The National Benefits Center: What It Is and What It Does
We have noticed that there is some confusion out there about what our National Benefits Center (NBC) is and what it does. The NBC serves a unique role within our organization as part of the Field Operations Directorate. The NBC was founded in 2001 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and was originally called the Missouri Service Center (which is why receipt notices from the NBC will begin with the letters “MSC”).
The NBC’s primary mission is to prepare applications for adjudication that require an interview at a USCIS Field Office. A lot goes into preparing an application including conducting background and security checks and reviewing the evidence an applicant submits to support their eligibility for the benefit.
The NBC’s largest workload is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. These two applications will reach well over a million cases in Fiscal Year 2012.
In the Form I-485 process, an applicant must provide all initial evidence, before the applicant can be scheduled for interview. If evidence is missing, the NBC will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). An RFE places a hold on the I-485 application, as well as the associated applications filed with the I-485 application (for example, Form I-130, Form I-765, Form I-131), until the NBC receives the missing initial evidence.
Missing evidence will not delay the processing of an N-400 application at the NBC. However, if the missing evidence is not provided at the time of interview in the Field Office, the adjudication of the application may be delayed or the application may be denied.
Processing times of the Form I-485 and Form N-400 applications are determined by each Field Office, not the NBC, since final adjudication is not conducted at the NBC. Please check our website at www.uscis.gov for the processing times of these applications at your local USCIS Field Office.
If you need to contact the NBC regarding your case, please call our National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. The representative taking your call will send an electronic message to the NBC that will be answered within 15 days. Expedite requests, for certain applications, are answered within 5 days.