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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) belongs to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The USCIS performs many administrative functions carried out by the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services). The INS was part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The purpose of the USCIS is to promote national security, eliminate immigration case backlogs and improve customer service. USCIS was formerly named as US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.


The Immigration and Naturalization Services shortly called as INS was part of the United States Department of Justice. The INS was authorized to handle all the legal and illegal immigration and naturalization issues. The purpose of INS was to protect and enforce the laws of naturalization and handle the process of an individual becoming a citizen of United States. The INS established three new agencies called USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration services), CBP (Customs Border and Protection), and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

USCIS Functions:

The INS was in charge of the processing the immigrant visa petitions, naturalization petitions, asylum and refugee applications, also in making adjudicative decisions performed at the various service centers. The INS was in charge of processing all the immigration benefits and also for the following operations:

· Administration of the USCIS Immigration Services and the benefits

· Adjudicating asylum claims

· Granting Employment Authorization

· Adjudication of non – immigrant temporary workers petition.

· Granting Permanent Residence, and

· Granting US Citizenship

The INS was widely seen as ineffective after the scandals that rose after September 11 2001. Hence the duty was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On March 1, 2003, the INS ceased to exist and services provided by that organization transitioned into USCIS.

As the immigration benefits functions work effectively, a new goal was established in the USCIS immigration Services to process applications efficiently and effectively. This included the provision of effective customer service through different channels, including the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) with information in English and Spanish, Application Support Centers (ASC), the Internet and other channels.

The USCIS Immigration Services focuses on two important points on the immigration journey.

– when an individual first becomes a permanent resident, and

– when he or she is ready to begin the formal naturalization process.

Generally an immigrant should be a permanent resident for five years to be eligible for citizenship. If the individual is married to a US citizen, then it is three years of permanent residency. It is that the individual must be in marriage to a U.S citizen and should be living with that U.S citizen for the past 3 three years of the individual’s permanent residency.

The USCIS Immigration Services has its own official website and it handles all the forms and processing materials related to immigration and naturalization. Currently the USCIS handles two basic types of forms, one which is related to Immigration and other related to Naturalization. Each of the forms are designated by a specific name and alphanumeric sequence. Forms related to Immigration are designated with the letter I and forms related to Naturalization is designated with letter N.

Official USCIS and Immigration Forms provided for download online. The USCIS was formerly known as the INS. Complete list of all USCIS forms and Immigration Form.


Recorded on 4/19/2012 – Captured Live on Ustream at

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