On September 26, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) hosted a joint webinar with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on recent customer experience (CX) enhancements and online tools.
In implementing the President’s Executive Order 14058, “Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government” (Dec. 13, 2021), USCIS is undertaking numerous initiatives to improve customer service and has committed to transition to “complete electronic capability” by fiscal year 2026. The webinar addressed the following CX enhancements:
Text-ahead feature for USCIS Contact Center callbacks
- Customers can opt-in to receive a text message ahead of a callback from an officer.
- A text message will ask if the customer is available in the next 30 minutes, and USCIS will wait about an hour for a response.
- USCIS will make two attempts by text to contact a customer.
Online appointment requests
- Customers can now submit requests online for certain in-person appointments by going to: my.uscis.gov/en/appointment/.
- Requests can be made for specific reasons, such as ADIT stamps, emergency advance parole, and immigration judge grants. A complete list of reasons is online.
- After a request is made, the customer receives a reference number. A Contact Center officer will then review the request.
- If it is determined that an in-person appointment is needed: The customer will receive an email confirmation with the date and time.
- If it is determined that an in-person appointment is not needed: The customer will receive an email with more information.
- If more information is needed: A Contact Center officer will follow up by phone or email.
Requesting a new online access code for USCIS online accounts
- Online access codes allow customers to link paper filings to a USCIS online account. The codes are valid for 90 days.
- Customers with expired codes can now request a new code online.
- USCIS will mail all Account Acceptance Notices with a new online access code, except for Form I-134A beneficiaries, who receive their codes via email.
Online rescheduling of biometrics appointments
- Applicants (or their legal representatives) can now reschedule a biometrics appointment online for most form types if their appointment is scheduled for a future date and they have a good cause.
- This tool requires the applicant to have a USCIS online account and a pending benefit request that requires biometrics.
myProgress (personalized processing times)
- myProgress provides applicants with an online account a personalized estimate of their wait time for major milestones on their specific case, including their final case decision.
- The processing times in myProgress are based on a variety of factors and are different from the general processing times on USCIS’ Check Case Processing Times page.
- myProgress is available for Forms N-400, I-90, I-130, I-765, and I-131, and USCIS is working to add Forms I-485 and I-821 this fall.
USCIS has the challenge of serving a vast customer base that covers all backgrounds, nationalities, educational levels, and interests. The CIS Ombudsman’s 2023 Annual Report to Congress examined USCIS’ customer experience efforts in the article, “Improving the customer experience from the Contact Center to the field,” and made four recommendations to USCIS on how to provide more effective customer service.
More than 250 stakeholders joined the webinar. Attendees submitted written questions and comments, several of which CIS Ombudsman and USCIS staff answered directly during the event. These questions and answers will be published on this page soon. Below is a sample of the questions received:
- How can I receive technical support with my USCIS online account?
- Currently, USCIS makes two attempts to contact customers and will leave a message stating that the officer will call back in 60 to 90 minutes. How much notice will customers have with the text-ahead feature?
- Can I reschedule my appointment online if it is not for biometrics (such as an interview or InfoPass appointment)?
- How can we request an online access code if the attorney received one, but the applicant did not?
- What are some of the good cause reasons to reschedule a biometrics appointment?
- How accurate are the personalized processing times in myProgress?
- What is the best way for beneficiaries, applicants, and their representatives to give feedback on their customer experience to USCIS?
The questions and feedback received from attendees will be taken into consideration for future discussions with agency leaders. The CIS Ombudsman will continue to review USCIS’ customer experience initiatives and offer additional recommendations as needed.
For more information on these new customer service features, see the USCIS Launches Online Rescheduling of Biometrics Appointments news release and the USCIS Expands myProgress to Form I-765 and Form I-131 and USCIS Launches Online Appointment Request Form web alerts.
- Nathan Stiefel, acting CIS ombudsman
- Rachel Ellis, assistant chief of Public Engagement, CIS Ombudsman
- Elissa McGovern, chief of Policy, CIS Ombudsman (moderator)
- Quinn Andrus, outreach specialist, Digital Services Division, USCIS
|Presentation: USCIS Customer Experience Enhancements Webinar||2.47 MB||09/26/2023|