Pia 64

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PIA 64

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Privacy Impact Assessment
for the

myUSCIS
DHS/USCIS/PIA-064
December 14, 2016
Contact Point
Donald K. Hawkins
Privacy Officer
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(202) 272-8000
Reviewing Official
Jonathan R. Cantor
Acting Chief Privacy Officer
Department of Homeland Security
(202) 343-1717

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Abstract
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched myUSCIS, an online
platform that provides customers additional digital services to interact with USCIS. The purpose
of myUSCIS is to offer online customers a wider range of USCIS services. USCIS is implementing
myUSCIS features in a phased approach. This initial Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and the
attached appendices discuss and evaluate the privacy risks and mitigations associated with the
collection, use, and maintenance of personally identifiable information (PII) in myUSCIS and its
digital services. USCIS will update the appendices of the PIA as subsequent digital services and
functionalities are added to myUSCIS.

Overview
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the component of the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. Enshrined in
USCIS’ mission is the commitment to provide accurate and useful information to its customers.
myUSCIS provides customers with search tools and online process management tools to promote
awareness and understanding of the citizenship process. myUSCIS provides a suite of digital
services tightly integrated from an online customer’s perspective to create a seamless end-to-end
online experience.
myUSCIS is a public-facing web application that allows individuals to obtain accurate
information about the general U.S. immigration process. myUSCIS is a service that helps online
customers navigate through the immigration process. On myUSCIS, customers are able to find upto-date information about the application process for immigration benefits, tools to help prepare
for naturalization, and resources to find citizenship preparation classes and doctors in their local
community. See the Appendices for a complete overview of the operational services, list of
collected data elements, and uses of the information. All digital services are also mobileaccessible.
At the bottom of the customer interface for some of the digital services, myUSCIS offers
a voluntary electronic survey to collect opinion-based feedback from online customers about their
overall experiences and satisfaction with the digital service and its content. The online user is able
to identify whether the information was helpful.
myUSCIS also serves as an information portal available to members of the public with a
search function and other resources for use when filing immigration benefits. When fully
operational, myUSCIS will become the customer service digital interface for USCIS.

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Section 1.0 Authorities and Other Requirements
1.1

What specific legal authorities and/or agreements permit and
define the collection of information by the project in question?

The authority to collect information is found within the Immigration and Nationality Act
(INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101, 1103, 1201, and 1255.

1.2

What Privacy Act System of Records Notice(s) (SORN(s)) apply
to the information?

The limited case-specific information that is collected and shared with online customers is
covered under the Benefit Information System SORN. 1

1.3

Has a system security plan been completed for the information
system(s) supporting the project?

Yes. myUSCIS was approved for operation on December 18, 2014, for a period of 36
months, unless a significant change to the information system requires an earlier accreditation. The
myUSCIS Authority to Operate is set to expire on December 18, 2017. The myUSCIS Security
Plan was completed on December 10, 2014.

1.4

Does a records retention schedule approved by the National
Archives and Records Administration (NARA) exist?

No. USCIS is developing a retention schedule with NARA for myUSCIS that is subject
to final approval.

1.5

If the information is covered by the Paperwork Reduction Act
(PRA), provide the OMB Control number and the agency number
for the collection. If there are multiple forms, include a list in an
appendix.

The feedback surveys are subject to the PRA requirements. USCIS is seeking approval
under OMB Control Number 1615-0121, which covers the collection of customer satisfaction
surveys.

1

DHS/USCIS-007 Benefits Information System, 81 FR 72069 (Oct. 19, 2016).

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Section 2.0 Characterization of the Information
The following questions are intended to define the scope of the information requested and/or collected, as
well as reasons for its collection.

