Learning About the USCIS

passport and social security card

At Buhler Thomas Law. P.C., our immigration attorneys are here to help you with any and all citizenship- or immigration-related issues. Many of our dealings are directly with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, abbreviated USCIS.

What exactly is the USCIS, and what are its primary purposes and functions? Let’s take a look.

Primary Functions

The primary functions of the USCIS are twofold: Processing petitions and applications for naturalization, visas or asylum, and making adjudicative decisions at specific service centers. They also manage all immigrations benefits and related functions, with responsibilities including:

  • Issuing employment authorization documents
  • Granting lawful permanent resident status
  • Granting citizenship to the United States
  • Adjudicating asylum claims
  • Adjudicating petitions for non-immigrant workers

The USCIS is a continuation of the former INS, which handled many of these responsibilities. The USCIS does not enforce immigration laws – this designation remains under the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The primary focus of the USCIS is on permanent residence and the naturalization process, which are both vital factors for immigration.

Form Management

Any forms related to immigration or naturalization are handled exclusively by the USCIS. Forms will have a name, then a sequence featuring one letter followed by two or three digits. Forms for naturalization will contain an N, where forms for immigration will contain an I.


There are a few specific operations in which the USCIS is involved:

  • Funding: The USCIS is funded primarily by user fees, which often account for up to 99 percent of the total budget, which is in the billions.
  • Internet: The USCIS has had its current official website (gov) since a redesign in 2009, and they also run an online appointment schedule which allows people to ask immigration questions. They also maintain an immigration blog.
  • Staffing: Roughly 19,000 employees are employed by the USCIS, with over 200 offices around the globe.

Want to learn more about the USCIS, or how our immigration attorneys can help you interact with them properly? Speak to a citizenship attorney at Buhler Thomas Law. P.C. today.