INS or the Immigration and Naturalization Service was the federal agency that was administering all the issues related to immigration and naturalization. USCIS, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is the agency that now deals with issues related to immigration and naturalization. However, both the agencies are not the same and the INS does not exist and it was dismissed in the year 2003, after the terrorist attacks shook America in 2001. After the INS was dissolved, the US Department of Homeland security was created and the responsibilities of the INS were transferred to three different agencies within the US Department of Homeland Security.
There are several differences between INS and USCIS. INS was established in the year 1933 by the federal government in order to regulate US immigration. INS was first controlled by the US Department of Labor and then by the Department of Justice. INS was responsible for the enforcement and protection of the naturalization and immigration laws. INS had branches and offices within the country and abroad and the agency dealt with issues related to immigration. It also detained and deported the undocumented immigrants and checked illegal immigration. Field operations, Programs, Policy and Planning and Management were the four main divisions of the INS. However, INS does not exist and it was dissolved in 2003 and its functions are now being carried out by the USCIS, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
All the administrative functions of the INS are now administered by the USCIS and the functions of the USCIS include, processing of visa, asylum and naturalization applications. Likewise, USCIS oversees immigration benefits and services and deals with all the forms related to naturalization and immigration. USCIS adjudicates immigrant visa applications and naturalization applications and grants lawful status and US citizenship to the eligible applicants. One of the top priorities of the USCIS is to improve customer relationships.
Though the functions that are now performed by the USCIS were earlier performed by the INS, it is not correct to use the name INS to refer to the current agency. Many still believe that INS and USCIS are both the same and that is not true. INS was dissolved in 2003 and the agency that is currently offering services related to naturalization and immigration is USCIS. All the functions that were performed by the INS are not being performed by the USCIS and only the administrative functions are handled by the USCIS and the other functions of the INS are handled by the other two agencies, CBP and ICE. CBP is responsible for the enforcement of several drug laws and laws related to immigration and is also responsible for securing the border. Likewise, ICE is the investigative agency and this agency regulates the immigration and tax laws of the country.