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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

  • Did you know that USCIS’ Check Case Processing Times page may show you two different time frames?
    • The one labeled “processing time” shows the time it took to complete 80% of the cases adjudicated in the past six months. It does not indicate how soon USCIS will take action on your case.
    • The one labeled “inquiry date” lets you know when you can submit an inquiry to USCIS about the status of your case.
    • USCIS’ More Information About Case Processing Times page explains the difference.
  • To find your USCIS case inquiry date, follow these steps:
    1. Look at your receipt date. Your receipt date is on the receipt notice that USCIS sent you. 
    2. Go to USCIS’ Check Case Processing Times page, and select your (1) Form, (2) Form Category, and (3) Field Office or Service Center from the three drop-down menus. 
      • If you cannot find your form in the drop-down menu and your form has been pending for more than six months from your receipt date, then you can submit a case inquiry to USCIS.
      • If your case involves H-2A workers, DACA renewal, or the Rosario class action, see USCIS’ Outside Normal Processing Times page for more information.
    3. Select the blue “Get processing time” button. The page will show a processing time in a blue box. Do not stop here. This is not your case inquiry date.
    4. Scroll down to "When can I ask about my case?" 
    5. In the grey box that asks “When is your receipt date?”, enter your receipt date from the receipt notice that USCIS sent you. Then select the blue “Get Inquiry Date” button.
    6. You will then see one of two messages from USCIS:
      • Message 1: “Your case is processing normally”: If you see this message, it will also show the earliest date you can submit questions about your case to USCIS. That is your case inquiry date. Check this page regularly. Your case inquiry date may change.
        • If you see message 1, do not submit a case assistance request to the CIS Ombudsman unless USCIS has approved your expedite request and has not issued a notice or decision on your pending form within the last 45 days.
      • Message 2: “You can send us questions about your case by submitting a Service Request online”: If you see message 2, you will also see a link that allows you to submit a service request to USCIS to inquire about your case. 
        • If you submitted a service request to USCIS in the past 90 days and USCIS did not respond or resolve the issue within 60 days, you may submit a case assistance request to the CIS Ombudsman. 
        • Please expect to wait. It takes us some time to assign these types of requests due to the volume of requests we are currently receiving. 
  • Special Situations:
    • If you have a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, that is based on another pending form, please see Question 1 in the Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) section of our FAQ page.
    • If you contacted USCIS through one of its customer service tools in the last 90 days and USCIS has not acted on your form, there are two situations where you can submit a case assistance request with our office regardless of your USCIS case inquiry date. These 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 45 days ago and USCIS has not issued a notice or decision on your pending form.

  • Since November 2023, we have received a significant increase in case assistance requests related to Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support filed for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (CHNV). We can only help in the specific situations described below.
  • On May 17, 2023, USCIS updated how it processes Form I-134A for CHNV. Each month, USCIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can grant up to 30,000 travel authorizations on a case-by-case basis.
    • Each month, USCIS will:
      • Randomly select about 15,000 cases out of the pending Forms I-134A related to the CHNV parole program to process, regardless of filing date. 
      • Process approximately another 15,000 cases based on filing dates, which means that the oldest pending Form I-134A will be reviewed first.
  • This means that processing times will not be the same for all cases, and USCIS has not posted processing times for Form I-134A.
  • USCIS does not accept expedite requests for Form I-134A.
  • You must wait 180 days after filing before you can inquire with USCIS about the status of the Form I-134A. If you send a secure message through your USCIS online account before 180 days pass, you will see an alert that you cannot send USCIS a message at that time.  
  • The CIS Ombudsman cannot help you if your Form I-134A issue is only about:
    • Processing delays (USCIS has not posted processing times for Form I-134A; see its May 17, 2023 announcement for an explanation of Form I-134A processing)
    • Expedite requests (USCIS does not accept expedite requests for Form I-134A)
    • Wanting to overturn (or get an explanation for) a USCIS or CBP decision not to confirm or authorize travel (USCIS does not provide explanations for decisions not to confirm or authorization travel)
  • We can help only in three types of situations:
    • Correcting certain typographical errors (such as an email address or name) on your pending Form I-134A before CBP issues the travel authorization. If more than 45 days have passed since you uploaded the evidence to your USCIS online account and your online account does not reflect the requested corrections, you may submit DHS Form 7001 to request our help.
      • You can correct mistakes on your submitted Form I-134A through your USCIS online account. Upload your request and supporting evidence as “Unsolicited Evidence” in your account that: (1) identifies what information needs to be updated; and (2) supports the change you wish to make.
      • Do not call the USCIS Contact Center to correct mistakes on your Form I-134A unless you cannot correct the mistake through your online account.
      • Do not submit the beneficiary travel attestation until typographical errors are corrected.
      • For more information, see the "Correcting a Submitted Form I-134A" section of USCIS' Frequently Asked Questions About the Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (FAQs about CHNV) page.
    • Assisting when some family members have received their travel authorization, but other family members are still waiting. If more than 45 days have passed since you submitted a secure message to USCIS and the other family members have not received their travel authorizations, you may submit DHS Form 7001 to request our help.
      • Each family member who has not received their travel authorization must complete a separate DHS Form 7001.
      • In response to question 1 on DHS Form 7001, please include your most recent communications with USCIS. You can upload copies of the correspondence or secure messages.
      • In response to question 2 on DHS Form 7001, please include the names and receipt numbers for family members who have received their authorizations.
    • Getting a copy of the previously issued confirmation notice emailed to the beneficiary so they can set up their USCIS online account. If USCIS' Case Status Online page shows that USCIS confirmed your Form I-134A but the beneficiary has not received the email with their confirmation notice and more than 45 days have passed since you submitted a secure message to USCIS, you may submit DHS Form 7001 to request our help.
  • For more information, see USCIS’ Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans and FAQs about CHNV pages.   

