This page addresses some frequently asked questions for the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Ombudsman). More responses to additional questions can be found here.
What types of cases will the Ombudsman office help with?
The Ombudsman’s jurisdiction is limited by statute to problems involving USCIS. The Ombudsman does not have the authority to assist with problems that individuals or employers may experience with U.S. Customer and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), or the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The Ombudsman provides case assistance to address the following procedural and technical issues:
- Cases that are 60 days past normal processing times
- Typographic errors in immigration documents
- USCIS’s failure to schedule biometrics appointment, interviews, naturalization oath ceremonies, or other appointments
- Refunds in cases of clear USCIS error
- Lost files and/or file transfer problems
- Change of address and mailing issues, including non-delivery of notices or action and/or completed immigration documents (e.g., Employment Authorization Cards, Permanent Resident Cards, etc.), except where USCIS properly mailed the notice or documents to the individual’s address on file and it was not returned
- Cases where the beneficiary may “age-out” of eligibility for the requested immigration benefit
The Ombudsman provides case assistance to address the following substantive matters:
- Applications and petitions that were improperly rejected by USCIS
- Ongoing, systemic issues that should be subjected to higher level review (e.g., the exercise of discretion, the misapplication of evidentiary standards, USCIS employees failing to comply with USCIS policy, etc.)
- Cases where an individual is in removal proceeding before the immigration Court and has an application or petition pending before USCIS that may have a bearing on the outcome of removal proceeding
- Clear errors of fact, or gross obvious misapplication of the relevant law by USCIS in Requests for Evidence, Notice of Intent to Deny, and denials
- Certain cases involving U.S. military personnel and their families (e.g., citizenship for military members and dependents, family-based survivor benefits for the immediate relatives, etc.).