2.1

Identify the information the project collects, uses, disseminates, or
maintains.

myUSCIS helps online customers navigate the immigration process. On myUSCIS,
customers are able to find up-to-date information about the application process for immigration
benefits, case status, tools to help online customers prepare for naturalization, and resources to
find citizenship preparation classes and doctors in their local community. Each digital service
collects and uses PII for separate purposes. See the Appendices for a complete overview of
operational digital services, lists of collected data elements, and uses of the information.
Customer Feedback Survey
myUSCIS provides a voluntary short feedback survey. The purpose of the survey is to
determine the quality of the digital service from the end-user perspective. The online customer is
able to identify whether the information was helpful and how it was helpful. An open textbox is
available to the online user to provide additional feedback.
Technical Information
Google Analytics automatically collects session information about each visit on behalf of
USCIS. This includes: Internet Protocol (IP) address (an IP address is a number that is
automatically assigned to a computer when surfing the Internet); date and time of visit; content
visited or downloaded; operating system information about the device or browser used when
visiting the site; and website (such as google.com or bing.com) or referral source (email notice or
social media site) that connected the customer to the website.

2.2

What are the sources of the information and how is the
information collected for the project?

USCIS collects information directly from the USCIS online customer using the digital
service during his or her visit. 2

2

See USCIS Website Privacy and Legal Disclaimers available at https://www.uscis.gov/website-policies/privacyand-legal-disclaimers.

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2.3

Does the project use information from commercial sources or
publicly available data? If so, explain why and how this
information is used.

No.

2.4

Discuss how accuracy of the data is ensured.

myUSCIS receives information directly from the individual, which helps ensure data
accuracy. With the exception of the technical information listed above, USCIS does not retain
information collected for the tools.

2.5

Privacy Impact Analysis: Related to Characterization of the
Information

Privacy Risk: myUSCIS may store information that is outdated, inaccurate, irrelevant, or
incomplete.
Mitigation: myUSCIS does not require online customers to register, provide, or certify the
veracity of any information that is provided. For certain digital services, myUSCIS online
customers may submit information to myUSCIS directly to render a digital service. All
information collected by the digital service is submitted by the individual, therefore the online
customer reviews the accuracy and integrity of the information prior to submission. For example,
the digital service provides the individual with an opportunity to enter biographic information,
review its accuracy, and amend it prior to confirming its accuracy. With the exception of the
appointment scheduler, myUSCIS does not capture or retain what is entered as part of a search.
Online customers who use myUSCIS to schedule appointment can also update and cancel their
appointments prior to the scheduled appointment. Please see Appendix F for more information.

Section 3.0 Uses of the Information
The following questions require a clear description of the project’s use of information.

3.1

Describe how and why the project uses the information.

myUSCIS helps online customers navigate the immigration process. myUSCIS uses the
information collected to respond to the individual’s query. USCIS uses the results (i.e., ‘yes’ or
‘no’ counts) from customer satisfaction surveys to determine if modifications to the digital services
are needed to improve customers’ use of the digital services. USCIS uses Google Analytics to
collect session data. The data is automatically sent to the software’s system and the system
immediately aggregates the data, masks the IP address, and creates a separate unique identifier for
the browser history. Neither USCIS nor the third-party vendor has access to the specifics of the

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online customer’s particular site visit. No sensitive PII is collected or used. USCIS only views the
aggregate data from all online customers for a particular time period. USCIS uses the aggregated
data to help improve online customer experiences.

3.2

Does the project use technology to conduct electronic searches,
queries, or analyses in an electronic database to discover or locate
a predictive pattern or an anomaly? If so, state how DHS plans to
use such results.

No. Google collects session data on behalf of USCIS to improve the quality of the web
features. myUSCIS uses the web metrics to improve customer service, correct technical issues,
and better plan for future development.

3.3

Are there other components with assigned roles and
responsibilities within the system?

No.

