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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the CIS Ombudsman’s processes and topics related to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

CIS Ombudsman Processes

1. Is the CIS Ombudsman’s office part of USCIS?

No. Our office is independent and not part of USCIS. We are part of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters and report directly to the deputy secretary of DHS.

Because we are not part of USCIS, we cannot approve or deny an immigration form or change a decision made by USCIS. We also cannot provide legal advice. Go to our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page to learn what we can and cannot help with.

1. What issues does the CIS Ombudsman help with?

The CIS Ombudsman is an office of last resort for case assistance, and we ask that you first attempt to resolve the issue with USCIS before submitting a request to our office.

Go to our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page to see how to seek help from USCIS. The page also includes the most up-to-date list of the types of issues we can and cannot help with. Please also read our Web Alerts page for recent updates that may affect you if you want to request case assistance from our office.

2. How do I submit a case assistance request?

Please go to our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page for instructions, including how to seek help from USCIS first. Please also read our Web Alerts page for recent updates that may affect you if you want to request case assistance from our office.

Please remember to submit supporting documentation with your case assistance request, correspondence from USCIS, proper consent by the applicant or petitioner, and a properly signed Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative if you are an attorney or accredited representative. If you are requesting case assistance because you believe there is clear USCIS error, submit an explanation of why you believe there is an error and copies of the denial or rejection notice, original submission, and appeal and/or motion receipt notice with supporting documentation.

Please be mindful that filing a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman does not protect your appeal and motion rights or extend any USCIS deadlines you may face. If you received a request for evidence or other notice requesting information, you must respond to USCIS within the timeframe noted on the notice even if you disagree with the request, or you risk getting denied for failing to respond. If you received a denial notice and believe there is clear USCIS error, you should file an appeal or motion to reopen or reconsider by the due date listed on the denial notice or you will lose your right to appeal.

3. Who is considered a petitioner or a beneficiary?

The petitioner is an employer or individual (such as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) who files a petition on behalf of a noncitizen. The beneficiary is the noncitizen for whom the petition is submitted. We cannot assist the beneficiary of a petition unless the petitioner's consent is provided with the DHS Form 7001.

4. Who is considered an applicant?

An applicant is the individual who signs and applies for an immigration benefit with USCIS. There are some circumstances where an applicant also needs a petitioner’s consent, such as with multiple applications/petitions filed together where the underlying petition has not yet been approved. For example, if an underlying immigrant visa petition (such as a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers) is not yet approved, the petitioner's consent is required to request information about the immigrant visa petition filed together with it (such as a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

5. Who needs to sign the case assistance request and provide consent?

When we receive a case assistance request, we initially check for two items:

  • The individual who signed the form submitted to USCIS must have signed and dated DHS Form 7001 to provide proper consent for the case assistance request. If you are requesting assistance on an application that depends on an immigrant petition (such as an employment-based Form I-140 or family-based Form I-130), please have the petitioner who signed the Form I-140 or I-130 also provide consent; and
  • A legal representative (if any) must have submitted a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, and it must match the one submitted to USCIS for the form for which you are seeking assistance.

If you are an applicant for T, U, VAWA, or refugee status or were previously granted the status, we must check for two additional items:

  • 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. If your address with USCIS is incorrect, go to USCIS’ How to Change Your Address page to see how to update it; and
  • If you do not have a legal representative, you must have provided your actual (“wet”) signature. You can do so by signing the consent part of the DHS Form 7001, scanning it, and uploading it as a supporting document with your online DHS Form 7001.

If any of these items is missing or inaccurate, we will close your case assistance request and will not be able to communicate with you until you correct the issue.

6. My family members also need help with their immigration case. Can I include them all on the same case assistance request?

Each family member experiencing difficulties with USCIS must file a separate DHS Form 7001 and provide their consent to the CIS Ombudsman’s office. This will allow us to research each individual’s case and reach out to the appropriate USCIS office with jurisdiction over your family member’s pending case. A parent may, of course, complete a DHS Form 7001 for a minor child.

