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Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman

OMB 1601-0004 Case Assistance (DHS-7001)

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Ombudsman’s Office) assists individuals and employers who are unable to resolve problems directly with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To receive assistance with a problem regarding an application or petition pending at USCIS, you may submit this form to the Ombudsman’s Office after first trying to resolve the problem with USCIS. Please note the Ombudsman’s Office cannot provide legal advice. It is an independent office within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is not part of USCIS.

Before You Submit a Request to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman:

Before asking the Ombudsman’s Office for help with an application or petition, you first should try to resolve the problem with USCIS by using one of the following methods:

  • Contact USCIS for assistance at 1-800-375-5283.
  • Request assistance from USCIS using its e-Request tool.

Web Alert March 5, 2021

The CIS Ombudsman would like to provide the following updates regarding requests for case assistance and USCIS’ responses to our inquiries.

Applicants Filing Form I-765 for Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • USCIS has extended certain flexibilities for foreign students (F-1 nonimmigrants) affected by delayed receipt notices for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for OPT. These flexibilities apply only to applications received on or after Oct. 1, 2020, through May 1, 2021.
  • The CIS Ombudsman provided informal recommendations to USCIS regarding lockbox delays in issuing receipts for Forms I-765 and communicated the significant adverse impact on nonimmigrant students. USCIS indicated these delays were caused by various factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic; a rise in cases for certain benefit requests at some lockbox facilities; an increase in mail volume; and delays at the U.S. Postal Service. USCIS requested that applicants wait at least eight weeks before contacting the agency to inquire about missing receipt notices. The CIS Ombudsman recognizes that USCIS has made progress in addressing these issues and is pleased that the agency has implemented the above-mentioned flexibilities.
  • Please refer to the USCIS website for additional information related to OPT for F-1 Students and instructions to file Form I-765.

Receipt Notice Delays

  • If less than 90 days have passed since you filed a petition/application with USCIS, the CIS Ombudsman will close your request for case assistance. You may resubmit your request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman once 90 days have passed.
  • If more than 90 days have passed since you filed a petition/application with USCIS, you may submit a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman, and our office will ask USCIS to resolve your issue. Please remember that before contacting the CIS Ombudsman, you must first try to resolve the problem with USCIS. When submitting your request for case assistance, please provide evidence of the contact with USCIS and the agency’s response (if a response was received).

Application Support Center (ASC) Appointments

  • If your ASC appointment was scheduled and then cancelled due to COVID-19, and was not rescheduled within 45 days, you may file a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman.
  • If your ASC appointment was made for a location other than the one closest to the address on file with USCIS at the time the appointment was scheduled, you are unable to travel to the designated location, and you have already asked USCIS to reschedule your appointment (but no action has been taken within 45 days from the request), you may file a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman. USCIS has indicated it will not expedite ASC appointments, except in extremely rare circumstances.

Processing Delays Related to Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

  • If your Form I-539 application (not an attached Form I-765 application) is pending beyond USCIS’ posted processing times, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman.
  • If your Form I-765 is based on a Form I-539 (even if it was not filed at the same time), you must first look at the Form I-539 case inquiry date to determine if that application is outside of the posted processing times. Your Form I-765 will not be adjudicated before your Form I-539 (regardless of the processing times for Form I-765). The CIS Ombudsman has asked USCIS to look into the significant processing times discrepancy for Form I-539s pending at the California Service Center. The CIS Ombudsman understands 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.
  • If your Form I-821D (not an attached Form I-765 application) is pending beyond USCIS’ posted processing times, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman. (Your Form I-765 will not be adjudicated prior to your Form I-821D.)
  • USCIS policy currently excludes applicants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from requesting expedited processing. However, if your Form I-821D is outside of the posted processing times, the CIS Ombudsman will inquire with USCIS about the status of your pending application.

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Last Published Date: January 29, 2020
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