The US Citizenship and Immigration service handles the processing of visas, citizenship applications and questions about immigration issues. Because this federal agency serves the entire country, it receives a lot of customer support queries. If you are trying to get a hold of USCIS by phone, there are several best practices that you might want to be aware of.
People call USCIS for a range of reasons including:
Callers need to direct their call to the correct office or agency. If you are attempting to schedule an interview for a non-asylum application, for example, you'll likely need to call the USCIS field office that serves your area.
Live help over the telephone is available from USCIS from 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays. There is a toll-free number for those calling within the United States and its territories. Deaf and hard of hearing people can use the agency's TTY number, while those outside the country have to use a designated toll number.
There are some reports that making a lot of calls to USCIS might actually slow down an applicant's case. The USCIS notes that case information is available from its website and is identical to that which is available to customer service representatives who answer calls.
Before calling, take a moment to prepare. Doing so can help ensure that your call is productive:
Because of the sheer volume of calls that come into USCIS, it isn't surprising that there are mixed reports from callers. In addition, it's important to note that immigration issues can be stressful, which increases the likelihood of dissatisfaction with a call.
Callers have noted that the first-tier representatives often can't provide much information or assistance and that officers often seem to be rushed and unhelpful. There are, however, reports of people hanging up with USCIS satisfied with the service they received.
The USCIS notes that most USCIS inquiries and tasks can be accomplished online, through its website. First-tier phone representatives can do the following:
Second-tier officers can provide more in-depth services, including providing information on pending cases. These officers can also work with military dependents and active members and request the re-issuance of notices.
Regardless of tier, the people you speak to at USCIS cannot provide legal advice or schedule appointments at field offices. Nor can they transfer your call to a field office.
If you get off the phone with the US Citizenship & Immigration Service and feel frustrated, don't give up. You may have other options for seeking a resolution.
Take some time to decompress and then gather up your notes and documents. If you do feel that calling again is in your best interests, do so. Otherwise, try the following: