U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is announcing the opening of the Humanitarian, Adjustment, Removing Conditions, and Travel Documents (HART) Service Center, the sixth service center within its Service Center Operations (SCOPS) directorate, and the first to focus on humanitarian and other workload cases.
The HART service center will promote cohesive and consistent adjudicative operations, and its dedicated workforce will improve the quality and efficiency of our humanitarian caseload processing. This workforce will continue to receive the robust, specialized training currently provided to employees who are processing these forms. These applications and benefits affect the most vulnerable of noncitizens, and the opening of this service center will make a positive impact in the quality, timeliness, and scale of humanitarian processing abilities.
After a review of USCIS processing times, they deemed that the greater focus should be provided to these humanitarian-based benefits, which led to the creation of the HART Service Center. With HART, USCIS is taking action to improve the service in partnership with community groups. In fact, the creation of HART is partially the result of the feedback they have received from their partnership with stakeholders and community groups.
HART will initially exist as a hybrid service center, with virtual adjudication capabilities and coordination with existing service centers for certain administrative support. HART will ultimately transition to a 100% virtual service center with no geographic physical location, across multiple time zones. This center will be identified by the specialized work adjudicated by its staff and not by a brick and-mortar facility or location.
HART will process both digital and paper-based applications and petitions and will partner with existing service centers to support physical onsite necessities such as file exchange and administrative support. The HART Service Center will initially focus on the following case types:
Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver;
Bona Fide Determination (BFD) for Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status;
Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition; and
VAWA-based Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
The establishment of HART is associated with five hiring phases. USCIS completed the first two phases of forming HART on Jan. 29, 2023, with internal reassignments and leadership details of approximately 150 current SCOPS personnel.
The third phase of internal reassignments is currently in process, pending onboarding and training. On Feb. 28, HART was operational with 30% staffing levels and is currently staffed with 150 positions. Through this phased approach, HART will ultimately grow to 480 positions. Phase four is expected to begin in the coming weeks, with the posting of a public USCIS job notice that will seek to attract a pool of applicants from across the country with experience working with the vulnerable populations HART serves. Phase four hiring will focus on bringing staffing levels to 60%-85% of authorized positions by the end of FY 2023. They anticipate by the end of FY 2024, staffing levels will be at 95%-98% of authorized positions. These benchmarks will determine hiring and training which will ultimately establish HART as fully operational.
Customer Service: Existing customer service channels will continue to be operational during this transition. Customer Service inquires for HART will be supported by the existing service centers.
Address Changes: Address changes for VAWA-based Form I-360 and Form I-918 BFD will continue to be sent to the Vermont Service Center physical address for processing per the instructions on uscis.gov/addresschange.
Inquiries from Attorney and Accredited Representatives: Attorneys and accredited representatives may send inquiries to the same email boxes they have historically used, as these email addresses are not changing. Unrepresented petitioners and applicants may send signed written inquires/requests for biometrics appointments, including a new date/time or location, to the physical address found on https://www.uscis.gov/.
Filing Instructions: The transition to HART will not affect current filing instructions. Please continue to follow the filing instructions as indicated in the “where to file” section on each form type’s webpage. Any future changes to filing locations will be posted on webpages for each form and announced via alerts. To register for alerts and updates, please visit: uscis.gov/news/alerts.
Public Engagement: HART leadership and staff will also focus on increased public engagement – including quarterly local and national engagements – with the stakeholder community that supports these applicants and petitioners. The first national webinar overview of the new HART Service Center is on Thursday, April 20, at 1 p.m. Eastern.
For more information on how to participate in this and future engagements please visit the upcoming national engagements and local engagements webpages.
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