According to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) many immigrants looking for US immigration services still mistakenly look for INS. Part of the confusion may stem from the outdated information out there. Older books about immigration, well-intentioned friends who were themselves an immigrant decades ago, and even the Internet can all suggest that the INS is still in charge of US immigration administrative matters. However, this is not the case.
The INS (United States Immigration and Naturalization Service), which operated under the US Department of Justice, stopped functioning as an agency in March 2003. As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, a new set of agencies were charged with overseeing US immigration matters. These included the Department of Homeland Security, the USCIS, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Together, these agencies work to keep US residents safe while also providing the services that every immigrant may need at some point. Of these agencies, the USCIS takes care of administrative tasks related to US immigration, including processing of immigrants’ applications and petitions, naturalization services, and US visas.
However, the message may not be getting through. According to the USCIS, thousands of visitors are redirected to the USCIS website because they were looking for “”INS”” through a search engine. In fact, the USCIS reports that in January 2011 alone, 30,000 searches were conducted for “”INS.”” This has lead the USCIS to wonder what can be done to get the message out.
The INS has not been in business for about eight years. However, there are still many references to the INS in shows and in movies. As well, the Internet is full of references to INS forms. Anyone looking for immigration services needs to visit the USCIS website rather than look for INS. As well, anyone interested in immigration services in the US needs to be aware that anyone offering INS forms and INS information is not up to date. When checking websites and books for information about US immigration, be sure to check the date of the publication. Always visit the USCIS website for the latest forms and information. Avoid getting information from friends and family unless you can confirm their information with the USCIS. While friends and family may be well-intentioned, they may not have the most current information. If you need more help than the USCIS can offer, consider a qualified US immigration attorney.