  • The backlog of affirmative asylum applications—generally for those applying with USCIS and who are not in removal proceedings before the immigration court—has grown significantly, particularly in the last several years. This has meant that you may have been waiting years for USCIS to conduct your asylum interview or issue a decision on your application. 
  • Workload priorities related to border enforcement may affect USCIS’ ability to schedule all new applications for an interview within 21 days.
  • For this reason, the CIS Ombudsman has temporarily updated our process for case assistance requests related to affirmative asylum applications:
    • If more than 120 days have passed since you were interviewed and you have not yet received a decision, we will inquire with USCIS about your case and follow up with the applicable USCIS asylum office about your case every three months until USCIS takes action.  
    • If USCIS granted your urgent request to be scheduled for an interview outside of the priority order listed on its Affirmative Asylum Interview Scheduling page but more than two months have passed without receiving an interview notice, we also will inquire with USCIS about your case. 
    • Please make sure you provide documentation of your interview or USCIS’ approval for the urgent interview request.
    • If your case falls into USCIS’ third priority for scheduling affirmative asylum interviews, we will close your case assistance request and send you an email to inform you.
  • These changes do not apply to you if you are applying for asylum as an Afghan who was paroled into the U.S. through Operations Allies Welcome. USCIS is prioritizing these types of cases for interview and adjudication, and we will contact USCIS if the agency has not responded to your case inquiry after 30 days. 
  • These changes also do not apply to those applying for defensive asylum before the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s immigration courts in the Department of Justice.

  • As of June 28, you (or your attorney or accredited representative) can reschedule certain appointments for biometric services online without having to call the USCIS Contact Center
    • This online option is only for rescheduling existing biometrics appointments.
  • You must have a USCIS online account to reschedule your biometrics appointment online. You can create an account if you do not have one.
  • You cannot reschedule your biometrics appointment online if:
    • Your appointment is within the next 12 hours,
    • You have already rescheduled the appointment two or more times, or
    • Your appointment time has passed.
  • If you are unable to reschedule your biometrics appointment online, you will need to call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283
  • Remember: If you miss your biometrics appointment, USCIS may choose to consider a request to reschedule your biometrics appointment or may deny your application, petition, or request (see the USCIS Policy Manual for more details).

  • On January 23, 2023, USCIS announced it has extended the validity of Green Cards for 48 months beyond the expiration date on the card for conditional permanent residents who file or have filed the following forms:
  • Together, the receipt notice and your expired Green Card serve as proof of your continued status while your case is pending with USCIS and can be used for work and travel for 48 months beyond your Green Card expiration date.
  • Additionally, if you are a conditional permanent resident and plan to travel and remain outside of the United States for a year or longer, you should apply for a reentry permit by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document before you leave the United States.

