All About INS

March 30, 2011 § 3 Comments

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the INS) is the official government agency that manages the entire immigration related matters in the United States.

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) were earlier known as the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization (BCIS) since 1903. The INS was established on 10 June 1933 with its merger to administer matters related to established immigration and naturalization policy. The INS ceased to exist under that name on 1st March, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred to three new agencies within the newly created Department of Homeland Security, as part of a major government re organization after September 11 attacks of 2001.

How is the INS Referred to Today?

The administration of all immigration services, including permanent residence, naturalization, asylum, and other functions came under the the responsibility of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), which existed only for a short time before changing to its current name, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

While applying for a visa or green card, immigration forms are to be filed either at the American Consulate or with the USCIS (formerly the INS) if the applicant is in the US. The USCIS (formerly the INS) is the authority that processes all the applications/petitions filed in the US.

The Application Process:

After you send the completed application/petition to the USCIS (formerly the INS) along with the correct fee and supporting documents, you will receive an Application Receipt Notice that has a 13-character application receipt number. This number generally starts with EAC, WAC, LIN, or SRC. You can track the status of your application using this number while the application.

If you want to check the status of your case with the application receipt number, you may visit the USCIS’s website, and select the link entitled “Case Status Online” and enter the application receipt number. If you do not have a receipt number, you can click “Processing Times” that you will find on the USCIS “Case Status Online” page to find out how long USCIS takes to process certain applications. Processing times differ according to the type of application you filed and the location of the USCIS Application Service Center (ASC) where your application was filed. If you do not receive any notice from the USCIS (formerly the INS) even after thirty days of having submitted your application, you can contact them at their toll-free telephone number and talk to their customer service representatives who will provide you with the necessary guidance regarding the application submitted.

Applicants and their representatives (lawyers, charitable groups, or corporations) who are in need of regular access to information about the multiple cases they submitted can create an account to get this information easily. The services provided by USCIS (formerly the INS) to both such account types are similar except for the fact that applicants’ representatives can have their own internal office tracking number with each receipt number when dealing with multiple cases.

In addition to this, a new program provides the option where you can receive a text message notification to your US mobile phone number whenever a case status update happens. Applicants and representatives can avail this facility to receive this notification. However, Standard Messaging Rates or other charges related to such these notifications may apply. Applicants and their representatives can also receive case status updates at their e-mail address.


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