1. What issues does the CIS Ombudsman help with?
The CIS Ombudsman is an office of last resort for case assistance, and we ask that you first attempt to resolve the issue with USCIS before submitting a request to our office.
Go to our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page to see how to seek help from USCIS. The page also includes the most up-to-date list of the types of issues we can and cannot help with. Please also read our Web Alerts page for recent updates that may affect you if you want to request case assistance from our office.
2. How do I submit a case assistance request?
Please go to our How to Submit a Case Assistance Request page for instructions, including how to seek help from USCIS first. Please also read our Web Alerts page for recent updates that may affect you if you want to request case assistance from our office.
Please remember to submit supporting documentation with your case assistance request, correspondence from USCIS, proper consent by the applicant or petitioner, and a properly signed Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative if you are an attorney or accredited representative. If you are requesting case assistance because you believe there is clear USCIS error, submit an explanation of why you believe there is an error and copies of the denial or rejection notice, original submission, and appeal and/or motion receipt notice with supporting documentation.
Please be mindful that filing a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman does not protect your appeal and motion rights or extend any USCIS deadlines you may face. If you received a request for evidence or other notice requesting information, you must respond to USCIS within the timeframe noted on the notice even if you disagree with the request, or you risk getting denied for failing to respond. If you received a denial notice and believe there is clear USCIS error, you should file an appeal or motion to reopen or reconsider by the due date listed on the denial notice or you will lose your right to appeal.
3. Who is considered a petitioner or a beneficiary?
The petitioner is an employer or individual (such as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) who files a petition on behalf of a noncitizen. The beneficiary is the noncitizen for whom the petition is submitted. We cannot assist the beneficiary of a petition unless the petitioner's consent is provided with the DHS Form 7001.
4. Who is considered an applicant?
An applicant is the individual who signs and applies for an immigration benefit with USCIS. There are some circumstances where an applicant also needs a petitioner’s consent, such as with multiple applications/petitions filed together where the underlying petition has not yet been approved. For example, if an underlying immigrant visa petition (such as a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers) is not yet approved, the petitioner's consent is required to request information about the immigrant visa petition filed together with it (such as a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
5. Who needs to sign the case assistance request and provide consent?
When we receive a case assistance request, we initially check for two items:
- The individual who signed the form submitted to USCIS must have signed and dated DHS Form 7001 to provide proper consent for the case assistance request. If you are requesting assistance on an application that depends on an immigrant petition (such as an employment-based Form I-140 or family-based Form I-130), please have the petitioner who signed the Form I-140 or I-130 also provide consent; and
- A legal representative (if any) must have submitted a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, and it must match the one submitted to USCIS for the form for which you are seeking assistance.
If you are an applicant for T, U, VAWA, or refugee status or were previously granted the status, we must check for two additional items:
- Your address must match the address in USCIS systems. We can only communicate with you via U.S. postal mail to comply with the law and keep your case confidential. If your address with USCIS is incorrect, go to USCIS’ How to Change Your Address page to see how to update it; and
- If you do not have a legal representative, you must have provided your actual (“wet”) signature. You can do so by signing the consent part of the DHS Form 7001, scanning it, and uploading it as a supporting document with your online DHS Form 7001.
If any of these items is missing or inaccurate, we will close your case assistance request and will not be able to communicate with you until you correct the issue.
6. My family members also need help with their immigration case. Can I include them all on the same case assistance request?
No. Each family member experiencing difficulties with USCIS must file a separate DHS Form 7001 and provide us their consent. We research each individual’s case and reach out to the appropriate USCIS office with jurisdiction over each pending case. A parent may complete a DHS Form 7001 for a minor child.
If you also have a family member who needs case assistance, check the box in Section 5 of the DHS Form 7001 to let us know. After you and your family member(s) have each submitted a separate DHS Form 7001, you will each receive a confirmation email with your CIS Ombudsman request number. Please then send an email with all related CIS Ombudsman request numbers to email@example.com to make sure we link the case assistance requests together. This will enable us to work the cases together.
7. I filed multiple petitions and need help. Can I include them all on the same case assistance request?
If you submitted aForm I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, that included multiple beneficiaries (such as for H-2A or H-2B visa classifications), you may list up to 25 of these beneficiaries on the same case assistance request (DHS Form 7001). Please include only the beneficiaries that you need our assistance with.
However, if you need our assistance with more than one receipt number, please submit a separate DHS Form 7001 for each. For example:
- If you submit a case assistance request for a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, that you filed together with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, we will only inquire on either the Form I-485 or the Forms I‑765/I-131 (combo cards or otherwise) with USCIS. If you need assistance with all of these forms, please submit two case assistance requests: one for the Form I‑485 and a second for the Forms I-765 and I‑131. Then send us an email with all related CIS Ombudsman request numbers to firstname.lastname@example.org so we may link the case assistance requests together. This will enable us to work the cases together.
- If you are a U.S. citizen and you concurrently filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with your immediate relative’s Form I-485, you can submit one DHS Form 7001; however, we must receive signed consent from both individuals (the petitioner and the beneficiary who is applying for a Green Card).
8. I have multiple applications pending with USCIS. If I list these receipt numbers on my DHS Form 7001, can you inquire with USCIS on all of them?
Our inquiries to USCIS are generally for one receipt number—with a few exceptions. The three situations where you can list multiple forms on the same DHS Form 7001 are:
- If you filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status together with USCIS, and they are still pending, or
- If you filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document together with USCIS, and they are still pending, or
- If you filed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence and Form N-400, Application for Naturalization together with USCIS, and they are still pending.
Otherwise, if you would like our assistance with more than one pending application or petition, please complete a separate DHS Form 7001 and include the USCIS contact dates and SRMT confirmation numbers or USCIS responses for the specific receipt number.
9. What are the most common case assistance issues?
In 2021, some of the most common issues were processing delays, difficulties in obtaining appointments at a local USCIS office or application support center, and file transfer delays.