Skip to main content

Immigration and Citizenship Resources

Overview of immigration and citizenship resources, including websites and organizations at the local and national level.

About USCIS

USCIS is charged with processing immigrant visa petitions, naturalization petitions, asylum applications, and refugee applications. It also makes adjudicative decisions performed at the service centers, and manages all other immigration benefits functions (i.e., not immigration enforcement) performed by the former INS. Other responsibilities include:

While core immigration benefits functions remain the same as under the INS, a new goal is to process applications efficiently and effectively. Improvement efforts have included attempts to reduce the applicant backlog, as well as providing customer service through different channels, including the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) with information in English and Spanish, Application Support Centers (ASCs), the Internet and other channels. The enforcement of immigration laws remains under Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

USCIS focuses on two key points on the immigrant's journey towards civic integration: when they first become permanent residents and when they are ready to begin the formal naturalization process. A lawful permanent resident is eligible to become a citizen of the United States after holding the Permanent Resident Card for at least five continuous years, with no trips out of the United States lasting 180 days or more. If, however, the lawful permanent resident marries a U.S. citizen, eligibility for U.S. citizenship is shortened to three years so long as the resident has been living with the spouse continuously for at least three years and the spouse has been a resident for at least three years.

All of the major screens include "Help' links.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Citizenship_and_Immigration_Services; accessed September 14, 2017.

USCIS - Forms Tab

 

 

USCIS FORMS ARE FREE: Download them on this site (forms can be filled out using the latest version of Adobe Reader.) You can also order forms by mail or phone. Don't pay anyone for copies of our forms.

Don't forget to sign your forms! Failure to sign will result in rejection.

Evidence: When submitting a form, send copies of your evidence unless we request original documents. If you submit originals when not required or requested by USCIS, your original documents may be destroyed.

Looking for passport or "DS" nonimmigrant visa application forms? - see the Department of State website.

E-Notification: When filing at Lockbox facilities in Chicago, Phoenix, or Lewisville, TX, you may file Form G-1145 to receive an email and/or text notification that your application has been accepted.

The Forms tab also has searchable pull-down fields for 'Most Searched Forms', 'Forms Information', 'Filing Fees', 'Filing online', 'Forms Updates', 'Department of State (DS) and Other Non-USIS Forms', and 'G-1055 Fee Schedule'.

From https://www.uscis.gov/forms; accessed September 15, 2017.

USCIS - News Tab

The USCIS News screen includes searchable fields for 'Latest Headlines', 'All News', 'Media Contacts', and 'Outstanding Americans by Choice'.

From https://www.uscis.gov/news; accessed September 15, 2017.

USCIS - Citizenship Tab

If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.

To become a citizen at birth, you must:

  • Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR  
  • had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements

To become a citizen after birth, you must:

For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance

The Naturalization Test

Most naturalization applicants are required to take a test on:

  • English
  • Civics (U.S. history and government)

We provide resources to help you prepare. For more information, visit our Naturalization Test page. Get study materials from the Citizenship Resource Center.

Citizenship for Military Members and Dependents

Members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents may be eligible for special naturalization provisions. For more information, visit our Citizenship for Military Personnel & Family Members page.

Dual Citizenship

For information on dual citizenship, visit the U.S. Department of State Services Dual Nationality website.

The Value of Citizenship

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.

Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.

The USCIS U.S. Citizenship screen includes searchable fields for 'Citizenship Through Naturalization', 'Citizenship Through Parents', 'Naturalization Test', and 'Naturalization Ceremonies'. There are also searchable links for 'More Information', 'Forms', 'Resources', 'Videos', and 'Non-USCIS Links'.

From https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship; accessed September 15, 2017.

USCIS - Green Card Tab

Having a Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card (PDF, 6.77 MB (PDF, 6.77 MB)) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation.

The USCIS Green Card page includes searchable links for 'How to Apply for a Green Card', 'General Application Process', 'If Your Green Card is Pending USCIS Application', and 'If You Already Have a Green Card'. The page also contains searchable links for 'Green Card Eligibility', 'Green Card Processes and Procedures', 'While Your Green Card is Pending', and 'After a Green Card is Granted'.

From https://www.uscis.gov/greencard; accessed September 15, 2017.

USCIS - Tools Tab

Newest Tool

Emma Ask a QuestionEmma is our latest customer-friendly innovation: a virtual assistant who can help you navigate through our website and finds answers to your questions. To ask Emma a question, click on the “Ask a Question” link next to her image in the upper right corner of any web page.

Tools for Individuals

Save time by using one of our many online tools. Information from our online tools is updated based on our systems and usually provides the same information you would get by calling by our national toll-free number. You can keep track of your case, make an appointment at one of our local field offices or verify your employment eligibility.

Before You File

We have developed myUSCIS to help you get the immigration information you need and identify which immigration options you may be eligible for. With myUSCIS, you can:

File OnlineFile your form electronically

File I-90 online.

