Infopass Interviews

I have recently had to follow up on my client’s I-485 (adjustment of status) petition. We had an interview almost one year ago and are well outside of the norms for receiving a decision. Immigration services are notoriously slow in making decisions. This can be aggravating and bothersome, especially for those who wish to travel outside the country. Since I have been practicing immigration law for many years I knew the proper steps to take in order to get some answers to our questions. After explaining to my client that these situations do come up, I got to work.

I will detail the steps that an applicant or petitioner can take to follow up on their case but it is important to note that often the answer is waiting for a decision.

After an application or petition is sent out successfully, the petitioner or applicant receives a USCIS receipt number. This is a 13 digit number that will begin with three letters to identify the office handling the application, such as EAC, LIN, SRC, or WAC.

Informational Video – Infopass

This number can be used to obtain information on the internet. The USCIS website is at www.uscis.gov. Once you are on the USCIS website, click the “Check My Case Status” link and enter your receipt number. The website has large circles which tell us about the status of the petition or application. I did this for many weeks however the status is often pending which is does not answer many questions that an applicant or petitioner will have. The most useful part of checking the website is the “Check Processing Times” link. There, you can see how long the various USCIS offices or service centers are currently taking to process different types of applications. The processing times can help alleviate some of the impatience.

The next step is to call USCIS directly. This can be done if you have a receipt number or not. To get information over the phone call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 between 8 am and 6 pm local time (regardless of your area). Depending on how busy they are, you can be placed on hold anywhere from two minutes to two hours. Calling has some major drawbacks. First the representatives on the phone are not immigration officers and often do not have any more information than the website. Second, as in my case, they are not allowed to discuss the petition or application over the phone. In my case this was due to the adjustment of status being based on a battered spouse petition which is very confidential in nature.

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After exhausting the phone and the internet, the next step is to set up an appointment at a local USCIS office. This is known as an INFOPASS interview. Appointments can be made on online at infopass.uscis.gov or at a kiosk at the USCIS office. Making an appointment proves to be difficult as offices are very busy and available appointments fill up quickly. Trying early in the morning is the best advice. If an applicant or petitioner cannot get an appointment they have to keep trying every day until a date is available. For my case I tried for almost two weeks until I was able to secure a slot. INFO PASS gives you a specific date and time. On the day of your appointment bring the appointment notice with you your unexpired photo id and all immigration documents you have in your possession. If you didn’t have a printer and you scheduled the appointment you can re-print the notice on a later date. Come early to the appointment as everybody has to go through metal detectors. Once you go up to the indicated room check in. Once checked in you will have to wait to be called. This is often a long wait so keep your day free.

In my experience an INFO PASS appointment is valuable as the officers are better equipped to help you with your questions. When you are called make sure you have your documents ready to present. This allows the officer to quickly look up your petition or application in the system and to better answer any questions that you have. It is a good idea to write all of your questions down ahead of time in order not to forget them when you are finally called. You do not want to walk out of your appointment and remember that you forget a critical question.

In general an INFO PASS appointment is informal and stress free. It is not an asylum or adjustment of status interview. It is a fact gathering device when, as often happens, USCIS is slow to respond to other requests for information. However it is a useful tool that everybody has at their disposal. It takes a little bit of work to secure an appointment and a little bit of time to go through the check in process. However the results are often very worthwhile and valuable. Questions get answered and nerves get calmed. My advice is to first try your luck online or over the phone but if this proves fruitless, INFOPASS is the way to go.

Complete your immigration paperwork using our online software. We make it easy!

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