The Ombudsman is an independently operated organization within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that helps individuals and employers with issues or problems related to their immigration case with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This arm of the Department of Homeland Security also takes measures to pinpoint systemic issues within USCIS and make suggestions to improve processes. USCIS ombudsman case assistance is offered at no charge and as a service to the public if they have attempted to resolve their issue with USCIS customer service but still need additional help. This post will explore ways to seek help from this organization and what they can provide.
Request Help from the USCIS Ombudsman
Before you solicit help from Ombudsman, you should know that they do not provide legal advice and do not possess the authority to adjudicate a case. They also will not be able to mediate a case if USCIS is still processing it, so be sure to check the case processing times before filing the Case Assistance Form. Also, create a USCIS online account if you have not already done so and link your case to the account so that all the history and status updates are available in one central location. For legal help, you should always contact your lawyer first and foremost as Ombudsman does not provide legal consult. Your attorney or an accredited representative can also request help from Ombudsman regarding your case.
To obtain USCIS Ombudsman assistance with a petition or application, submit a request electronically or file Form DHS-7001, also known as the Case Assistance Form. When you submit DHS-7001, be sure to include USCIS receipt numbers and have available copies of any documents submitted or received by USCIS. For forms being mailed, send them to:
Department of Homeland Security
Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attention: Case Assistance, Mail Stop 1225
Washington, D.C. 20528
Email: [email protected] / Fax: 202-357-0042
What Can I Obtain Help For?
Ombudsman can help you with a range of issues including:
- Issues related to an emergency/hardship as the result of a USCIS mistake or delay
- Lost files or transfer issues
- Cases where the beneficiary may “age out” of eligibility for the requested benefit
- Cannot resolve issues related to your application/petition directly with USCIS
- Case past processing times or that have no posted processing times
- Processing delays regarding employment authorization documents
- Submit a request for help if your Form I-539 (not associated with Form I-765 application) is pending at least 60 days beyond USCIS’ posted processing times.
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 on the USCIS Check Case Processing Times webpage to determine if that application is outside of the posted processing times. USCIS will not adjudicate the Form I-765 before your Form I-539 (regardless of the processing times for Form I-765). We have asked USCIS to look into the significant processing times’ discrepancy for Forms I-539 pending at the California Service Center, as well as increased processing times at other service centers. We understand 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. We continue to work with USCIS on solutions to mitigate these problems.
- Submit a request for help if your Form I-821D (not associated with Form I-765 application) is pending at least 60 days beyond USCIS’ posted processing times.
- Have had an application/petition pending past normal processing times or believe a processing error has occurred. USCIS guidance says to contact them after 60-days of delays. However, if the issue has not been resolved in the 90-day window or you have not heard back from USCIS, you should contact Ombudsman.
After you send your request for help, Ombudsman will thoroughly review the information you provided and investigate the issue. Then, if they can help, they will contact USCIS on your behalf with suggestions to fix the issue.
Do Not Contact Ombudsman For Help With:
Before contacting Ombudsman, always try to resolve the issue directly with USCIS. The national customer service center number is 1-800-375-5283. You should not be contacting Ombudsman for issues not involving USCIS, for guidance about legal options, or if you disagree with USCIS’s decision on a case but they made no error. Ombudsman does not have the power to overturn a USCIS decision or overrule one.
DHS-7001 Step-by-Step Instructions
You request help from Ombudsman by submitting DHS Form 7001.
Sections 1 & 2
The first two sections require you to select if the USCIS petition you have issues with was filed for a company/organization or an individual. If the person filing Form 7001 is an attorney or accredited representative, they should fill in the client’s name.
Sections 3,4 & 5
Sections 3, 4, and 5 are made available if the request is for an individual – not a company/organization. Fill in the date of birth of the individual, country of citizenship and birth, and Alien registration number.
This section has you indicate the person preparing the form. For example, if you represent a petitioner company/organization, you should provide your title, i.e., Vice President.
Sections 7 & 8
In sections 7 and 8, you should note all the applications or petitions that are pending with USCIS regarding your issue. Mark the filing date of each one along with the USCIS receipt number.
Sections 9 & 10
These sections are to supply a case description or reason for contacting Ombudsman.
Sections 11 & 12
Mark the boxes that apply to your situation. In the description field, give as much detail regarding dates, names, locations, and other details that USCIS gave you. If you are an attorney or accredited representative, complete section 12 and include a signed copy of Form G-28.
Include any pertinent documentation related to your case. These can be attached, but any files over 5MB in size will be rejected.
The final section is to consent that Ombudsman reviews your case and tries to find a resolution.
USCIS Ombudsman FAQs
Does USCIS Ombudsman help?
Yes, Ombudsman can help with issues not resolved with USCIS. Specifically, issues related to an emergency/hardship as the result of a USCIS mistake or delay or if you have had an application/petition pending past normal processing times or believe a processing error has occurred. Do not contact Ombudsman until you have first tried to resolve the issue directly with USCIS.
How long does it take for USCIS Ombudsman to respond?
Once you submit a request to Ombudsman, they submit it to USCIS within 10 days, then give USCIS about 30 days to respond to the request. Be aware that if your case is still in the processing time range with USCIS, they cannot help you yet.
How do I complain about USCIS?
If you have an issue that you cannot resolve directly with USCIS, your next course of action would be to contact Ombudsman via Case Assistance Form DHS-7001. Describe in detail the nature of the complaint and attach supporting documents relevant to the case.
Your first course of action is to contact USCIS if you think USPS lost your employment authorization document. Use this Non-Delivery of Card link for more information.