On June 11, 2013, I wrote about how when an attorney calls the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) the wait is more than an hour, but when an alien calls about his or her own case, he or she gets nearly immediate help.
It turns out I was not just being paranoid. Lawyers were being treated differently. The NCSC works on a two-tier system. Normal inquiries go to Tier One and “unique and complex cases,” i.e., cases you actually have to call about because of excessive delays or mistakes in handling, go to Tier 2. Tier 2 operators were the only ones who could send an inquiry to the USCIS office dealing with a case to try to find out about a problem with a case. All attorney calls have been routed to Tier 2, where all the waiting is. USCIS announced that this will change on August 16. Tier One call operators will be able to refer cases to USCIS offices to look into cases and explain the reasons for a delay or solve a problem leading to delays or mistakes. This was the USCIS announcement:
USCIS is changing call routing procedures at the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) to provide faster and more efficient service. Beginning August 16, attorneys and BIA-accredited representatives who need assistance with their client’s case can quickly connect with an NCSC customer service representative, who will send the inquiry to the appropriate USCIS office for resolution. Under this new process, the customer service representative will assess the nature of the call and either accept a service request or transfer the call for more in-depth review. This change will improve the management of calls and reduce wait times to provide timely, individualized customer service to all USCIS customers and their representatives.
As always, USCIS offers its customers a number of online self-help tools. Applicants and their representatives can check case status, find average processing times, submit a case status inquiry (e-Request), change their address or find a USCIS office any time on the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov.
USCIS Public Engagement Division
Let’s hope that now the NCSC will become a serious tool for USCIS’s customers to solve problems with their cases and for USCIS to learn about and solve problems in their adjudication systems. Posted August 9, 2013.