Expired Alerts

April 21, 2023: Delays with Form I-134A case assistance requests

  • We have received a significant number of case assistance requests involving Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support. As a result, we are temporarily experiencing delays with reviewing case assistance requests about the Form I-134A. 
  • We understand how important this request is to you and those you wish to support, and we thank you for your patience as we work through our caseload. As a reminder, we are an independent office within the Department of Homeland Security. We are not part of USCIS, and only USCIS can approve or deny pending applications or petitions. 
  • Please remember that you may file Form I-134A only if you are in the United States and are agreeing to financially support a:
    • Ukrainian or their immediate family member as part of Uniting for Ukraine; or
    • Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, or Venezuelan or their immediate family member as part of the processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans.
  • We have shared with USCIS our concerns regarding delayed processing and the lack of information about processing times and have recommended that USCIS provide additional information about the Form I-134A to manage customer expectations.
  • You can find more information on USCIS’ Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support page. For updated FAQs, please see USCIS’ Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans and Frequently Asked Questions About Uniting for Ukraine pages.

June 28, 2023: Defensive asylum applications (Form I-589)

  • We have seen an increase in requests for case assistance from defensive asylum applicants seeking assistance with USCIS’ delays in issuing receipt notices and/or biometrics notices for their Forms I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. The agency is experiencing delays in issuing receipt notices and scheduling biometrics appointments for Forms I-589 for defensive asylum applicants (this is sometimes referred to as a “frontlog”). 

  • Defensive asylum applicants need these notices to comply with the biometrics requirements for upcoming immigration court hearings. Immigration judges can determine that a defensive asylum request has been abandoned for failure to comply with the biometrics requirements, and we have received feedback through case assistance requests and engagements about instances where this has happened. Applicants or their attorneys are unable to submit case inquiries directly with USCIS because they do not have a receipt number.  

  • If you have, or will file a case assistance request with us, please include a copy of the submission with delivery confirmation. We will contact USCIS, as appropriate, to relay the need to provide you with the requested receipt or biometrics notice. While we will prioritize and try to assist in these cases, USCIS is solely responsible for issuing these notices and we regret that we may be unable to assist some applicants to obtain a USCIS receipt or biometrics notice before their asylum hearing date. Individuals should not submit multiple requests as it may cause further processing delays.  

  • We have raised this issue with USCIS and will continue to elevate these concerns. 

January 11, 2022: Healthcare and childcare workers may request expedited processing for Employment Authorization Documents [updated on October 21, 2022]

  • 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.
  • On October 21, 2022, USCIS began accepting expedite requests from qualifying childcare and healthcare workers:
    • Who filed Form I-765 to apply for an initial EAD, and
    • The form has been pending with USCIS for over 90 days.
  • You may request expedited processing if: 
    • You are a qualifying healthcare or childcare worker (see the “Healthcare/Public Health” section on pages 7-9 of this Department of Homeland Security advisory memorandum to see if you qualify as a healthcare worker; see code 39-9011 in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) to see if you qualify as a childcare worker), and
    • Either of these apply to you:
      • Your EAD will expire within 30 days or has already expired, or
      • Your Form I-765 for an initial EAD has been pending for over 90 days.
  • 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.

January 24, 2022: How we are prioritizing case assistance requests

  • 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.

June 17, 2022: Employment-based Form I-485 Supplement J receipt notices, case status, and medical records (Form I-693)

  • 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.

October 7, 2022: Form I-90 receipt notices extend Green Card validity period for 24 months

  • Starting on September 26, 2022, USCIS began issuing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) receipt notices that automatically extend the validity of expired or expiring Green Cards for 24 months. The receipt notice, together with a Green Card, will serve as temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. You do not need to call the USCIS Contact Center to request an appointment to obtain an Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp unless your receipt has expired and you need immediate proof of your status for travel or employment authorization. 
  • If you are an LPR who needs to renew your Green Card and:
    • You properly file Form I-90 on or after September 26, 2022: USCIS will mail you a receipt notice that extends your Green Card for 24 months after the expiration date on the card. You should receive the receipt notice about 7-10 days after USCIS accepts your form.
    • You have a pending Form I-90 that you filed before September 26, 2022: USCIS will mail you an amended receipt notice that extends your Green Card for 24 months after the expiration date on the card. You may need to wait a few weeks to receive the amended receipt notice.
  • If you no longer have your Green Card, USCIS may issue you an ADIT stamp if you need temporary evidence of your LPR status. For this particular scenario, reach out to the USCIS Contact Center to schedule an appointment at a USCIS field office.

February 10, 2021: Application Support Center (ASC) appointments

  • 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.

May 14, 2021: Temporary suspension of biometrics for H-4, L-2, and E nonimmigrants

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.

Last Updated: 05/16/2024
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