U.S. Immigration Agencies

U.S. Immigration Agencies

The alphabet soup of government agencies involved in the immigration process can be confusing, but each plays an important role in the U.S. immigration process. The following federal agencies are the most common agencies that you may come into contact with during the immigration process.

DHS: Department of Homeland Security. This is the federal executive department responsible for public security. It is roughly comparable to the interior or home ministries of other countries.

USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS is an agency of DHS that administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system.

CBP: U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

NVC: The National Visa Center is part of the U.S. State Department. After USCIS approves your immigration visa petition, they forward your petition to the NVC in Portsmouth, NH for immigrant visa pre-processing at the correct time.

ICE: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE was created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the former U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

INS: Immigration and Naturalization Service. Referred to by some as former INS and by others as legacy INS, the agency ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred to three new entities – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

DOS: U.S. Department of State. The DOS handles all matters related to foreign policy and immigration. DOS is responsible for issuing and processing visas for foreign nationals who want to travel to the United States or work in the U.S.

DOJ: U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ also deals with some immigration matters and houses the EOIR.

EOIR: Executive Office for Immigration Review. A subagency of the United States Department of Justice whose chief function is to conduct removal proceedings in immigration courts and adjudicate appeals arising from the proceedings.

BIA: Board of Immigration Appeals. The BIA is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws.

As you can see, the United States immigration process is a complex process that involves multiple federal agencies working together and independently to help oversee the steps involved in visiting or immigrating to the United States. Each has its own requirements, which is what makes the immigration process, which can seem simple, actually quite layered an complex.

If you or a loved one are considering applying for an immigration visa, the experienced immigration attorneys at the Scott Law Firm can help you to navigate the process and the various agencies involved. Contact our immigration attorneys today!