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30 May 2012

E-Verify Customer Satisfaction Soars

The E-Verify program strives to meet the needs of its diverse customers. To help provide the best customer service, it participates in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a national indicator of customer satisfaction.  In 2011, a random sample of E-Verify users - nearly 2/3 of which were small business owners - were surveyed on their satisfaction with the program. The questionnaire evaluated key features of E-Verify, including registration, tutorial, and overall satisfaction.
E-Verify received an overall customer satisfaction rating of 85, a three point increase from the 2010 survey. E-Verify also scored well when compared to its federal government counterparts; E-Verify’s score was 20 points above the current federal government average. 
The results showed that E-Verify has:
  • Easy enrollment - Users find enrolling in and using E-Verify easy.
  • Resolved customer questions more quickly- We helped 93% of users resolve their issues with just one phone call.
  • Better tutorials - Users increased their rating of the E-Verify Tutorial by eight points!
  • User friendly processes - The Photo Matching tool, and the tentative non-confirmation (TNC) process were rated particularly valuable and user-friendly.
  • High overall customer satisfaction - E-Verify users remain highly likely to continue use of E-Verify, have high confidence in the program’s accuracy, and would recommend it to other employers.
With the results of the ASCI survey, we know that our efforts are succeeding and are encouraged to work harder to enhance the E-Verify process for our customers.  We are committed to making E-Verify work for you!

To view the full 2011 E-Verify ACSI report, click here.

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24 May 2012

USCIS and the Smithsonian Institution Launch Preparing for the Oath

Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

This morning, against the backdrop of the original Star-Spangled Banner, I had the privilege of participating in a naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

My colleagues and I, along with hundreds of visitors to the museum, were honored to welcome America’s newest citizens and congratulate them as they begin their lives as U.S. citizens. Among the individuals who took the Oath of Allegiance were three members of the U.S. armed forces. USCIS is particularly grateful to these individuals and their fellow service members, both native and foreign-born. Throughout the year we honor those who serve this nation and pay a special tribute in commemoration of Memorial Day this weekend.

Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and 2011 USCIS Outstanding American by Choice recipient, provided keynote remarks. As a naturalized citizen who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her chosen homeland through a life of public service, she personifies the vast opportunities America provides. It was truly an honor to hear her story and see her lead our newest citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Above: Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, greets new U.S. citizen Olugbenga Olufemi Obasanjo (U.S. Army)

Above: Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, greets new U.S. citizen Olugbenga Olufemi Obasanjo (U.S. Army)

During today’s ceremony, Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, also announced the launch of an exciting new resource, Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. This Web-based learning tool features interactive activities, artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s collections and exhibitions and a self-test based on the 100 questions given during the civics portion of the naturalization test. The interactive question format and use of historical items will help aspiring citizens prepare for the test in an engaging and meaningful way.

In addition to serving as a self-study tool for immigrants, a section for teachers provides materials and strategies to use Preparing for the Oath in a classroom setting.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of a two-year partnership between USCIS and the National Museum of American History. We are excited to introduce Preparing for the Oath and look forward to your feedback. With all the recent discussion about civic education in our country, I encourage you to take a minute to view our new resource and test your knowledge of U.S. history and government.

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23 May 2012

Federal News Radio and Next.gov discuss USCIS ELIS

Federal News Radio and Next.gov posted articles on the launch of the first phase of our electronic immigration benefits system, known as USCIS ELIS. The system is designed to modernize the process for filing and adjudicating immigration benefits. To read the full articles go to Nextgov’s and Federal News Radios websites. An audio interview with Director Alejandro Mayorkas where he discusses USCIS ELIS is also available on Federal News Radio.

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21 May 2012

USCIS to Host First in Series of Online Engagements

Want to have a conversation with USCIS?

USCIS is currently expanding outreach efforts by introducing a series of online engagements with you, our stakeholders. These sessions will be themed around immigration topics that are trending in the online community.

Our first discussion will touch upon how to avoid immigration scams and find authorized legal advice. This is also known as the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL). Starting today, you can tweet your questions using the hashtag #UPIL.

You’re not on Twitter? No need to worry. You can also email your UPIL questions to us at public.engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

Our skilled subject matter experts will be on hand to answer your questions through a video feed that will be uploaded to all of our social media outlets, including our YouTube channel.

Be sure to mark your calendar, as we plan to broadcast the first engagement during the week of June 11th.

To learn more about UPIL, please visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams.

For more information on our upcoming series of online engagements, please visit www.uscis.gov/outreach or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

We look forward to engaging with you!