7. I filed multiple petitions and need help. Can I include them all on the same case assistance request?

If you are an employer or individual who filed multiple petitions on behalf of separate individuals, you must file a separate DHS Form 7001 for each distinct receipt number.

8. I have multiple applications pending with USCIS. If I list these receipt numbers on my DHS Form 7001, can you inquire with USCIS on all of them?

Our inquiries to USCIS are generally for one receipt number—with a few exceptions. The three situations where you can list multiple forms on the same DHS Form 7001 are:

Otherwise, if you would like our assistance with more than one pending application or petition, please complete a separate DHS Form 7001 and include the USCIS contact dates and SRMT confirmation numbers or USCIS responses for the specific receipt number.

9. What are the most common case assistance issues?

In 2021, some of the most common issues were processing delays, difficulties in obtaining appointments at a local USCIS office or application support center, and file transfer delays.

1. What do I do if my case needs expedited processing?

You must first request expedited processing from USCIS. Before you do so, review the criteria outlined in the USCIS Policy Manual. Not every circumstance that fits under one of the USCIS expedite criteria categories results in expedited processing. For example, if you request expedited processing for an application for employment authorization or student status, USCIS has stated it is not enough that you lost your job. You must provide evidence of other compelling factors that call for expedited treatment.

USCIS does not offer expedited processing for deferred action requests, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). For more information about requests for consideration of DACA, please visit USCIS’ Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) page.

Our office cannot grant an expedite request and we cannot submit the request to USCIS for you. However, if USCIS did not request supporting documentation from you before it issued a decision on your expedite request, we may be able to share your documentation with USCIS and ask that USCIS reconsider after reviewing the supporting documentation. When you complete the DHS Form 7001, please include:

  • A description of how you meet USCIS’ expedite criteria,
  • The date you submitted the expedite request,
  • The USCIS service inquiry confirmation number (also known as SRMT number), and
  • Copies of your documentation to support your expedite request.

Please note that we cannot overturn an expedite request that USCIS has denied.

2. Does requesting case assistance extend the time I have to respond to a USCIS request or notice?

No. Submitting a case assistance request to the CIS Ombudsman does not extend USCIS deadlines to respond to a request or other notice. If you received a request for evidence (RFE) or other notice from USCIS, you must respond to USCIS with the requested information by the due date on the notice, even if you disagree with the request. Otherwise, USCIS may think you have abandoned your case and deny it.

3. Does requesting case assistance pause or delay the time I have to appeal a USCIS decision?

No. Submitting a case assistance request to the CIS Ombudsman does not pause or delay the time you have to appeal a USCIS decision. If you received a denial notice and believe there is clear USCIS error, you must file the appeal or motion to reopen or reconsider by the due date listed on the denial notice or you will lose your right to appeal. If you believe there is clear USCIS error, please provide us with copies of the denial notice, original submission, and appeal or motion with supporting documentation.

See USCIS’ Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion page and Questions and Answers: Appeals and Motions page for more information.

1. What happens after submitting a case assistance request?

Please go to the “After You Submit a Request” section on our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page for details.

2. What cases does the CIS Ombudsman prioritize?

Due to the unprecedented processing delays at USCIS and the subsequent volume of case assistance requests we have been receiving, 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 that it issued one (If you have a USCIS online account, be sure to check it regularly for any notices or secure messages from USCIS);
  • 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 may “age-out” of eligibility for the requested immigration benefit 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; or
    • You marked only consular processing on the Form I-130 or Form I-140 but USCIS has not forwarded your approved petition to the Department of State and more than 2 months have passed since the approval date; or
    • You submitted the required initial evidence with your form, but USCIS failed to acknowledge the evidence and denied the application/petition; 
  • Individuals in removal proceedings with a hearing scheduled within 6 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 2 months ago.

We review the description provided in Section 8 of all requests within two business days to identify these cases, and our goal is to confer with USCIS on cases that fall under the above issues within 14 business days of receiving the request.

3. Is the CIS Ombudsman still helping with cases pending outside of USCIS’ published processing times?

Due to the unprecedented processing delays at USCIS and the resulting volume of case assistance requests we have been receiving, it is taking us longer to assist when the only issue is the case is outside processing times. We will still assist with these types of requests, but it will take us some time before they are assigned to one of our immigration law analysts to review because we are prioritizing requests with the issues listed above.

