Hot line offers immigration help for military
WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has launched a military-specific hot line to help troops and their families better navigate the agency’s paperwork and processes.
The call line — (877) 247-4645 — is toll-free for stateside callers. Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Chris Rhatigan said officials also are working with military network specialists to make sure overseas troops can access the line through international DSN operators.
“What we have with our military community is a lot of people who are very mobile, and this is our way of helping them keep track of the process,” she said.
“If a soldier moves from home to Fort Dix to overseas, this way their family can keep track of what’s happening with paperwork no matter where they go.”
Officials said the staff of the hot line have been trained in military-specific immigration issues, and have knowledge of special rules for bringing foreign spouses and children to the United States, regulations regarding military address changes and policies for posthumous citizenship for troops killed in the line of duty.
Currently, the Nebraska-based call center will be open only 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time — 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in Germany, 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in Iraq, 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Afghanistan, 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. in Japan — but Rhatigan said plans call for it to expand to 24-hour service in the future.
In addition, the agency has launched a military-specific Web site — www.uscis.gov/military — where troops will be able to e-mail questions to those same experts.
“That way families can call to get their questions answered, then start an e-mail trail to keep everyone up-to-date on the process,” Rhatigan said.
According to Defense Department statistics, more than 40,000 noncitizens are currently serving in the Armed Forces.