The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a division within the Department of Homeland Security. Formerly known as the INS, the USCIS is responsible for managing immigration and naturalization issues, as well as directing services that are in charge of promoting national security.
Officially, the USCIS came to fruition in 2003, after the INS was disbanded and all its services were moved to the newly formed division, the USCIS. The majority of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ budget consists of revenue collected from filing fees for processing immigration forms. The office of citizenship is included in the USCIS which aims at disseminating information about US citizenship and providing enough study materials relating to the US history and civics tests.
As mentioned before, the INS changed into the USCIS in the year 2003. The INS became very ineffective following scandals that took place in the year 2001. When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) came into being, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services took over immigration service functions as well as US immigration and customs enforcement functions.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services executes a lot of tasks and ensures that the security of the nation is safeguarded with their service. The stated mission of the USCIS includes:
- Providing national security services
- Improving customer service by guiding applicants in all aspects of US immigration
- Efficiently clearing immigration cases without having a backlog
- Developing solutions to all immigration related issues.
In addition, the USCIS is responsible for reviewing immigrant visa petitions and naturalization applications, providing immigration services and benefits, assessing refugee and asylum claims, providing Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), and granting permanent residency and citizenship to the most eligible foreign nationals.
Recently it has been reported that there was a surge in applications due to the backlog in naturalization applications, Form N400, Application for Naturalization. The number of applications received in 2007 was three times the number that the USCIS ordinarily received. This was probably due to an increase in applications prior to the impending rise in the filing fee for Form N400. As a result, the USCIS increased the number of working hours as well as providing enough staff in order to alleviate the backlog. Interestingly, after the filing fee for Form N400 went up, the number of naturalization applications dropped by 80%.