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US Citizenship and Immigration Services

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the US Government branch of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for providing immigration services and benefits. I am a community relations officer in our Northeast Regional office in South Burlington Vermont. My jurisdiction includes New England, NY, and south to VA and WV.

USCIS works with local governments, libraries and qualified immigration service providers to ensure immigrants receive accurate information about immigration benefits. To ensure health information providers are aware of USCIS and our resources, in addition to the attached I have prepared the following snapshot:

1) Need help with your USCIS forms?

You can file USCIS forms yourself, but many people choose to have help. You may need help writing in the answers to questions on USCIS forms or translating documents into English. You can get this type of limited help from anyone. This person should only charge you a small fee and not claim to have special knowledge of immigration law and procedure. Not sure what immigration benefit to apply for or which USCIS forms you need to file? Then you may need immigration legal advice. Only attorneys or accredited representatives can:

  • Give you legal advice about which forms to submit
  • Explain immigration options you may have
  • Communicate with USCIS about your case

See: http://www.uscis.gov/legaladvice

2) Are you getting the right immigration help?

Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so. While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off. This is against the law and may be considered an immigration services scam. If you need help filing an application or petition with USCIS, be sure to seek assistance from the right place, and from people that are authorized to help. Going to the wrong place can:

  • Delay your application or petition
  • Cost you unnecessary fees
  • Possibly lead to removal proceedings

See:
http://www.uscis.gov/avoidscams
http://www.uscis.gov/eviteestafas

The attached “UPIL Brochure…” is available in several languages here.

In addition to reporting an immigration scam to your State Attorney General or Consumer Protection office anyone (including those reporting a complaint on behalf of someone else) can and should report immigration scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). See:https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

More information on immigration is provided by the FTC here:
http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0142-immigration-help

Submitted by Ted Albers, USCIS Northeast Regional Community Relations Officer,
South Burlington, VT 802-660-5007 william.e.albers@uscis.dhs.gov

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