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08 October 2015

Despite Distance Soldier Celebrates Naturalization with His Family

When Laura Fregoso became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 22, 2015, she knew that it was very unlikely her husband, Army Maj. Ricardo Fregoso, who is stationed 8,000 miles away in Kuwait, would be able to join the family for her naturalization ceremony. So she had an idea. What if he was able to join them using the technology on her smartphone?

With special permission from the Los Angeles District Office, Laura was able to share her experience of reciting the Oath of Allegiance through her phone's live video app.

Laura Fregoso takes the Oath of Allegiance with husband, Maj. Ricardo Fregoso, looking on from Kuwait via videoconference.

Laura met her husband in high school in Los Angeles, although at first, they were just friends.  After high school, Ricardo began Basic Training with the Army, and they wrote letters to each other. They were soon married, and Laura's life as a military spouse began. Laura and Ricardo have been married for 16 years and have two children, Brizna, 14 and Ricky, 11.  

Laura said her husband has waited a long time for her to become a citizen.

"My husband was emotional during the ceremony because he has wanted this for me for so long," she said. "I asked for him to be included because I was pledging to honor the country he is fighting for."

The Los Angeles Field Office was instrumental in Laura's path to citizenship and Major Fregoso's ability to be present for his wife’s naturalization.  USCIS Los Angeles Field Office District Director Susan M. Curda shared:

"I have a very special place in my heart for these men and women who put themselves in harm's way to ensure our continued safety and freedom. I'm very happy we were able to afford Maj. Fregoso the opportunity to be present for his wife's momentous occasion of becoming a U.S. citizen."

Laura's immigration services officer, Emmanuel "Manny" Salomon, himself a retired Army veteran of 20 years, said "we serve our service members."

When asked how she felt about becoming an American citizen, Laura said she always gets emotional when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and this time was no exception. She said she felt honored, grateful, and privileged. She went on to say, "Now my family is complete."

Laura Fregoso with her family, including her husband, Maj. Ricardo Fregoso via videoconference.

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05 October 2015

AskUSCIS : We are here to help you!

Twitter Office Hours Second Tuesday of every month

We’re always working on new and different ways to help you. One idea is Twitter office hours, a series of events we launched on Sept. 1, 2015. During Twitter office hours, our experts answer your questions about the immigration process and working with us on other efforts. Here’s how it works:
  • Follow @USCIS on Twitter.
  • Ask your question in a tweet (not a direct message) using the #AskUSCIS hashtag.
    Please note: 
    • We can’t provide you case status updates, only answer general customer service questions. To check on your case any time, enter a receipt number at Case Status Online.
    • Don’t post your A-Number, receipt number, Social Security number or any other personal information. Someone could use it to steal your identity.
  • We’ll answer as many questions as we can during each session.
  • Afterward, we’ll post a transcript of the questions and answers to this blog.
Most answers will include a link to specific pages on our website,, where you can get more information.
When you ask a question, let us know the form number you’re filing if you know it.
Remember: Don’t post your A-Number, receipt number, Social Security number or any other personally identifiable information on social media.
With Twitter office hours, we want to help you – either as you’re preparing forms or after you’ve filed. To help as many customers as possible, we won’t answer questions about policies or take questions from the media, government agencies or stakeholder organizations. Members of the media should contact the USCIS Press Office at (202) 272-1200.


02 October 2015

Prepare for your naturalization test - take our interactive Quizzes in Spanish!

The naturalization test consists of 100 civics questions. You may be asked up to 10 questions from the list of 100 questions in English during your immigration interview. To pass, you must answer six of the 10 questions correctly. You can now study questions for your naturalization test in Spanish:

Each quiz contains 10 questions and answers in Spanish.

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30 September 2015

Here’s What You Missed During Our First Twitter Office Hours

On Sept. 1, we held our first Twitter Office Hours, a live question-and-answer session hosted on Twitter. Members of our customer service and public engagement teams were available to answer questions using the #AskUSCIS hashtag.

The purpose of this event was to provide you with a new way to engage with us. We were excited to see questions flooding our timeline!

During the event we were able to answer 14 different questions. For our first session, we tried to answer common questions with answers that could help other customers who have similar questions.

We included a link to our website or a related government website with every reply so that you could find more information.

Thanks to everyone who tweeted and retweeted posts from our event. We learned a lot about what you expect during a Twitter chat event, and we also came up with ideas that should help us respond to more questions during future events.