3.4

Privacy Impact Analysis: Related to the Uses of Information

Privacy Risk: There is a risk that myUSCIS will collect and use information in a manner
inconsistent with USCIS’ authority and mission.
Mitigation: myUSCIS does not require online customers to register or provide PII. Part of
USCIS’ mission is to provide effective customer-oriented immigration benefit and information
services. USCIS created myUSCIS to help fulfill this goal. USCIS mitigates the risk of collecting
and using information in a manner inconsistent with USCIS’ authority and mission by minimizing
the amount of information collected and by limiting the purposes for which USCIS may use the
information. USCIS receives session information from Google Analytics to assess the online
customer’s visit.
Privacy Risk: There is a risk that negative feedback from customer satisfaction
assessments could be inappropriately used to adversely impact the individual’s benefit request.
Mitigation: USCIS mitigates this risk by making participation voluntary, and by ensuring
that USCIS only receives results and that the results are not associated with an individual or
personal identifier.

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Section 4.0 Notice
The following questions seek information about the project’s notice to the individual about the information
collected, the right to consent to uses of said information, and the right to decline to provide information.

4.1

How does the project provide individuals notice prior to the
collection of information? If notice is not provided, explain why
not.

USCIS provides general notice to individuals through the publication of this PIA,
associated SORN(s), and the USCIS Privacy Policy. Additionally, myUSCIS provides a Privacy
Act Statement prior to the submission of any information, as required by Section (e)(3) of the
Privacy Act. The Privacy Act Statement notifies the individual about the authority to collect the
information requested, purposes, routine uses, and consequences of providing or declining to
provide the information to USCIS.

4.2

What opportunities are available for individuals to consent to
uses, decline to provide information, or opt out of the project?

The Privacy Act Statement informs individuals that providing information is voluntary. A
customer can choose to decline to provide information; however, that may prevent the customer
from using the myUSCIS digital services. By using the digital service, the customer is implying
consent to USCIS’ uses of information, but he or she does not have the ability to consent for
specific uses.

4.3

Privacy Impact Analysis: Related to Notice

There is no privacy risk related to notice. All information collected by myUSCIS is
provided directly from the customer. He or she is provided notice prior to submitting any
information to USCIS.

Section 5.0 Data Retention by the project
The following questions are intended to outline how long the project retains the information after the initial
collection.

5.1

Explain how long and for what reason the information is retained.

USCIS is developing a retention schedule for myUSCIS and its digital services that is
subject to final approval by NARA.

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5.2

Privacy Impact Analysis: Related to Retention

Privacy Risk: myUSCIS does not have a records retention schedule.
Mitigation: This risk is partially mitigated. USCIS is developing a retention schedule for
myUSCIS and will not delete records until a retention schedule is approved by NARA. USCIS is
working with NARA to set a retention schedule for myUSCIS data.

Section 6.0 Information Sharing
The following questions are intended to describe the scope of the project information sharing external to the
Department. External sharing encompasses sharing with other federal, state and local government, and private sector
entities.

6.1

Is information shared outside of DHS as part of the normal
agency operations? If so, identify the organization(s) and how the
information is accessed and how it is to be used.

Generally, myUSCIS does not collect or share sensitive PII about online customers.
However, while an online user browses on the USCIS website, session information about their
visit is automatically collected by Google Analytics. Through the General Services Administration
(GSA) Data Analytics Program (DAP), USCIS uses Google Analytics measurement software to
collect the information. 3 The data are automatically sent to Google’s system and the system
immediately aggregates the data. This information is gathered to improve USCIS’ websites and
USCIS has chosen to not share the aggregate data with Google.

6.2

Describe how the external sharing noted in 6.1 is compatible with
the SORN noted in 1.2.

USCIS does not share information collected by myUSCIS with external entities.

6.3

Does the project place limitations on re-dissemination?

USCIS does not share information collected by myUSCIS with external entities.

6.4

Describe how the project maintains a record of any disclosures
outside of the Department.

USCIS does not share information collected by myUSCIS with external entities.
3

The DAP, provided by GSA to all federal executive branch agencies, delivers digital analytics tools (like Web
analytics and customer satisfaction survey tools), performance metrics guidance, metrics benchmarks, and training.
Please visit https://www.digitalgov.gov/2015/03/04/what-is-the-digital-analytics-program-dap/ for more
information.

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6.5

Privacy Impact Analysis: Related to Information Sharing

USCIS does not share information collected by myUSCIS with external entities.