We will continue to work with USCIS’ leadership to address its lengthy delays across all form types.

4. My priority date is current but USCIS has not adjudicated my Form I-485 yet. Can you ask USCIS to adjudicate my case?

The underlying immigrant petition filed on your behalf must be approved and the priority date must be current before USCIS will adjudicate your pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If these conditions are met, you can check USCIS’ case processing times to determine whether you can submit a case inquiry with USCIS for being outside the posted processing time. With few exceptions, our office cannot help if your case is pending within published processing times, even if the priority date is current.

By Topic

1. Why didn’t USCIS mail me a biometrics appointment notice for my Form I-539?

There are two possible answers to this question. First, USCIS may have temporarily suspended biometrics requirements for your type of Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Check USCIS’ May 13, 2021 announcement to see if this applies to you.

If your case is one where you still need to provide biometrics, USCIS will not mail you a paper biometrics appointment notice if you filed Form I-539 online. Instead, the biometrics appointment notice will appear in your USCIS online account under “Documents” once your appointment is scheduled. You still are required to bring a printed copy of your biometric services appointment notice to your Application Support Center appointment.

If you need to reschedule a biometric services appointment, call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) before the date and time of your current appointment. You will need to show that you have a reasonable excuse (also known as “good cause”) for rescheduling. If you do not call before your scheduled appointment or do not establish good cause, USCIS may not reschedule the appointment. If you do not appear for your appointment and it is not rescheduled, USCIS may consider your Form I-539 abandoned and may deny it.

Visit USCIS’ Check Your Eligibility to File Form I-539 Online page for more information.

1. How do I update my address with USCIS?

If you have moved or plan on moving, you must notify USCIS. For most people, the easiest way is to submit the change of address online, which will update your address for all pending applications or petitions at the same time. See USCIS’ How to Change Your Address page for more information, including certain situations when you must mail in a paper Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card.

Unless otherwise noted on USCIS’ page, mailing Form AR-11 alone does not update your address for any pending application or petition. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will not forward secure documents such as a permanent resident card (Green Card) or employment authorization document to a new address, so USCIS must receive your new address before it mails these documents to you.

Also, changing your address with USPS will not change your address with USCIS or with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) if you have an active or pending court case. Please update your address with both USCIS and USPS (and EOIR if you are in immigration proceedings).

1. How can I make my call to the USCIS Contact Center more effective?

To help our customers, the CIS Ombudsman posted a tip sheet on how to most effectively reach out to the USCIS Contact Center. The USCIS Contact Center made changes to reduce reliance on live phone assistance while promoting the use of online self-help tools and inquiry options such as Ask Emma (which you can access by going to www.uscis.gov and clicking on the “Need Help? Ask Emma” icon at the top right of the page).

2. When can I contact the USCIS Lockbox?

To help our customers, the CIS Ombudsman posted a tip sheet on When to Contact a USCIS Lockbox.

1. What if I am experiencing processing delays related to my EAD?

  • If your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, is based on a Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (even if it was not filed at the same time), you must first look at USCIS’ processing times to verify that the Form I-539 is outside of the published processing times. USCIS will not adjudicate the Form I-765 before your Form I-539 (regardless of the processing times for Form I-765). We understand that these delays cause many difficulties for applicants, not only regarding their work authorization but also with driver’s licenses, health insurance, and the ability to travel. We continue to work with USCIS on solutions to mitigate these problems.
  • If your Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (not the associated Form I-765) has been pending beyond USCIS’ processing times, you may submit a case assistance request. Please note USCIS will not adjudicate the Form I-765 before the Form I-821D.
  • You may qualify for a 180-day employment authorization auto-extension. EAD categories eligible for automatic extension are listed on USCIS’ Automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Extension page.
  • If your Form I-539 or Form I-821D (not the associated Form I-765) has been pending beyond USCIS’ processing times and you have not received a response or resolution from USCIS on your e-Request, you may submit a case assistance request for the Form I-539 or Form I-821D with our office.