If you missed it, we’re posting all of our questions and answers below. Of course, we received way more than 14 questions and just weren’t able to answer every one of them. So you’ll also find 5 bonus answers to questions that we got during the event.

Q1: @nyccase Keep getting error message - Electronic Immigration System is temporarily offline. When will it be fixed? #AskUSCIS
A1: @nyccase USCIS ELIS was offline last weekend for system updates. To submit a problem report: #AskUSCIS
Q2: @sagar7389 Can an international Graduate student on F1 visa do internship and on-campus job? #AskUSCIS
A2: @sagar7389 F-1 students may accept on-campus jobs subject to certain conditions. Visit for info. #AskUSCIS
Q3: @JSouekela Hello, I didn't change my address since 2 years. Do I have to fill AR-11? #AskUSCIS
A3: @JSouekela Only if you have moved, update your address at: #AskUSCIS
Q4: @khan_amber My form I-765 was accepted by USCIS on 4th of June 2015, how long does it take to get it? #AskUSCIS
A4: @khan_amber Since it's been more than 75 days, use case status online to find the latest info.   #AskUSCIS
Q5: @elizabethbetsyr As we wait 4 interview date for my husband, can we expedite? How?  What criteria? #ASKUSCIS
A5: @elizabethbetsyr Make appt. at local office, explain the reason you need your interview expedited. #AskUSCIS
Q6: @SpanishPolo Can I sponsor someone from Mexico to cross with a special visa, even for a limited time? #AskUSCIS
A6: @SpanishPolo Your friend may apply for a non-immigrant visa with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. Visit #AskUSCIS
Q7: @viridianatule if my DACA renewal is approved but haven't received the EAD card,  can I continue working? #ASKUSCIS
A7: @viridianatule Check your DACA EAD status More questions? #AskUSCIS
Q8: @Docviveksingh Which is the better way to file OPT application - via paper mail application or electronic application? #AskUSCIS
A8: @Docviveksingh File your application by mail. USCIS discontinued the legacy e-filing system. See: #AskUSCIS
Q9: @alphabet_real Parents had green card, outside US; 1 yr  green card  lapsed, can they get visitor's visa to visit the US ? #AskUSCIS
A9: @alphabet_real Your parents may apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate. More info on how to apply: #AskUSCIS
Q10: @caylee_ramos No update re I-129. Receipt number is not searchable online. Any ETC? At least on issue with your online tool? #AskUSCIS
A10: @caylee_ramos We're sorry you’re having trouble online. Call us for help at 800-375-5283. #AskUSCIS
Q11: @Alfyrod9 If my dad had a letter from the department of labor in 85 can he adjust status now? Through me as petitioner? #askuscis
A11 (1/2): @Alfyrod9 Check here to find out more about adjustment of status. #AskUSCIS
A11 (2/2): @Alfyrod9 Need legal advice? Find legal services here. #AskUSCIS
Q12: @msreekm Is 3 years bachelor's degree from India and 15+ years work experience considered as eligible for EB2? #askuscis
A12: @msreekm An EB2 requires evidence of a foreign equivalent degree & at least 5 yrs work experience. #AskUSCIS
Q13: @yahanaz1 What is process of getting I-140 approval notices from @USCIS in case we are not able to get it from employer. #AskUSCIS
A13: @yahanaz1 Get a copy of your approved petition using Form I-824. #AskUSCIS
Q14: @TuleRomain Given the current backlog causing #DACA delays are we able to submit our renewals before 150 days? #AskUSCIS
A14: @TuleRomain  Yes, but there are things you should know. See more info in question 50 here: #AskUSCIS
Bonus Questions:

Q15: @gangadharan82 #AskUSCIS My Kid's i539 is in processing stage since Mar'15. But VSC Processing time shows as 2.5 months.  Should i need to contact USCIS?
A15: @gangadharan82 Yes. If your case is outside of the standard processing time, you can submit a case inquiry using e-Request.
Q16: @AMEERALYEMEN #AskUSCIS In which step costumers can contact senator or congressman inquiring for case delay?
A16 (1/2): @AMEERALYEMEN You may contact your senator or representative at any time #AskUSCIS
A16 (2/2): @AMEERALYEMEN You can also schedule an appointment with an immigration officer at or call USCIS at (800) 375-5283
Q17: @DESIBLM @USCIS please let us know the proper channel to get regulation updates #AskUSCIS
A17: @DESIBLM USCIS and DHS Federal Register announcements can be found at #AskUSCIS
Q18: @HESHAMALSAIDI My case were denied, because requested documents wasn't received by deadline and that was a year ago Can I appeal the decision now #AskUSCIS
A18: @HESHAMALSAIDI Generally, an appeal should be filed within 30 days from the date of the decision.  #AskUSCIS
Q19: @SARACASTILLOG @USCIS Why can't we file electronically work permit applications as usual? #AskUSCIS
A19: @SARACASTILLOG We’re discontinuing that e-filing system to build a faster & more secure system. #AskUSCIS

