InfoPass is ending. USCIS announced in an October 30, 2018 memorandum that it is replacing InfoPass with the Information Services Modernization Program.
What is InfoPass?
Currently, if you have questions about your immigration case you are able to go online (https://my.uscis.gov/en/appointment/v2) and schedule a time to speak with an immigration officer at your local immigration office. If you don’t have a scheduled appointment it can be very difficult to walk-in to your local immigration office and speak with an immigration officer. A lot of times they won’t speak with you if you don’t have an appointment.
What’s wrong with InfoPass?
Immigration lawyers throughout the country, including Atlanta, know that getting an InfoPass appointment online can be difficult. It is very common to get a message like this one when you try to use InfoPass.
In major cities like Atlanta you must try multiple times over a period of days to secure an InfoPass appointment. My impression is that USCIS cannot accommodate all of the people that have questions about their cases using the current system.
What is USCIS replacing InfoPass with?
The Information Services Modernization Program looks like it might be a more efficient method to get personal attention at your local office when it’s truly necessary. The program appears to filter serious inquiries by forcing people to either call the USCIS Contact Center (1-800-375-5283) or look for an answer at the USCIS website (www.uscis.gov). If you call the Contact Center, you will listen to a menu of items and select the option that you think best meets your situation.
The website already has various menu options that you can use to try to find out more about your case.
If you can’t find an answer regarding your case by using the call menu or by searching the USCIS website, the Call Center will have an option to speak to an officer by phone. If the officer decides that your case is an emergency or can’t be handled remotely by phone or through the website, s/he will be able to schedule you for an in-person appointment at your local USCIS office.
The goal of the Information Service Modernization Program seems to be to filter out the less serious inquiries so that the officers at the local office are only handling true emergencies or cases that can truly only be handled in person.
What cities will have the Information Service Modernization Program and when?
The program will start in the Detroit Field Office and five offices in the Los Angeles District on November 13, 2018. Newark, Great Lakes, and San Francisco District offices will start the program in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. USCIS will roll out the program to all remaining field offices by the end of fiscal year 2019.
The Information Service Modernization Program looks promising. It appears to save people from making unnecessary trips to USCIS (by encouraging them to get their answers by phone or online) while allowing people with cases that can only be addressed in person the opportunity to get an appointment in a timely manner without running into an InfoPass system that is constantly out of appointments. The program seems promising, but it could also potentially be as ineffective as InfoPass if serious calls are not fielded and scheduled properly by the Contact Center. Time will tell if the program truly helps people that needs answers regarding their cases. I hope it works for them.