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Office of Public Engagement to Customer Service and Public Engagement Directorate


Mariela Melero is the Associate Director, Customer Service and Public Engagement Directorate

What We Do

The Customer Service and Public Engagement Directorate’s mission is to provide clear, accurate, and timely response to customer concerns and questions, and engage the public through transparent dialogue that promotes participation and feedback.  


The Public Engagement Division (PED) coordinates and directs agency-wide dialogue with external stakeholders. PED actively collaborates with, and seeks feedback from, stakeholders to inform USCIS policies, priorities, and organizational performance reviews. PED facilitates open and transparent communication between the Agency, external stakeholders, and the customers they represent by sharing feedback, working with Agency leadership, coordinating follow-up, and reporting back to stakeholders. The Division also works closely with other USCIS offices to support the implementation of highly visible outreach programs and public education initiatives.

The Public Engagement Division is composed of two divisions: Community Relations and Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

  • The Community Relations and Engagement Division is responsible for developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with community-based organizations, faith-based and advocacy groups, employer and employee associations, ESL/Civics instructors, international, business, legal, and law enforcement entities, and all other stakeholders who have daily interactions with the Agency and its customers. This includes directing and facilitating stakeholder interaction at the headquarters, regional, and district levels. This division also manages a national network of USCIS Community Relations Officers (CROs) who forge critical local partnerships, inform stakeholders, and relay external feedback to the Agency.
  • The Intergovernmental Affairs Division advances outreach and communication with state, local, territorial, and tribal partners, including elected officials, associations, and other intergovernmental component offices. This includes maintaining strong relationships with and disseminating USCIS information to state and local partners such as governors, legislatures, mayor’s offices, and other elected and appointed officials. This division works closely with DHS intergovernmental affairs programs to align with Department-wide priorities and partners with other federal agencies as appropriate.

The Customer Service Division (CSD) is dedicated to proactively providing information and guidance to USCIS applicants, petitioners and advocates regarding immigration benefits.

  • Customer Assistance Office

The Customer Assistance Office (CAO) provides customer service and case resolution by responding to individuals who have encountered problems when applying for immigration services and benefits, or those with unusual or sensitive cases. CAO meets the needs of customers by providing accurate, consistent, and timely written and telephonic responses in case management resolution. CAO provides written and telephonic responses to customer case status inquiries and responds to general immigration-related correspondence received at USCIS from stakeholders that include the White House, DHS, the CIS Ombudsman, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Office of Special Investigations, and the general public.

With nearly 400 inquiries received monthly, CAO responds to complex immigration inquiries from stakeholders that require a thorough knowledge of immigration law and regulations. CAO also responds to telephonic inquiries received by the Office of the USCIS Director and collaborates with the Transportation and Safety Administration to assist with the DHS Travelers Redress Inquiry Program.

  • Contact Center Enterprise Office

The Contact Center Enterprise Office (CCEO) is the branch responsible for the oversight of the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) for USCIS.  Customers call our toll-free number (800-375-5283) to receive nationwide assistance for immigration services and benefits offered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The NCSC toll-free number receives more than 1 million inquiries a month.

When a customer calls the NCSC, the call goes directly to an Integrated Voice Response (IVR) system, which is available in English and Spanish. If the customer cannot receive a resolution to their inquiry through the IVR, the customer can request to speak to a Customer Service Representative (CSR). If the customer requires additional support or has a unique or complex issue, the CSR will escalate the call to an Immigration Services Officer (ISO).

  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System
  • Available in English and Spanish
  • Automated options available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Self-Serve options available include ordering forms, checking case status, local office profiles, civil surgeons, processing times, priority dates and more

Tier 1 (CSR)

  • Live assistance available from 8am – 8pm in each time zone
  • Provide all services available as self-serve and in addition process service request and address changes

Tier 2 (ISO)

  • Handle unique and complex cases and inquiries

Last updated: 07/18/2012