Immigrants who are new to the United States will encounter several government agencies during the process to become a permanent resident, or green card holder.
Depending on what immigration process one may be going through one may deal with different organizations. Some organizations, like ICE, are preferably avoided during the process.
Work-based immigrants, for example, will have very slight interaction with the Department of Labor through the USCIS, whereas that part of the process is wholly absent from the Green Card Lottery.
Below are some of the more important organizations that immigrants may encounter.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency that immigrants will most often encounter after they enter the U.S.
Applications for Green Cards and citizenship are to be submitted to the USCIS. There are offices for the USCIS all over the United States. However, it is suggested that if an immigrant needs to talk to an immigration officer that they arrange an appointment through INFOPass.
The Department of State (DoS) is the organization that visa applicants in other countries normally communicate with through their local embassy or consulate.
The DoS is the equivalent of many other countries “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” and is in charge of foreign missions.
Immigrants file their visa applications through the DoS.
The Green Card Lottery is directly administered by the Department of State.
An agent from Customs and Border Protection is often one of the very first people that immigrants encounter when they enter the United States. Customs agents examine the items that are brought into the United States and, to some degree, the people.
Customs agents are also responsible for protecting the borders from illegal crossings and other potential issues that may arise at the border crossings.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) part of the Department of Homeland Security is a department that most immigrants are not too happy to come in contact with.
ICE is responsible for investigating problems in immigration and customs and is a law enforcement agency.
For many immigrants, contact with ICE means that they are at risk of being removed, or deported.
That is why it is so important for immigrants to ensure that their applications are filed to the best of their ability and as accurately as possible. Fraud is not treated lightly by ICE.
The Internal Revenue Service is the United States mechanism for collecting taxes.
Taxes serve to fund public programs and governmental agencies (however, uniquely enough, the USCIS is barely funded by tax revenue).
Immigrants in the United States and they must pay taxes on their income. In order to do this they must obtain Social Security Cards through the Social Security agency (SSA).