Find a doctorFind a Doctor

Doctors in your area authorized to complete a medical exam for adjusting status

Case processing timesSee office case processing times

See how long we are taking to process an application or petition at a particular office

Check filing feesCheck filing fees

See the fee schedule and learn about waivers for certain forms and services

Manage Your Case

Check your case status onlineCheck your case status online

Find out the latest status of your case

Get automatic updatesGet automatic updates about your case

Sign up to receive an email when your case status updates

Submit online requestSubmit an online request about your case

"New and improved" Make an online inquiry about certain applications and petitions

File a change of address onlineFile a change of address online

Update your address so that USCIS can contact you about your status

 

Find a USCIS officeFind a USCIS office

Local and international office locations and directions to get there

Make an appointmentMake an appointment

Make an appointment to come into an office and speak with a representative. See Your Guide to InfoPass for more information

Other Tools

Verify work elibibleVerify your eligibility to work in the United States

Check to make sure you are authorized to work in the U.S.

 

Search if an emploer uses E-VerifySearch if an employer uses E-Verify

Find out if an employer uses E-Verify

An imageResearch your family’s immigration history

Research your family’s immigration and naturalization records

An imageFOIA Requests

Find out the status of your FOIA request online or make a new request

 

For Public Agencies

The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program is a web-based service that helps federal, state and local benefit-issuing agencies, institutions, and licensing agencies determine the immigration status of benefit applicants, so only those entitled to benefits receive them.

This page also includes pulldown menus including the following:

Tools and Resources

  • How Do I Customer Guides
  • Citizenship Resource Center
  • Resources for Congress
  • Settling in the U.S.
  • Humanitarian Benefits Based Resources
  • Multilingual Resource Center
  • Ombudsman Liaison
  • Designated Civil Surgeons
  • Reports & Studies

Other Tools and Resources

  • Customer Service Reference Guide
  • Join a USCIS Event
  • Glossary
  • Site Map
  • USCIS Videos

From https://www.uscis.gov/tools; accessed September 19, 2017.

USCIS - Laws Tab

The USCIS LAWS section provides information on laws, regulations and interpretations controlling immigration and the work of the immigration-related components of the Department of Homeland Security.

The LAWS section includes several legal resources linked on the left of this page.  These links include information on:

Legal Disclaimer

The mission of the USCIS Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) is to provide legal advice to immigration officials concerning issues that arise in conjunction with their performance of their official duties. (8 CFR 100.2(a)(1) and 103.1(b)(1).) There have been rare cases in which a particular program is of such general interest and importance that the OCC has rendered a formal legal opinion. As a matter of policy, we have determined that providing legal opinions to private parties in matters that may come before immigration officials is inappropriate. For this reason, we are unable to express an opinion on the issues submitted by the public.

Please note: USCIS still publishes value-enhanced versions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and other legal materials on this web site. However, the technology used to publish this content may initially return a blank screen when you click on the link. Just hit "refresh" or "reload" (depending on your browser) and the material should appear. 

The Laws page also includes pulldowns including the following:

LAWS

  • 8CFR
  • Administrative Decisions
  • Precedent Decisions
  • Avoid Scams
  • Immigration from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
  • Immigration Handbooks, Manuals and Guidance
  • Immigration and Nationality Act
  • Legal Settlement Notices
  • Other Immigration CFRs
  • Policy Memoranda
  • Public Laws Amending the INA
  • Significant Guidance
  • Terrorism-Related Inadmissabilty Grounds
  • USCIS Federal Register Announcements
  • Buy American, Hire American

More Information

  • Immigration Benefits in EIOR Removal Proceedings
  • AAO Practice Manual
  • Policy and Procedural Memoranda by Subject
  • Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative

Non-USCIS Links

  • Free Legal Service Providers
  • List of Disciplined Immigration Law Practicioners
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • National Organization of Bar Counsel

From https://www.uscis.gov/laws; accessed September 19, 2017.

 

USCIS Changing Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence by Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors

USCIS Changing Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence by Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 179 KB)changing how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States.  

This policy aligns with President Trump’s Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States to enforce the immigration laws of the country and will go into effect on Aug. 9, 2018.

“USCIS is dedicated to our mission of ensuring the integrity of the immigration system. F, J, and M nonimmigrants are admitted to the United States for a specific purpose, and when that purpose has ended, we expect them to depart, or to obtain another, lawful immigration status,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “The message is clear: These nonimmigrants cannot overstay their periods of admission or violate the terms of admission and stay illegally in the U.S. anymore.”

Individuals in F, J, and M status who failed to maintain their status before Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on that date based on that failure, unless they had already started accruing unlawful presence, on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after DHS denied the request for an immigration benefit, if DHS made a formal finding that the individual violated his or her nonimmigrant status while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit;
  • The day after their I-94 expired; or
  • The day after an immigration judge or in certain cases, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), ordered them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:       

  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period;
  • The day after the I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence during a single stay, and then depart, may be subject to three-year or 10-year bars to admission, depending on how much unlawful presence they accrued before they departed the United States. Individuals who have accrued a total period of more than one year of unlawful presence, whether in a single stay or during multiple stays in the United States, and who then reenter or attempt to reenter the United States without being admitted or paroled are permanently inadmissible.

Those subject to the three-year, 10-year, or permanent unlawful presence bars to admission are generally not eligible to apply for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status to permanent residence unless they are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of relief.

This policy memorandum is updating Chapter 40.9.2 of the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual.

USCIS is accepting comments on the policy memorandum. The 30-day public comment period begins today and closes on June 11, 2018. For complete information on the comment process, visit the Policy Memoranda for Comment page.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), and Facebook (/uscis).

 

https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-changing-policy-accrued-unlawful-presence-nonimmigrant-students-and-exchange-visitors; accessed July 3, 2018.