23 September 2015

USCIS Spanish Site Now Makes It Easy to Request Forms by Mail

We have added a page in where you can order USCIS forms to be mailed to your home. This service is free. (Please note: The forms are in English.)

Have the following information ready when you request your USCIS forms via our page in Spanish:
  • The form number and quantity of each form you need
  • Your complete name
  • Your complete mailing address including apartment or unit number
There are four easy steps to obtain your forms by mail. Follow the instructions on each screen and enter the appropriate information, for example:
Select the form type and amount of forms you need for each. You may request a maximum of five copies of any one form type.

Enter your name and mailing information.
After confirming your information, you should receive your requested forms within 7-10 business days.
Please note that this forms by mail request service is for individual personal use only. Repeat or high volume requests will not be honored.
Additional Tips 
  • Never pay anyone for a USCIS form -- USCIS forms are always available free on our website.
  • Keep copies of all your completed forms.
  • Forms requiring a signature will be rejected if you do not sign them.
  • See the Department of State website for more information on passport or "DS" nonimmigrant visa application forms.
  • Sign up for e-Notification by filling Form G-1145 and receive email or text notifications when one of our Lockbox facilities has accepted your application.


22 September 2015

USCIS Director Receives Public Service Award at Hispanic Gala

USCIS Director León Rodríguez has long been active in the Montgomery County, Maryland, community, both as a private citizen and as county attorney from 2007 to 2010.

On Sept. 10, the board of the Montgomery County Executive Hispanic Gala presented Director Rodríguez with its Public Service Award at the annual event. The gala raises funds for scholarships for Hispanic students enrolled in higher education in the state.

According to gala founder Lorna Virgili, the award is in "recognition of his impeccable record of public service in Montgomery County and for his help in achieving significant community partnerships so that permanent residents learn more about citizenship and the naturalization process."

USCIS Director León Rodríguez, center, receives the Public Service Award.

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21 September 2015

Time Is Running Out: Join the Citizenship in Six Words Challenge

Last week, we issued a challenge to share what citizenship means to you in six words. The challenge is still open, but time is running out. You can still make your contribution in our comments section below, on Twitter using #citizenship6, or on our Facebook page.

So far, we have received some outstanding responses:
  • Duty, Honor, Country, Respect, Pride & Helping
  • freedom, peace of mind, granted, loyalty.
  • My Country. My life. My home
  • get to vote in U.S. Election
  • hope, dream, blessing, honor, love, faith
  • Freedom to live my life peacefully
Let your voice be heard, tell us what citizenship means to you, and see how creative you can be in just six words. Here is our submission: We look forward to your entry!


SAVE CaseCheck Now Easier to Use!

(By Alissar Rahi, SAVE Chief)

If you are applying for public benefits and an agency needs to verify your immigration status, the SAVE Program has just made it easier to check the progress of your case.

So, what is SAVE and why is this good news for you?

Most federal, state and local benefit-granting agencies have to confirm your immigration status or U.S. citizenship before deciding whether to grant a benefit. Many of these agencies use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program, operated by USCIS.

The system usually verifies your status in just a few seconds. But if SAVE cannot verify your status immediately, it will let the agency know that USCIS needs more time to process the request. 

In these situations, which can take between three and 20 federal business days, it is now much easier for you to check the status of the verification request using SAVE CaseCheck. Previously, to run a CaseCheck query, you had to obtain a case verification number from a participating SAVE agency.

Now, you can log in to CaseCheck at your leisure and enter your date of birth in combination with the ID number on an immigration document such as a Permanent Resident Card; Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record; Employment Authorization Document; or certificate of naturalization or citizenship.

CaseCheck will then let you know when the SAVE Program has completed the verification case. So instead of having to make repeated trips to the agency to learn if your verification is complete, you will know when it is time to return.

I’m really excited about this enhancement to SAVE CaseCheck—and hope you will let me know your feedback or suggestions by posting a comment below.