YAKIMA, WA - The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Yakima field office is the newest one to start using the information services modernization program. The program was announced last year and allows people to get help online instead of in person.
"What happens is we take away a lot of the in-person stuff," said Jon West, Supervisory Immigration Services Officer
The idea behind the new program is getting your immigration information at the tip of your fingers.
"We make it so we have more access online and that we have more access to officers over the phone."
The website will have features like 'Hey Emma,' an online helper designed to help navigate the website. She will also be able to answer any questions you might have. Hey Emma is available in both English and Spanish.
A call center will allow you to speak to officers and representatives who can help you get the information you need or get you an appointment in person if absolutely needed.
"Every single situation will require either an online or phone assistants. If you can't find it on our website you can talk to an officer or a representative via our call center. If they are unable to assist, the representatives in our call center will be able to find appointment slots."
West says 50 percent of all meetings could have easily been handled over the phone.
"The in-person offices can utilize their time more efficiently for those in-person appointments more effectively but also for those who don't need to come in and can ask about case status or other things online or over the phone... it makes it a lot easier for those and a lot less time consuming."
The office's website is available in English and Spanish, while phone calls can be taken in 25 languages.
You can find the website here: https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-uscis-office/field-offices/washington-yakima-field-office