Please go to our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page for instructions on submitting a case assistance request.

2. What should I do if I did not receive my EAD or if the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) may have lost it?

Call the USCIS Contact Center or submit an e-Request. If the USCIS Case Status Online page shows the EAD was delivered but you never received it, you may wish to contact USPS or use the USPS website to locate your EAD using the assigned tracking number. If USCIS properly mailed your EAD to you at the address it had in its systems at the time it approved your application and your document was not returned to USCIS as undeliverable, you may be required to file a new application to replace it and pay the filing fee again. Please carefully read the instructions on the form before filing your new application.

3. What should I do if the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) returned my EAD to USCIS as undeliverable?

If USCIS’ Case Status Online tool shows that your EAD was returned to USCIS as undeliverable, please:

  1. First, verify with USPS that you are registered to receive mail at the address that is on file for you with USCIS. If you live in an apartment, put your name on your mailbox to ensure delivery. If you are living with someone, make sure the address on file with USCIS includes “in care of” or “c/o” and the person’s name you are living with (for example: “Jane Doe, c/o John Smith, 123 Main Street, Anytown, MD 25555”). If you are not registered to receive mail at the address USCIS has on file for you, your EAD will continue to be returned to USCIS as undeliverable.

    If you are not sure if your address is up to date with USCIS or have moved after filing your Form I-765 application, you will need to change your address with USCIS. Please allow USCIS at least 5 business days to update their systems with your new address for your I-765 receipt number. 
     
  2. You may then submit a case inquiry to USCIS to request that it mail your EAD to your current address. If you recently updated your address with USCIS, please allow at least 5 business days for USCIS to update their systems with your new address before submitting the case inquiry to USCIS.
     
  3. Since USCIS’ policy is to destroy EADs 60 days after USPS returns them to USCIS as undeliverable, you may then choose to request case assistance from the CIS Ombudsman. Please include the date and service inquiry number for your inquiry to USCIS. If you recently updated your address with USCIS, please allow at least 5 business days for USCIS to update their systems with your new address before submitting a request for case assistance with our office.  

You may also register for “Informed Delivery” through USPS to get previews of mail in transit. Please visit USPS’ Informed Delivery page for additional information.

4. I heard that USCIS is issuing EADs for longer validity periods. Is this true?

On February 7, 2022, USCIS began issuing new and renewed EADs that will be valid for two years for applicants who were:

  • Admitted as a refugee (the category on the EAD will show as A03);
  • Granted asylum (EAD category: A05);
  • Granted withholding of deportation or removal (EAD category: A10); or
  • A VAWA self-petitioner (EAD category: C31).

Additionally, USCIS announced it will issue new and renewed EADs that will be valid up to the end of the parole or deferred action period for applicants who were:

  • Paroled into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit (EAD category: C11); or
  • Granted deferred action (EAD category: C14). Please note that this category does not include DACA recipients.

This change does not apply to EADs that USCIS issued before February 7, 2022, and applying for a replacement will not extend an EAD’s validity period. USCIS will continue to issue replacements with the same validity date as the original EAD.

5. I am an Afghan national who arrived through Operation Allies Welcome, and my EAD has the wrong information. How can I fix this?

If you are an Afghan national who was paroled into the United States as part of Operation Allies Welcome and you received an EAD with incorrect information or are experiencing delivery delays, USCIS has provided guidance on how to obtain a corrected EAD.

Errors on EADs: If your EAD has an error (such as an incorrect name or birthdate), submit the following to USCIS:

  • The original EAD containing the error;
  • A description of what information on the card is incorrect, such as first and/or last name and/or date of birth;
  • Your U.S. mailing address; and
  • Copies of supporting documentation, translated as appropriate, that show the correct information.

There is no fee to request a corrected EAD, and no need to file a new Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, in this particular circumstance. You can find additional guidance, including a unique mailing address and attention line, and examples of primary, secondary, and alternatives to supporting documentation, on USCIS’ Information for Afghans page under the “Information about Employment Authorization” section. You can learn how to track the delivery of your EAD on USCIS’ How to Track Delivery of Your Green Card, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), and Travel Document page.

