Effective November 26, 2018, USCIS is no longer accepting walk-in requests or scheduling InfoPass appointments for New Jersey. As we wrote in earlier blog, this is all part of a national initiative to transition to the new Information Services Modernization Program. Under the new protocol, individuals will first have to call a USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 to conduct their query. Representatives will supposedly be available Monday through Friday from 8am to 9pm, eastern time except during federal holidays.
According to a recent Stakeholder meeting conducted at the Newark District Office, there will be four tiers of agents. All callers will initially have to address their issues with a Tier One contract agent, who will have limited access to USCIS systems. If the agent determines that the issue cannot be resolved, the call will be escalated to a Tier Two information Service Officer, who will have broader access to all USCIS systems. If Tier Two cannot resolve, then the call will be forwarded upwards. All calls will supposedly be recorded. Furthermore, there are apparently sixteen classes of cases where agents and officers are instructed to schedule InfoPass appointments. Some of the more notable categories include:
- ADIT stamps
Also known as I-551 or “green card stamps,” these stamps are evidence of one’s permanent residence. One may need an ADIT stamp, for example, when one has applied to remove conditions on his/her residence and now needs to renew one’s license with the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission. Another example would be individuals who have applied to renew their green cards, which have since expired, and now need to travel.
- Emergency Advance Parole
Advance Parole allows an individual to travel outside the US without triggering the three or ten-year unlawful presence bar or abandoning an adjustment of status application. These applications are filed on Form I-131 and are currently taking up to six months to receive. Individuals faced with exigent, emergent circumstances before then may need to apply for parole on an emergency basis and would have to do so by visiting the local office.
- Deferred Action
- Parole in Place
- Lost Immigrant Visas
- SAVE referrals
SAVE is an electronic program administered by USCIS that allows federal, state, and local agencies to verify an individual’s immigration status before granting a benefit.
- Immigration Judge decisions or grants requiring the individual to appear before USCIS
- Applications that have to be filed locally
It is envisioned that an InfoMod agent/officer should be able to address all of an individual’s questions, thereby obviating a visit to the local office unless absolutely necessary.
How this will all play out remains to be seen, as the program has just been implemented. In any case, we will update this as new developments arise. In the interim, individuals may want to consider consulting with an attorney to truly understand their cases. While first tier contract agents are putatively trained to handle calls, there is vast potential for error and misunderstanding.
The above is general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor should it be relied upon in lieu of consultation with an attorney.