Section 7.0 Redress
The following questions seek information about processes in place for individuals to seek redress which may
include access to records about themselves, ensuring the accuracy of the information collected about them, and/or
filing complaints.

7.1

What are the procedures that allow individuals to access their
information?

myUSCIS allow individuals to directly engage with USCIS to obtain useful immigration
and case-related information. If a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Privacy Act (PA) concern
arises, customers maintain the right to file a FOIA and/or PA request to gain access to or amend
their USCIS records.
Any individual seeking to access information maintained by should direct his or her request
to the following address:
USCIS National Records Center (NRC)
FOIA/PA Office
P.O. Box 648010
Lee's Summit, MO 64064-8010
The process for requesting records can be found at 6 CFR 5.21. The procedures for making a
request for access to one’s records can also be found on the USCIS web site, located at
www.uscis.gov.

7.2

What procedures are in place to allow the subject individual to
correct inaccurate or erroneous information?

myUSCIS allows online customers to directly engage with USCIS on obtaining
immigration and case information. Individuals may also direct all requests to contest or amend
information to the FOIA/PA Office at USCIS at the address listed above. In the redress request,
individuals must state clearly and concisely the information being contested, the reason for
contesting it, and the proposed amendment to the information.

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7.3

How does the project notify individuals about the procedures for
correcting their information?

USCIS notifies individuals of the procedures for correcting their information through
myUSCIS, the National Customer Service Center, this PIA, and the applicable SORN(s).

7.4

Privacy Impact Analysis: Related to Redress

There is no privacy risk related to redress. USCIS provides individuals multiple
opportunities during and after the completion of the benefit request process to correct information.
Additionally, individuals may request access to information about themselves under the FOIA and
Privacy Act.

Section 8.0 Auditing and Accountability
The following questions are intended to describe technical and policy based safeguards and security
measures.

8.1

How does the project ensure that the information is used in
accordance with stated practices in this PIA?

USCIS ensures that the practices stated in this PIA are followed by leveraging training,
policies, rules of behavior, and auditing and accountability.

8.2

Describe what privacy training is provided to users either
generally or specifically relevant to the project.

All USCIS federal employees and contractors are required to complete annual privacy and
security awareness training. The Culture of Privacy Awareness training addresses appropriate
privacy concerns, including Privacy Act obligations (e.g., SORN, Privacy Act Statements). The
Computer Security Awareness training examines appropriate technical, physical, personnel, and
administrative controls to safeguard information.

8.3

What procedures are in place to determine which users may
access the information and how does the project determine who
has access?

myUSCIS is a public-facing website and accessible to any individual seeking immigration
or case-related information. Internal access to myUSCIS is restricted by USCIS management and
limited to approved USCIS personnel and contractor staff.

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8.4

How does the project review and approve information sharing
agreements, MOUs, new uses of the information, new access to the
system by organizations within DHS and outside?

USCIS does not share myUSCIS data with external entities. Through the GSA DAP,
USCIS uses Google Analytics measurement software to collect session information. The data is
automatically sent to Google’s system and the system immediately aggregates the data. Neither
USCIS nor Google have access to the specifics of an online user’s particular site visit. USCIS and
Google can only see the aggregate data from all online users for a particular time period.

Responsible Officials
Donald K. Hawkins
Privacy Officer
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security