EADs Sent to the International Organization for Migration (IOM): If you have not yet received your EAD, the process to obtain the EAD depends on whether a resettlement agency affiliate helped you.

  • If you were helped by a resettlement affiliate: IOM will mail your EAD to the resettlement affiliate. The resettlement affiliate will be responsible for giving the EAD to you.
  • If you were not helped by a resettlement affiliate: IOM will mail your EAD to the forwarding address you provided upon leaving a safe haven. If IOM does not have a forwarding address, it will return the EAD to USCIS. USCIS will then mail the EAD to the address it has on file for you. If USCIS does not have an address for you, it will hold the EAD for 60 days, waiting for you to provide USCIS with an updated address, which you should do by filing Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address online. You will need the Form I-765 receipt number. If you are not sure whether USCIS has your correct address, we recommend submitting a change of address online.

You may report the non-receipt of your EAD by using USCIS’ Non-Delivery of Card page. In certain situations, USCIS may request that you submit a new Form I-765. There is no fee to request a replacement EAD in this circumstance.

6. How long will USCIS automatically extend the validity of my current EAD while my renewal Form I-765 is pending?

From May 4, 2022 to October 26, 2023, USCIS is temporarily extending certain EADs for up to 540 days after the expiration date on the current EAD. The auto-extension applies to renewal EAD applications that were pending on May 4, 2022, as well as those filed after that date.

  • The automatic extension applies only if you have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to renew your EAD in a category eligible for an automatic extension. In general, the category on the current EAD must be the same category requested on the pending renewal Form I-765.
  • The automatic extension will expire after the 540-day mark or when USCIS makes a decision on your renewal Form I-765, whichever is sooner.
  • If your original 180-day automatic extension already expired but it has not been more than 540 days since the expiration date on your EAD, and you belong to one of the eligible categories, you may start working again while your renewal Form I-765 remains pending or until you hit the 540-day mark.
  • If you already received a receipt notice for your renewal Form I-765, USCIS will not mail you a new one. Refer to USCIS’ Automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Extension page for what documents you need to show as proof of your employment authorization.
  • If you file a renewal Form I-765 between May 4, 2022 and October 26, 2023, your receipt notice will show information about the 540-day extension.

After October 26, 2023, USCIS plans to revert to 180-day automatic extensions.

1. I have been informed that USCIS is waiting for my file to be transferred from a records center. Can the CIS Ombudsman help expedite my file transfer so USCIS can continue processing my case?

USCIS is experiencing serious delays with file transfers from federal records centers due in part to measures taken to ensure employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has indicated that it anticipates resolving this issue by mid-2022. As a result, the CIS Ombudsman cannot help to expedite these individual file transfers to USCIS offices.

The CIS Ombudsman is working with USCIS to address systemic issues associated with file transfer delays.

1. Do I need to physically sign each form/document I submit to USCIS or can I submit scans or copies?

On July 25, 2022, USCIS announced it will accept copies of original signatures on all benefit forms and documents, even if the form instructions require an original handwritten (“wet”) signature. This means that you can submit a scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced copy of a document to USCIS as long as the copy is of an original document containing an original handwritten signature. You must keep the original document with the wet signature and provide it to USCIS if requested.

This exception only applies to signatures. You must follow all other form instructions when completing a form.

1. What should I do if the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) returned my Green Card to USCIS as undeliverable?

If USCIS’ Case Status Online tool shows that your Green Card was returned to USCIS as undeliverable, please:

  1. First, verify with USPS that you are registered to receive mail at the address that is on file for you with USCIS. If you live in an apartment, put your name on your mailbox to ensure delivery. If you are living with someone, make sure the address on file with USCIS includes “in care of” or “c/o” and the person’s name you are living with (for example: “Jane Doe, c/o John Smith, 123 Main Street, Anytown, MD 25555”). If you are not registered to receive mail at the address USCIS has on file for you, your Green Card will continue to be returned to USCIS as undeliverable. 

