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What do you do when no one seems to be listening to you about your USCIS immigration application taking forever? If your case has gone beyond the USCIS posted processing times, there is a solution.

First, you must reach out to USCIS to put in a complaint. That’s done via the USCIS online case inquiry system, select the option for “Case outside normal processing time” and put in your request. They will send you back an email to inform you that you should expect an answer within 30 days. After the 30-day mark, if you still do not have an answer from USCIS, you may submit another case inquiry request. But how long do you keep doing this before you feel that no one is listening?

That’s where the CIS Ombudsman can help. The office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman is dedicated to improving the quality of CIS services. It was created by Congress in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to help individuals and employers who need to resolve a problem with USCIS. Some think that they are part of the USCIS but they are not. They are a completely separate department.

Yes, the Ombudsman can help with cases stuck with USCIS, but only as a last resort, you must try to solve your immigration problem within USCIS first through the inquiry tools listed above, and then only after you have tried everything, you can move over to the Ombudsman. It’s important to keep records of all your prior complaints to USCIS, whether it’s phone calls, or online case inquiry requests so that you can put this in your Ombudsman report.

Here is a list of what the CIS Ombudsman can help with:

  • Cases past published processing times or with no published processing times, and your case has been pending for more than six months.
  • Typographic errors in immigration documents.
  • Cases where the beneficiary may “age-out” of eligibility for the requested immigration benefit.
  • Applications and petitions that were improperly rejected by USCIS due to clear errors of fact or gross and obvious misapplication of the relevant law by USCIS.
  • Certain cases involving U.S. military personnel and their families.
  • Priority-2 Direct Access Program.
  • Cases where an individual is in removal proceedings before the immigration court and has an application or petition pending before USCIS that may have a bearing on the outcome of removal proceedings.
  • Systemic issues that should be subjected to higher level review.
  • Lost files and/or file transfer problems.
  • Mailing issues, including non-delivery of correspondence and/or immigration documents.
  • Certain cases involving an emergency or a hardship that fall under USCIS expedite criteria.

Watch this YouTube video where Deputy Ombudsman with DHS’s Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services, (CIS) Ombudsman, Nathan Stiefel, explains the case assistance services his office provides, and shares tips on how to use these services most effectively.

Use this link to watch this helpful YouTube Video :


Now you know how to get your case moving! If you need help with this Ombudsman process or any other immigration services, please reach out to me.

Nadine Heitz

Nadine Heitz is an immigration attorney in Lake Worth, Florida where she helps her clients obtain legal status in the United States. Book your consultation with her to find out how to solve your immigration issues and achieve your desired goals.