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USCIS Policy Review

USCIS has been pressured in recent years to make its policies clearer and its practices more effective. Some immigrants wait months or even longer for immigration requests to be processed, and instructions and well as processed can be confusing. The USCIS has launched a USCIS Policy Review in 2010 in order to address these issues. The multi-stage process is expected to take some time.

By summer 2010, the USCIS had completed one phase of the Policy Review – defining the areas or topics which will be addressed in the Policy Review. The USCIS came up with its list or priorities for Policy Review by surveying USCIS employees, external stakeholders, and external stakeholders about the topic. Over 5000 individuals took part in the survey. As a result, the USCIS released its list of topics to prioritize during the Policy Review. These areas include:

1. National Customer Service Center
2. Naturalization
3. Adjustment of Status (Employment-Based)
4. Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility)
5. General Humanitarian Programs
6. Employment Authorization and Travel Documents
7. Nonimmigrant H-1B (specialty occupations)
8. Adjustment of Status (Family-Based)
9. Employment-Based Immigrants Preference Categories 1 and 2 (professionals, priority workers, and advanced degree holders) and 3 (skilled employees and professionals)
10. Refugee and Asylum Adjustment of Status

Now that these areas have been defined, the USCIS will create working groups. Each working group will be assigned one priority area of focus and will be expected to review the area. The groups will gather documentation and information about each area and will work with customer service representatives, analysts, adjudicators, and other USCIS employees in evaluating each area. Each working group will carefully examine their area of focus, looking at instructions, documents, policies, and guidelines. Each working group will try to clarify documentation about each area, remove redundancies, and create more effective policies in that area.

Eventually, different groups will work together to ensure that the topics of interest are together free of redundancies as well as other problems. The result, USCIS hopes, will be a clearer and more streamlined policy in each area and in the USCIS as a whole. In the final phase of the Policy Review, the policies and documentation from each topic area will be made available online, allowing everyone access to the more transparent USCIS documents and polices. Although the Policy Review may take some time, experts hope that the process will make the USCIS more user-friendly and easier to navigate in ten important topic areas.

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