U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that manages lawful immigration to the US. The USCIS is a component of the Department of Homeland Security.
On March 1, 2003, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially took over the responsibility for all immigration functions of the federal government. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 disassembled the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and separated the former agency into three groups within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The USCIS (formerly the INS ) was formed to enhance the security measures and improve the efficiency of national immigration services. The other two components of the DHS, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) take care of immigration enforcement and border security functions.
Some of the Services that the USCIS (formerly the INS) Provides
Citizenship (Includes the Related Naturalization Process):
Eligible individuals who want to become US citizens through naturalization have to submit their N-400 applications to USCIS. The USCIS will determine eligibility of the applicant, process the application and, if approved, will schedule the applicant for a ceremony to take the Oath of Allegiance. The USCIS also determines the eligibility and provides documentation of US citizenship for individuals who acquired or derived US citizenship through their parents’ status as US citizens.
Immigration of Family Members:
The USCIS also manages the process that will allow permanent residents and US citizens to bring their close relatives to live and work in the US.
Working in the U.S:
Individuals from other countries can come and work in the US. Some of the job opportunities are temporary, and some also get a green card (permanent residence). The USCIS manages this process too.
Verifying an Individual’s Legal Right to Work in the US:
USCIS takes care of the system that will allow employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
USCIS also administers humanitarian programs that offers protection to individuals inside and outside the US who are displaced by war, famine and civil and political unrest, and also to those who are forced to flee their countries to escape the risk of death and torture at the hands of persecutors.
The first step in the process for US citizens adopting children from other countries are handled by the USCIS. Every year, approximately 20,000 adoptions take place.
The USCIS promotes instruction and training on citizenship rights and responsibilities. They provide immigrants with the information and tools that are necessary to successfully integrate into American civic culture.
The mission of USCIS is to administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly and correctly. At this time of increased global threats and national security challenges, the main obligation is to provide immigration service in a manner that strengthens and fortifies the nation. While performing the mission, they adopt a holistic approach to Vigilance. They take utmost care in carefully administering every aspect of their immigration mission so that new immigrants and citizens can hold in high regard the privileges and advantages of lawful presence in the US.
The goal of USCIS is to secure America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to all their customers, granting immigration and other benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of American citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of the US immigration system. They employ 18,000 persons and their contractors work at 250 offices across the world.
The United States allowed more legal immigrants from 1991 to 2000, between ten and eleven million, than in any previous decade. By comparison, the highest previous decade was the 1900s, when 8.8 million people arrived, increasing the total US population by one percent every year. Specifically, nearly 15% of Americans were foreign-born in 1910, while in 1999, only about 10% were foreign-born.
Immigrants accounted for 4.7 percent of the US population in 1970 and it rose to 6.2 percent in 1980, As of 2010, a quarter of the residents of the United States under 18 are immigrants or are children of immigrants. According to a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2008, eight percent of all babies born in the US belonged to illegal immigrant parents.
250,000 in the 1930s
2.5 million in the 1950s
4.5 million in the 1970s
7.3 million in the 1980s
10 million in the 1990s
Since 2000, legal immigrants to the US number approximately 1,000,000 per year, of whom about 600,000 who already are in the US change their status. Legal immigrants to the US now are at their highest level ever, at just over 37,000,000. Illegal immigration may account to 1,500,000 per year with at least 700,000 illegal immigrants arriving every year. From 1990 to 2000, immigration led to a 57.4% increase in foreign born population.
Immigration Estimates for the Future
The Census Bureau further estimates the US population will grow from 281 million in 2000 to 397 million in 2050 with immigration, but only to 328 million with no immigration. Additionally, a new report from the Pew Research Center projects that by 2050, 47% of the population will consist of non-Hispanic whites, down from the 2005 figure of 67%. In 1960, there were 85% non-Hispanic whites. The report also foresees the Hispanic population rising from 14% in 2005 to 29% by 2050. Whereas the Asian population is expected to more than triple by 2050. Overall, the population of the US is due to rise from 296 million in 2005 to 438 million in 2050, with 82% of the increase because of immigrants.
In 35 of Americas 50 largest cities, non-Hispanic whites were at the last census or are predicted to be in the minority. In California alone, non-Hispanic whites who were 80% of the state’s population in 1970 came down to 42.3% in 2008.
Immigrants mostly settle in seven states, California, New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois, that comprises about 44% of the US population on the whole. The combined total population of immigrants in these seven states is 70% of the total foreign-born population as of 2000. If the present birth rate and immigration rate is to remain the same for another 70 to 80 years, the US population would double to a staggering 600 million approximately. The Census Bureau’s estimates predict that there will be one billion Americans in 2100, compared to one million people in 1700 and 5.2 million in 1800.
Every year, thousands of people come to the United States of America, either for a visit or to live and work there. United States, the land of immigrants is the most preferred destination in terms of immigration. Immigrants understand the privileges of being lawful residents in the US. The process and procedures of entering the US vary based on the intention of one’s visit. Visas and green cards are the most commonly preferred methods to facilitate the visit. To get a visa or green card, US immigration forms have to be filed at the American Consulate in the immigrant’s home country or with the USCIS if the applicant is in the US.
Immigrant and non-immigrant visas are the two types of visas available. Non-immigrant visas are for temporary visits such as for tourism, study, or work whereas immigrant visas are for Permanent Residence later which will fetch you US Citizenship. Visitor visas, work visas, student visas are some of the visas that are issued based on the immigrant’s intention of visit. The US immigration forms are available on the government’s official website http://www.uscis.gov. Apart from this, there are many private websites that have the US immigration forms on their website and they charge a fee for helping the applicants in preparing and filing the forms. An attorneys’ assistance is sought at times to complete the forms that can be complicated at times.
The USCIS (formerly known as the INS) is the official government agency that processes and gives a decision for all the applications/petitions filed in the US. They are the sole authority that approves or rejects any form. Approximately 40% of the applications/petitions submitted are rejected annually because of being erroneous or incomplete. This proves that the US immigration forms are at times sophisticated to file. The US immigration laws are very strict and vigilant to make sure all immigrants enter and stay legally. So any form filed even with the smallest of errors gets rejected. The application is rejected if the authorities find even a small evidence of suspicion. So it is always recommended that the applicant be transparent and truthful in all the information he/she provides in the application.
All the immigration forms have separate filing instructions that will have information about the fees, the supporting documents they need to send and the mailing address and also other additional instructions that is user specific. After the applicant submits his/her application to the USCIS, he/she will get a receipt for the form filed. This notice will have a number with which the applicant can check the status of the application/petition submitted. The applicant will also be notified about the biometrics appointment. The processing time for the forms varies from one another. The process may be expedited for certain applicants considering the situation under which they are filing. The USCIS revises the forms frequently and it is the expiry and revision dates of the forms that get updated. Some applications can be e-filed. In this case, all supporting documentation can be submitted at the time of their interview.