Immigration Officer Requirements -How to Become a USCIS Immigration Officer 2020 Career Guide
How to Become a USCIS Immigration Officer
The US immigration system has set four guiding principles on which it works. The first one of these goals is to unite families; the second one is to welcome the immigrants with valuable skills. The third one is the steps for protecting the refugees, while the last one is promoting diversity in the United States. The immigration services officers work under these primary principles.
In the United States, there is a governmental institution called “United States citizenship and immigration services (USCIS)”. This governmental department has a sub-body called “fraud detection and National Security (FDNS).” The people are holding the title of immigration services officer work under the USCIS with the prime responsibility of regulating immigration affairs within the United States.
Immigration Officer Requirements:
An immigration officer must hold a bachelor’s degree in any of the related fields.
A person having the experience of any governmental organization has increased chances of employment as an immigration officer.
Though the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree, there are some advanced level tasks which require the candidate to have a master’s degree.
All the educational requirements for the job of Immigration officer, along with the other requirements, shall be discussed in the article.
Continue reading to know every detail you need to become an immigration officer.
Immigration Services officers Job description
Immigration service officers are part of the broader immigration system of the United States; however, their role is different from that of the immigration enforcement agents or border patrol agents. The immigration services officers facilitate the people in offices and try continually trying to understand the motive behind the people willing to seek immigration in the United States.
A trainer at the immigration services office said, “People often confuse the immigration services officers with the immigration enforcement agents; however, it is not the case. Both these are separate professions; therefore, their duties are different. The enforcement agents are responsible for enforcing the immigration rules and regulations while the immigration services officers do not carry weapons, nor do they enforce anything. There only duty is to invite the people and ask them what benefit they are looking for.”
Most of the time, the immigration services officers work in office settings and frequently interact with the people. They are also in constant collaboration with state, federal, and local governments within the United States and elsewhere.
There are three different categories of immigration services officers.
Immigration Officer, FDNS
These Immigration officers work in the office of fraud detection and national security (FDNS) with the responsibility of examining and identifying the people who use false or misleading information in their visa application or asylum application. These officers are in close working relationships with other local, state, and federal government agencies for gathering information against such people.
Once sufficient information is being collected about them, the immigration officers are ready to file a case against them. The immigration officers working in the office of FDNS must have up-to-date knowledge regarding immigration laws, rules, and regulations. Without this knowledge, they will be unable to collect the evidence required for filing a case against these illegal immigrants.
Immigration information officer
These immigration services officers have the responsibility of providing the information to the people who legally qualify for entrance or residence in the United States. The immigration information officers help the people in filling out the application forms and also review the already filled forms.
These officers are always on the go to assist the people on any information they need about immigration. The officers working as information officers need to be attentive when going through the documents of an immigrant because they are the people who identify whether or not any application form has misleading or false information.
Immigration services officer
These immigration officers are responsible for seeking the documentation required for asylum, visa, or residence from the immigrants. These officers are responsible for deciding whether a case qualifies or not for the desired category. For this purpose, they go through all the documents and interview the candidates and then give their verdicts.
They might also closely work with other governmental agencies for checking the records of an applicant.
The laws of homeland security are continually evolving, which means that some changes are being made every other day. These officers are responsible for briefing the media about any recent changes that might have occurred in the homeland security laws.
Immigration Officer Requirements
We have already discussed the immigration services officer job description along with their job prospects; now, we shall discuss the requirements that a candidate must fulfill to become an immigration services officer.
You need to fulfill two main requirements for becoming an immigration services officer in the United States. The first one is the educational requirements, and the second is training programs.
Immigration Services officer Educational requirements
The educational requirement for the immigration officer Job may vary depending on the advertised position; however, the entry-level positions require a candidate to have a bachelor’s degree in any field. If you want to stand out from the other applicants, here is advice for you, consider doing your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, accounting, in a foreign language or any other related field. If you have completed your degree in any of these fields, it would be a massive plus for you. Secondly, if you have sufficient time, you are advised to consider learning a foreign language. A foreign language will enhance your employment opportunity as an immigration services officer.
Having a bachelor’s degree is not a must condition for all the entry-level positions. There are certain positions you can join if you have work experience in any other governmental institution or organization.
For senior positions in the USCIS, you need to have a postgraduate or a master’s degree in the relevant field. Experience also matters for senior positions. For example, if you have experience of securing borders or looking for terrorist activities, you have higher chances of landing at these positions with even a master’s degree.
USCIS holds a unique training program for the individuals who are hired for the position of immigration services officer. The duration of this training program is nine weeks, and the training is held at the USCIS training center located in South Carolina.
The training program is designed to train individuals from different backgrounds and make their competence level according to the set benchmark. The particular emphasis of the training program is on educating the candidates on different immigration issues and educating them about various methods to handle threats to the country.
Once the training program is completed, the individuals are allocated to the different departments mentioned above. During the job tenure, the first year is a probation period during which a candidate will have to prove that he is competent enough to carry out the assigned tasks.
Immigration officer Salary and career outlook
The salaries at the USCIS are given to the employees according to the scales and steps. Each year the payouts are being revised by the USCIS. There are a total of 15 grades, and each grade has ten steps. The grade and the steps of the immigration services officers depend upon the task which they are doing, their seniority level, the state in which they are employed, and their education.
According to the labor statistics bureau, the average annual salary of an immigration services officer is $59,810