17 May 2012

Three Myths the Adjustment of Status Process

In reading some of the online immigration forums, we have noticed that there are a few myths on the internet about the adjustment of status, also known as the Green Card process. We hope this post helps to clear up any confusion you have about the process of getting your Green Card.

Myth # 1

USCIS must make a decision on your Green Card application (Form I-485) within 180 days after your interview.

There is no time limit on when USCIS must make a decision after an interview on an adjustment of status case. In fact, not all Form I-485 adjudications require an interview. This misconception may arise from the fact that USCIS has up to 120 days from the date of an applicant’s naturalization interview - not an interview for adjustment of status - to make a final decision on the applicant’s Form N-400. Even though there is no time limit to make a decision on an application for a Green Card, USCIS strives to adjudicate these cases within four months.

Myth # 2

You will get a decision on your Green Card application at the interview.

Often an applicant will not receive a decision on his or her adjustment of status application at the interview. Sometimes the Immigration Services Officer needs additional time to review a case and cannot provide the applicant with an immediate decision. This is especially true if additional information is requested at an interview or if additional documents are submitted at the time of the interview. There are a number of other reasons why a decision cannot be made at the interview, such as having to wait for a visa number to become available, or the need to complete security checks.

Myth # 3

In marriage-based adjustment of status cases, a wife must take her husband’s last name.

A married woman may choose a legal married name (take her husband’s surname), a legal pre-marriage name (keep her maiden name), or any form of either (for example, hyphenated name, maiden name and husband’s surname). USCIS does not require a female applicant to take her husband’s last name.

If permitted by law, a man can also take his wife’s surname, adopt a hyphenated combination of his name and his wife’s surname, or the couple may choose a hybrid of their surnames.

Do you still have questions about the Green Card application process that aren’t specific to your case? Ask your question below in the comments!

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15 May 2012

USCIS Proudly Flies the Flag for a Naturalized Service Member

Outstanding customer service is what USCIS always strives for - but on Friday, May 11, the New York District Office had the opportunity to go above and beyond for a customer - or, actually, a former customer. Lt. Col. Natalie Giscombe, originally from Panama, naturalized in New York in 1986. After a successful 22-year career as a Nurse in the U.S Air Force, Lt. Col. Giscombe was eager to take part in a military retirement tradition of sending an American flag to the first and last base where she served and asking for it to be flown in her honor. Lt. Col. Giscombe had one additional request - because her naturalization was such a meaningful event in her life. She wanted her flag to make a stop in New York to fly over the office where she naturalized 26 years earlier.

Above: The American flag flies at USCIS District Office in Lower Manhattan in honor of naturalized U.S. citizen and retiring Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Natalie Giscombe.

Above:  The American flag flies at USCIS District Office in Lower Manhattan in honor of naturalized U.S. citizen and retiring Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Natalie Giscombe.

New York District Director Andrea Quarantillo and her staff were happy to oblige this unusual request - a first for the district. Director Quarantillo explained, "At USCIS-NY we know that so many of the thousands of people who naturalize here each year will go on to accomplish great things in the service of their new nation, but we so rarely hear from them again or have the opportunity to thank them.  We were glad to receive Lt. Col. Giscombe’s request and learn how fully she has lived the commitment to citizenship she made in our office two decades ago."

Above: The mother and son of Lt. Col. Giscombe, Margarita Farnum-Watson and Stephon Giscombe (center), surrounded by USCIS-NY military reservists and veterans and NY District Director Andrea Quarantillo (far left).
Above:  The mother and son of Lt. Col. Giscombe, Margarita Farnum-Watson and Stephon Giscombe (center), surrounded by USCIS-NY military reservists and veterans and NY District Director Andrea Quarantillo (far left).

Lt. Col. Giscombe was unable to attend the flag-raising because she is still serving as Chief Nurse at Edwards Air Force Base, but she was deeply grateful for the tribute. Her mother, Margarita Farnum-Watson, and her son, Stephon Giscombe, were on hand for the ceremony.

Also in attendance were more than 20 employees of the New York District office who are themselves retired military or reservists. Representing all five branches of the military, they gathered to pay tribute. This event also provided an opportunity for the office to extend gratitude to the veterans and military reservists on staff. District Director Quarantillo remarked to the employees “you embody true patriotism and love of country. Thank you for your past and continued service.”

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03 May 2012

USCIS now on Facebook!

Did you know USCIS is now on Facebook?  Check out our page for the latest news, events, informational videos, and learn more about our nation’s immigration history on our timeline. Visit us today for that and more at www.facebook.com/USCIS