Approval Signature

________________________________
Jonathan R. Cantor
Acting Chief Privacy Officer
Department of Homeland Security

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APPENDIX A
Help Center
Background:
The Help Center was created to help online customers find information readily within the
USCIS.gov website. The current search engine finds outside source information before finding
information within the www.uscis.gov site. The Help Center is an easy-to-search knowledgebase
that lets online customers ask general immigration questions in their own words, get the answers
they need with access to other helpful resources, or inform USCIS if the answer provided needs to
be improved. Results displayed are prioritized based on the popularity of the result. If a previous
user clicked on the response option, then frequency use is increased by one. Highest frequently
used responses are moved to the top of the results page. The Help Center does not answer casespecific questions.
Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
The Help Center aims to simplify the online customer’s search and navigation of the USCIS
website. No PII is collected, used, or maintained.
Source of Information:
The Help Center searches through the USCIS website for information to share with the online
customer.
Category of Individuals Affected:
Online customers who are seeking immigration-related information.
Privacy Analysis:
Privacy Risk: There is a risk that individuals may input case related information into the
Help Center search engine.
Mitigation: The Help Center offers online customers a text box to enter their question. In
the event the customer enters case specific information, the search yields no results and will
suggest searching by a general topic, such as naturalization and citizenship. myUSCIS only
collects session data as part of the online transaction. myUSCIS does not capture or retain what is
entered as part of the search.

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APPENDIX B:
Explore My Options
Background:
Explore My Options is a tool that assists customers with identifying immigration benefits for which
they may qualify and allows potential customers to learn about immigration benefits, associated
forms and fees, and required documentary evidence. Explore My Options requires the customers
to answer a few non-identifying questions from a drop down menu, such as their immigration
status, and provides the types of benefit for which they may be eligible to apply. Users are also
presented with all of the downloadable forms required to apply for a benefit.
Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
Explore My Options allows online customers to select options under immigration categories of
non-identifying information about who they are and what they want to accomplish through the
immigration process. Explore My Options does not collect, use, maintain, or disseminate PII.
Source of Information:
Explore My Options collects non-identifying information (i.e., current immigration status and
immigration goal) from the individual to narrow down the immigration options available to his
or her under immigration law.
Category of Individuals Affected:
Online customers seeking to learn which immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.
Privacy Analysis:
Privacy Risk: There is a privacy risk that the Explore My Options tool may provide
inaccurate information to the online customer on which immigration and non-immigration benefits
he or she may be eligible to apply.
Mitigation: Explore My Options is a tool that allows online customers to tell USCIS a little
about themselves so that the tool can present the individual with immigration options for which he
or she might be eligible to apply. To mitigate this risk, myUSCIS provides a disclaimer advising
the online customer that the Explore My Options tool is not intended to provide legal advice. Given
the complex nature of each person’s case, USCIS cannot assume legal liability for the accuracy,
or completeness of any information discussed on or through this tool as Immigration law is
complex and the information provided on this website might not fully address the online

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customer’s situation. USCIS recommends consulting with a licensed attorney or with a nonprofit
agency accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals for legal advice.

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APPENDIX C
Find a Doctor
Background:
Every year, millions of people file an application to adjust their status in the United States to
become lawful permanent residents. An integral part of the adjustment process is ensuring that
applicants complete a medical exam through a doctor authorized by USCIS. This process ensures
that individuals applying for permanent residence do not pose a risk to the public health of the
United States.
Physicians are required to apply for Civil Surgeon designation with USCIS. USCIS uses the
National Benefits Center (NBC) Processing Workflow Repository (NPWR) to process the Civil
Surgeon application. 4 myUSCIS receives an exact replica of limited NPWR data on the location
of civil surgeons on a nightly basis and stores the information in its staging tables.
USCIS notifies physician applicants that USCIS provides a list of civil surgeons for public use in
the form instructions. The following two USCIS customer service avenues assist customers with
finding a civil surgeon: (1) visit the USCIS Web site at my.uscis.gov/findadoctor; or (2) call the
USCIS National Customer Service Center. 5 USCIS shares the civil surgeon’s name, office name,
office address, office telephone number, and any other relevant professional information the Civil
Surgeon.
Online users who wish to locate a civil surgeon may visit the Find a Doctor tool on myUSCIS to
search through a list of USCIS-authorized doctors in their area. Find a Doctor is a filtering tool
that allows the online uses to search by address, zip code, or city. Once the online user enters
address information, myUSCIS generates a list of doctors within the specified radius or
parameters. The results are ranked by closest in distance and included an embedded third-party
map. Online users may narrow down their search criteria based on the following preferences:
gender, language spoken, accepted medical plan, handicap accessibility, and payment method.
The Find a Doctor tool also provides a “Get directions” or “Visit website’ hyperlink. If the online
user clicks on the hyperlink, the online user is redirected to a third-party, public-facing commercial
website, to provide walking or driving directions or public transportation options or to the Civil
Surgeon office, respectively. The third-party commercial website offers satellite imagery, street
maps, 360 degree panoramic views of streets, real-time traffic, etc. The third-party commercial
website may request a ‘starting address’ if the online user desires map directions to the selected

