What is the Difference Between INS and USCIS?

Question: What is the Difference Between INS and USCIS?

The names INS and USCIS are often used interchangeably to refer to the agency that administers immigration and naturalization services within the United States, but do they mean the same thing?

Answer:

Although many people still use the name Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to refer to the current agency, this is not correct. The INS no longer exists.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the current name of the agency that administers immigration and naturalization services in the U.S.

On March 1, 2003, after the Homeland Security Act of 2002 came into law, former INS functions were placed under three agencies within the newly-created Department of Homeland Security: USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).

The administration of immigration and naturalization services has evolved since the first immigration office was created over a century ago. The USCIS History Office provides a chronology of the history of USCIS and its predecessor agencies and programs:

  • 1891 - Office of Superintendent of Immigration created and placed in the Treasury Department
  • 1895 - Office of Superintendent of Immigration upgraded to Bureau of Immigration
  • 1903 - Bureau of Immigration transferred to the newly created Department of Commerce and Labor
  • 1906 - Naturalization Service created and Bureau of Immigration became the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization
  • 1913 - Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization divided into separate Bureaus – the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization – and placed into the new Department of Labor
  • 1924 - U.S. Border Patrol created within the Bureau of Immigration
  • 1933 - The Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization reunited into a single agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
  • 1940 - The INS transferred from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice
  • 2003 - The INS abolished and its functions placed under three agencies – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) – within the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
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McFadyen, Jennifer. "What is the Difference Between INS and USCIS?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 23, 2016, thoughtco.com/difference-between-ins-and-uscis-1951970. McFadyen, Jennifer. (2016, February 23). What is the Difference Between INS and USCIS? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/difference-between-ins-and-uscis-1951970 McFadyen, Jennifer. "What is the Difference Between INS and USCIS?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/difference-between-ins-and-uscis-1951970 (accessed November 22, 2017).