receipt notices within two weeks. 
      • If you did not use Supplement J to make a transfer request — USCIS will not provide a receipt notice or a written response to your transfer request, and we are unable to follow up on these types of requests with the agency. 
         
    • USCIS’ Case Status Online tool’s “temporary pause” message: Even after USCIS receives your request to transfer the underlying basis of your Form I-485, you may continue to see this message in Case Status Online

      “We are temporarily pausing work on your application because an immigrant visa number is not immediately available to you. Once an immigrant visa number becomes immediately available to you, we will resume processing of your application.”  

      This is not a USCIS error — according to USCIS, your case status does not automatically change once USCIS receives your transfer request. This message about visa availability will remain in place until USCIS takes action on your Form I-485 (for example, issuing a request for evidence (RFE), decision, or notice transferring the application between offices). 

      The CIS Ombudsman is aware that applicants are seeing this updated case status even after USCIS has issued a Supplement J receipt notice and moved applications from a service center to the National Benefits Center or a USCIS field office. We have made USCIS aware of this issue. 
       
    • Confirmation that USCIS received your Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record: Please do not send a Form I-693 to USCIS unless the agency sends you an RFE asking for the form. USCIS does not provide written confirmation after it has received evidence, including a Form I-693. 
       
    • Forms I-485 pending outside of published processing times: We understand that there are concerns with the order in which USCIS is processing certain applications, and we will continue to raise this concern with the agency as a systemic issue. At this time, we  are unable to assist with individual requests for case assistance related to employment-based Form I-485 applications pending outside of published processing times. 

For more information, please see USCIS’ Fiscal Year 2022 Employment-Based Adjustment of Status FAQs page, Green Card for Employment-Based Immigrants page, and Permanent Workers page.

  • At this time, we are unable to assist with individual requests outside processing times if that is the only issue you are encountering. We are working with USCIS leadership to address lengthy processing times for various USCIS forms as a systemic issue.
     
  • We review incoming requests within two business days to identify issues and to prioritize those requests where our intervention may be most effective.
     
  • Due to the unprecedented processing delays at USCIS and the subsequent volume of requests for case assistance we receive, we are temporarily prioritizing review of the following types of requests:
    • Cases where you did not receive a USCIS notice or decision (such as requests for evidence, appointment notices, or decisions) even though USCIS systems indicate it issued one;
    • Instances where the U.S. Postal Service returned a Green Card or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to USCIS as non-deliverable;
    • Cases where a noncitizen will “age-out” within 90 days (see Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) for additional information);
    • Certain cases involving U.S. military personnel and their families;
    • Instances of clear USCIS error where an application/petition was improperly rejected by USCIS;
    • Individuals in removal proceedings with a hearing scheduled within six months;
    • Delays with USCIS notifying the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center of an approved petition; and
    • Expedite requests approved by USCIS more than two months ago.
       
  • Our goal is to confer with USCIS on these cases within 14 days of receiving the case assistance request.
     
  • Please be mindful that filing a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman does not protect your appeal rights or extend any USCIS deadlines you may face. You must file the response to a notice or an appeal or motion to reopen or reconsider with USCIS within the specified timeframe. 

  • On December 28, 2021, USCIS began accepting expedite requests from qualifying healthcare workers with pending Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal applications (Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization). On March 21, 2022, USCIS began accepting expedite requests from qualifying childcare workers with pending EAD renewal applications.
     
  • You may request expedited processing if: 
  • To request an expedite, call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) or by asking Emma after you have obtained a receipt notice. You should be prepared to provide evidence that you are a qualifying healthcare or childcare worker. If the evidence you provide is insufficient, USCIS may not expedite your Form I-765.
     
  • Please allow USCIS at least 45 days after USCIS approves your expedite request to issue a decision or notice on your Form I-765 before submitting a request for case assistance with our office.
     
  • Please note the CIS Ombudsman is unable to grant an expedite request or overturn an expedite request that USCIS has denied.

  • Starting May 17, 2021, USCIS temporarily suspended the biometrics requirement for certain applicants filing Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status requesting an extension of stay in or change of status to H-4, L-2, and E derivative status. USCIS said it will adjudicate these Form I-539 applications based on biographic information and related background checks without capturing fingerprints and a photograph.
     
  • USCIS stated this suspension will last through May 17, 2023.

  • USCIS has indicated it will not expedite ASC appointments except in extremely rare circumstances.
     
  • You may file a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman if:
    • Your ASC appointment was scheduled and then cancelled due to COVID-19 and was not rescheduled within 45 days.
    • You meet all four of these criteria:
      • Your ASC appointment was not scheduled for the location closest to the address on file with USCIS for you at the time the appointment was set, 
      • You are unable to travel to the designated location,
      • You have already asked USCIS to reschedule your appointment, and
      • USCIS has not rescheduled your appointment within 45 days from the request.
Last Updated: 06/29/2022
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