    If you are not sure if your address is up to date with USCIS or have moved after filing your Form I-485 application, you will need to change your address with USCIS. Please allow USCIS at least 5 business days to update their systems with your new address for your I-485 receipt number. 
     
  2. You may then submit a case inquiry to USCIS to request that it mail your Green Card to your current address. If you recently updated your address with USCIS, please allow at least 5 business days for USCIS to update their systems with your new address before submitting the case inquiry to USCIS.
     
  3. Since USCIS’ policy is to destroy Green Cards 60 days after USPS returns them to USCIS as undeliverable, you may then choose to request case assistance from the CIS Ombudsman. Please include the date and service inquiry number for your inquiry to USCIS. If you recently updated your address with USCIS, please allow at least 5 business days for USCIS to update their systems with your new address before submitting a request for case assistance with our office. 

You may also register for “Informed Delivery” through USPS to get previews of mail in transit. Please visit USPS’ Informed Delivery page for additional information.

If you need temporary evidence of your current immigration status while waiting to receive a replacement Green Card, USCIS may issue you an Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp. To schedule an appointment with your local USCIS field office to obtain an ADIT stamp, contact the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 (1-800-767-1833 TDD for the hearing impaired).

2. What should I do if USCIS mailed my Green Card and USPS tracking shows "delivered" but I never received it?

You may wish to check www.USPS.com using the assigned tracking number to obtain detailed tracking information. Please note that USPS only keeps tracking information for 120 days. You can also contact your local post office and ask them to initiate an investigation. USPS will send you a letter explaining the results of the investigation.

You may register for “Informed Delivery” through USPS to get previews of mail in transit. Please visit USPS’ Informed Delivery page for additional information.

If your card was not returned as undeliverable to USCIS, you should file a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Please refer to the Form I-90 instructions to determine which “Reason for Application” to select and whether you will need to pay the filing fee.

If you need temporary evidence of your current immigration status while waiting to receive a replacement Green Card, USCIS may issue you an Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp. To schedule an appointment with your local USCIS field office to obtain an ADIT stamp, contact the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 (1-800-767-1833 TDD for the hearing impaired).

3. How do I get an extension sticker on my Green Card?

If you filed a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to replace an expiring Green Card, you no longer need to get an extension sticker on your Green Card. Starting in January 2021, USCIS began sending Form I-90 applicants a revised Form I-797 receipt notice printed on secure paper as proof of the extension of their Green Cards. These receipt notices replace the extension sticker that USCIS used to issue.

If you file Form I-90 to replace an expiring Green Card, you will receive the revised receipt notice in the mail approximately 7-10 days after USCIS accepts your application. The receipt notice, together with your Green Card, will serve as temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on the Green Card.

For more information regarding replacing your Green Card, please see USCIS' Replace Your Green Card page.

1. How do I submit a complaint about poor treatment by USCIS officers at interviews?

Go to the Report USCIS Employee Misconduct page on USCIS’ website to see how you can report USCIS employee misconduct to the agency. If you do not feel your complaint has been resolved, you can submit a DHS Form 7001 to our office and describe the treatment/customer service at issue. If you have a civil rights complaint, you can submit it to the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Finally, you can report misconduct to the DHS Office of Inspector General hotline.

2. How do I submit a complaint about poor treatment in detention facilities by DHS staff?

The Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO) helps individuals with complaints about the potential violation of immigration detention standards or misconduct by DHS (or contract) personnel. For more information, please see our The CIS Ombudsman's Listening Session: Get to Know DHS’s New Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman page.

1. If I want to change my status to an F-1 student, do I need to first change or extend my current nonimmigrant status?

On July 20, 2021, USCIS announced that applicants seeking a change of status to F-1 (student status) no longer need to apply to change or extend their initial nonimmigrant status to prevent a gap in status while their initial F-1 change of status application is pending.

Under this policy, USCIS will grant the change of status to F-1 effective the day an applicant’s Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status is approved. F-1 students are no longer required to “bridge the gap” by continuously applying for and obtaining status all the way up to 30 days before their academic program start date while their initial F-1 change of status application is pending. USCIS is in the process of revising the Form I-539 instructions to reflect these changes.

