In most immigration cases, the question about the agency to which should be used first can be answered according to the place in which is located the individual in need of assistance:
- If you are already inside the borders of the United States and need assistance with an issue of immigration (including applications for legal permanent residence, change of status of citizenship and immigration), you probably need to contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS).
- If you are a foreign citizen located abroad and need assistance with an issue of immigration (as the application of non-immigrant visa for an international trip or refugee status), you should probably contact the embassy or the local consulate of the United States Department of State.
[alert-note]The government agency that many people probably still associated with immigration is the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigration and Naturalization Service, INS), but this no longer exists. In 2003, was created in its place a branch of the Department of National Security of the united States called the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Service of the united States. Below you will find more information about the USCIS.[/alert-note]
United States Citizenship and Immigration service
Created in 2003, the Office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is a branch of the Department of National Security of the United States. The USCIS is in charge of all applications and authorizations related to immigration for the foreigners who are found within the borders of the united States. When a foreigner wishes to enter the United States, one is subject to the authorization of the USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the power to authorize or deny admission to the United States, even when the individual has obtained a valid visa from the embassy or the consulate of the United States on the outside.
The USCIS processes all the benefits of immigrants and non-immigrants that is given to visitors of the united States, including the following:
- Requests family: to facilitate the process of immigration of close family members, to obtain permanent residence, work in the united States, etc
- Work requests: to facilitate the process of immigration or temporary stay in the united States of current employees or candidates.
- Processing of asylum seekers and refugees: to decide on the asylum and processing refugees.
- Naturalization: to approve the citizenship of eligible persons who wish to become u.s. citizens.
More information: USCIS Website
United States Department of State
Foreign citizens who wish to obtain more information on immigration to the United States should contact the embassy or the consulate of the United States Department of State in its country. Remember that, once an individual enters the United States, this is subject to the authorization of the USCIS that was mentioned above.
More information: Website of the Department of State of the United States
Bureau of Customs and United States Border Protection (CBP)
The single unified organisation that secures the borders and ports of entry of the United States is the Bureau of Customs and United States Border Protection (Customs and Border Protection, CBP), a subsidiary of the United States Department of National Security. The CBP brings together the customs inspector, the immigration inspector and the agriculture inspector at the entry points of the country, such as borders, airports, and seaports. The CBP aims to facilitate the flow of trade and tourism legitimate through the points of entry to the United States, at the time, which prevents the entry into the country of terrorist activities and criminal.
More information: Website of the CBP
Immigration and United States Customs enforcement
The Service of Immigration and United States Customs enforcement (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE), the division of the largest research of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the agency responsible for identify and block the vulnerable points on the borders of the country, as well as economic security, transportation, and infrastructure. The ICE has the authority to proceed with the detention and repatriation of illegal immigrants.
More information: Website of the ICE
Legal assistance with the Immigration Process
You need to know the steps that involves meticulous preparation for each stage of the immigration process. If you or a loved one are considering live in the united States or become a citizen should contact an experienced immigration lawyer who can guide you at every stage of the process and protect your rights.