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The US Visa Process: What Is USCIS?

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, we're discussing USCIS. It kind of came to my attention that I had a lot of videos on this channel talking about immigration and I didn't really explain what USCIS is.

USCIS, the acronym stands for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, they are generally the repository of immigration petitions so in the videos where we're discussing things like the K-1 visas, the CR-1 visa, the IR-1 visa, the K-3 visa, the E-2 visa, EB-5 visa, the L-1 visa, any of these immigration benefits, any or all of these immigration benefits are going to be adjudicated in a petition process which is undertaken by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, USCIS, that is their fundamental function.

They operate under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS primarily deals with this part of the process. Those who are interested in information about family based immigration should note that this is just one prong of the overall process. This is just one aspect of and one agency that's going to go ahead and deal with immigration petitions such as things like the fiancée visa or the marriage visa. The other thing is with respect to things like adjustment of status. So those who enter the United States in a say K-1 status and go ahead and wish to get a green card after getting married to a U.S. citizen, USCIS is going to deal with that.

As far as the actual issuance of a visa to an individual overseas, that is going to be undertaken by officers with the Department of State at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. So really USCIS doesn't exactly have anything to do with that specific function but the underlying petition which makes the visa application possible is dealt with and adjudicated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. They have various service centers around the country, around the United States and they do have a few field offices abroad. These various USCIS offices adjudicate different types of petitions at different locations and they have different processing times at each service center. So the specifics of one’s case will probably dictate the speed and location at which and with which the one’s immigrant visa petition will go ahead and be adjudicated. So again, it's kind of difficult to get in to generalities or to get into specifics on this. This is only meant as sort of a general outline of what USCIS is and what it does and provide some insight into how the overall process for getting a U.S. visa for a loved one overseas would work.