2. What is Special Student Relief (SSR)?

SSR is available for certain F-1 students when the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security suspends certain requirements for maintaining F-1 status for students from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. Emergent circumstances can include natural catastrophes, war and military conflicts, and national or international financial crises.

SSR often allows F-1 students to apply for off-campus employment authorization, work more hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 status. When SSR is available for a particular country or part of the world, the Department of Homeland Security will issue a Federal Register Notice (FRN) with details. You can see a list of all active FRNs in the Special Student Relief section of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program's (ICE SEVP's) What’s New page. Please review the general eligibility requirements and the specific eligibility requirements in the FRN for your country or area.

If you believe you are eligible for SSR, you may be able to apply for off-campus employment authorization. To start, please:

  1. Go to ICE SEVP’s Student Process Steps page to see what your designated school official (DSO) must do to certify you in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  2. Go to USCIS’ Form I-765 page for information on applying for employment authorization.

1. Can protected individuals (T, U, or VAWA) obtain information from USCIS about their cases by using e-Request?

No. Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status, and Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status, are not available as a selection in e-Request. Though the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, is available as a selection in e-Request, only individuals who filed as a special immigrant international broadcaster or religious worker may use e-Request. Protected individuals who filed a Form I-360 as a VAWA petition cannot use e-Request.

2. How do I contact USCIS about pending T, U, or VAWA cases?

Because the cases involve victims of crime, trafficking and/or abuse, there are certain confidentiality protections that USCIS must follow.

The USCIS Contact Center is generally not able to assist with inquiries related to T, U, or VAWA status applications and petitions due to confidentiality protections established by statute. If the self-petitioner, applicant, or representative calls the USCIS Contact Center, it will direct the individual to the appropriate inquiry mechanism listed below. In certain scenarios, the USCIS Contact Center might schedule the caller to appear at a USCIS field office to verify the individual’s identity so that an inquiry or service request can then be submitted.

To request a biometrics appointment, attorneys and accredited representatives may reach out to USCIS via the email hotlines below to request a new date/time, or to request a location change for the appointment.

Attorneys and accredited representatives may send inquiries to the following inboxes:

Note: In order to receive a response, the representative making the inquiry must have a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative, filed on the specific case. USCIS will not respond to emails from anyone who is not named on the Form G-28 on file for the case.

Unrepresented petitioners and applicants may send signed written inquiries/requests for biometrics appointments, including a new date/time or location, to:

  • For cases located at the Vermont Service Center:
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Vermont Service Center
    ATTN: Humanitarian Division
    38 River Road
    Essex Junction, VT 05479-0001
  • For cases located at the Nebraska Service Center:
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Nebraska Service Center
    ATTN: I-918
    P.O. Box 87918
    Lincoln, NE 68501-7918

If the inquiry is related to an I-751 waiver based on battery or extreme cruelty, then petitioners and/or their representatives must submit the signed inquiry to the appropriate service center by paper correspondence:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    California Service Center
    ATTN: WS 13057
    P.O. Box 10751
    Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1075
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Nebraska Service Center
    P.O. Box 87918
    Lincoln, NE 68501-7918
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Potomac Service Center
    2200 Potomac Center Drive, MS 2425
    Arlington, VA 20598-2425
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Texas Service Center
    ATTN: SRMT/COA or SRMT/IRT
    6046 N Belt Line Rd. STE 751
    Irving, TX 75038-0020
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Vermont Service Center
    ATTN: Humanitarian Division
    38 River Road
    Essex Junction, VT 05479-0001

3. For a T, U, or VAWA case, can I submit a case assistance request to the CIS Ombudsman’s office if I do not have a legal representative?

Yes. However, please note two requirements:

  • Your address must match the address in USCIS systems. We will only communicate with you via U.S. postal mail to comply with the law and keep your case confidential.
  • You will need to provide your actual (“wet”) signature on the case assistance request. You can do so by signing the consent part of the DHS Form 7001, scanning it, and uploading it as a supporting document with your online submission.

Please see our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page for complete information on how to request our help.

Last Updated: 09/23/2022
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