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Dear Editor:
I found the article entitled, NCSC Method of Handling Customer Service very useful, particularly the part about when it is appropriate to make an inquiry given the different processing times for the various procedures at the Service Centers. However, my experience has been that each time I speak to a new officer at the NCSC I get a different story. For example, one officer told me that I-140's were currently taking 13 months, so it was inappropriate to do a service referral, while the next day, another officer told me they were taking 11 months, and it was appropriate to do a referral. The second officer then told me that most likely that the case in which the I-140 was just approved after 13 months, would see the I-485 approved soon as well because they were now working them together. I don't know whether this is true, but I'll believe it only when I see it. I still have an I-485 pending from December of 2001. Each time the processing time is reached on I-485's I call the NCSC, and they simply respond that the processing time has been extended 1 month, so in essence, a service referral is never appropriate. The other nagging problem with the service is that sometimes they let you wait in queue on the line, while other times they disconnect you. When I called on Thursday it was 3:45 p.m., within the supposed "ideal times" to call, and the automated system told me that no officers were available at that time, and then proceeded to tell me the ideal times were Tues-Fri 8-10 a.m. and 2- 6 p.m. and I should call back during those times, thank you, goodbye. I was calling during that time. So then I called the special line for employer/investment related cases, 800 357-2099. The first tier told me I needed to speak to an INS officer because my I-140 had been miscoded as a National Interest Waiver, but when I got to the officer, who apparently was in L.A. while the 1st tier was in Kentucky, he said his system was down and he couldn't help me. The one bright spot on the horizon is that this time when I called the 357-2099 line they had direct access to the computer system and could look up cases. This is a definite improvement, but it remains to be seen whether they can work out the other kinks such that the system will actually be as efficient and useful as they are touting it to be.

As a follow up, I have again, carefully combed this article, and need to request a clarification on one item. Under Error correction referral for service center filings only, there are two bullets, one for Typgraphical Errors on a Service-center issued document or associated I-94 and one for for Typographical Erros or quality control issues on a BCIS document. What is the difference between a service center-issued document and a BCIS document? Aren't they both issued by the BCIS? What kind of document, for example, would fall under Bullet #2? The reason I ask is that the procedures are drastically different for #2. #1 prescribes that a referral be taken if a customer claims that a receipt notice contains errors, while #2 prescribes that the customer file a new application with an explanation of the problem, and using procedures for requesting special handling. I had the experience of calling the NCSC when an I-140 approval notice for an EB-3 Software Engineer was issued in error, stating the Beneficiary was an NIV Physician and had to wait 3-5 years to adjust. The first two NCSC officers I spoke with advised me to refile the I-140 - a petition, mind you, which took almost 360 days to be approved. The third person told me to send a fax to the expedited special handling number, which was subequently rejected by the Service Center - for good reason. I now see where these instructions came from. I refused to refile the petition, and instead kept calling until I got someone to take a referral. Now, I see, in fact that the officers were acting under their written guidelines, but these guidelines appear to be quite confusing, not to mention impossible to comply with. How can the BCIS instruct a customer to refile an application with filing fee and all in order to correct a Service error? That doesn't make any sense. I therefore would like guidance as to how to distinguish between #1 and #2 so as to assure that every time one calls with a typographical or substantive error on an approval notice it can be amended through a referral.