Infopass: Finally you can talk to an immigration officer
Over the past two years the USCIS has expanded its InfoPass system to service centers around the country in order to reduce waiting lines and speed up the processing of cases. The internet-based system provides a process for applicants to meet directly with immigration officers to ask questions about their cases or follow up on a pending application.
When is InfoPass a good option for you?
The InfoPass system can be used to (1) obtain immigration forms, (2) file an application for yourself or someone else, (3) replace a green card, (4) ask a question about your case, (5) speak with an immigration officer, (6) follow up on an application for work authorization that has been pending for more than 90 days, or (7) pursuant to a letter from the Service directing you to do so, schedule an appointment to have your passport stamped.
InfoPass appointments can easily be scheduled via internet at http://infopass.uscis.gov/. The directions are provided in twelve different languages. You will be required to provide the applicant’s full name, address, zip code, phone number, and date of birth. The system also requires you to select one of the aforementioned reasons for the appointment. The system will then provide available dates and times for appointments in the upcoming two weeks, and you can choose which best fit into your schedule. After you have selected an appointment, it is very important to print the final screen in the process and bring that form with you on the date of your appointment. You will need this document in order to enter the service center. There is no penalty for canceling appointments, and cancellation can be done with the same web-based system.
It should be noted that there are other means by which to address the problems listed above. For example, a case status can be checked on the USCIS website by providing the number on your receipt notice, and a green card can be renewed by filing a Form I-90 and paying the appropriate fee. You can also obtain basic information about your case over the telephone at 1-800-375-5283.
What happens at an InfoPass Appointment?
On the date of your appointment you must bring the form you printed from the website, government-issued identification (i.e. valid driver’s license, passport, Work Authorization Card, or green card), and any documentation that relates to your inquiry. For example, if you plan to follow up on a work authorization application that was filed more than 90 days prior, you should bring the receipt notice with you.
When you arrive at the service center it might be necessary to wait in a few different lines or places, depending on how large the service center is and how many people it serves in the surrounding area. At 26 Federal Plaza in New York City, you will likely wait in line to see an officer at one desk who will provide you with a number based on the queue in the area you seek assistance. You will then proceed to the appropriate waiting room and wait for your number to be called, at which time you will speak with a second immigration officer about the specifics of your inquiry.
It might be frustrating to spend a long time waiting to speak with an immigration officer and not receive immediate results in your case. However, an InfoPass appointment is likely to move your case along where it could have remained stagnant due to an administrative oversight.
InfoPass appointments will not be useful if scheduled immediately following an interview or other occurrence in your case. It is best to allow some time to pass to give the Service time to get the job done (except for the 90 days specified in the case of a work authorization application).