4
5

See Forthcoming Civil Surgeon Designation PIA, soon to be available at www.dhs.gov/privacy.
See DHS/USCIS/PIA-054 National Customer Service Center, available at www.dhs.gov/privacy.

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office. myUSCIS will have a “pop-up” disclaimer notifying the customer that the customer is being
redirected to a non-USCIS site and is then no longer engaging with myUSCIS.
Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
The Find a Doctor tool collects address information [street address, zip code, and/or city] from
online customers seeking to find an authorized civil surgeon. myUSCIS uses this information to
retrieve information from NPWR and generate a list of civil surgeons based on the individual’s
search criteria. The actual search and its results are not stored by myUSCIS or its staging tables.
Source of Information:
Online users enter their address information and select their preferences directly into the Find a
Doctor tool. myUSCIS pulls approved Civil Surgeons from NPWR, which is the USCIS case
management system for civil surgeon applications.
Category of Individuals Affected:
Online users are able to search through a list of all USCIS-authorized doctors in their area.
Privacy Analysis:
Privacy Risk: There is a privacy risk that the online customer may be redirected and share
information to a third-party website unknowingly and customer address data is subsequently
shared without the consent of the individual.
Mitigation: This is partially mitigated. myUSCIS contains links to commercial entities,
and are not within USCIS’ control and may not follow the same privacy, security, or accessibility
polices. Once an online customer links to another site, the online customer is subject to the policies
of the third-party commercial site. myUSCIS will have a “pop-up” disclaimer notifying the
customer that the customer is being redirected to a non-USCIS site and is then no longer engaging
with myUSCIS.

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APPENDIX D
Find a Class
Background:
Naturalization is an important milestone in the path toward U.S. citizenship. The decision to apply
for citizenship is a very personal one. Many community organizations and social service providers
offer citizenship classes and assistance with the naturalization process. To enhance educational
resources and promote opportunities to increase the understanding of U.S. civic principles and
citizenship, USCIS consolidated a list of English as a Second Language (ESL) and citizenship
preparation classes from the Department of Education. Also included is a list of Citizenship and
Integration Grant Recipients from USCIS Office of Citizenship. This list is uploaded onto
myUSCIS staging tables.
Online users who wish to locate an ESL classes, citizenship preparation classes, and low-cost
USCIS-funded programs 6 may visit the Find a Class tool on myUSCIS. Find a Class is a filtering
tool that allows the online uses to search by address, zip code, or city. Once the online user enters
his or her address information, myUSCIS generates a list of classes within the specified radius or
parameters. The results are ranked my closest in distance and include the business name, address,
and phone number, as well as an embedded third-party map. Online users may narrow down this
or her search criteria based on class type.
The Find a Class tool also provides a “Get directions” or “Visit website’ hyperlink. If the online
user clicks on the hyperlink, the online user is redirected to a third-party, public-facing website, to
provide walking or driving directions or public transportation options or to the class webpage,
respectively. The third-party commercial website offers satellite imagery, street maps, 360 degree
panoramic views of streets, and real-time traffic. The third-party commercial website may request
a ‘starting address’ if the online user desires map directions to the selected office. USCIS will not
collect the starting address or any information collected by the third-party commercial website.
myUSCIS will have a “pop-up” disclaimer notifying the customer that the customer is being
redirected to a non-USCIS site and is then no longer engaging with myUSCIS.
Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
Online users enter their address information in the Find a Class tool and a list of ESL classes,
citizenship preparation classes, and USCIS-funded classes are displayed. Information about the

6

USCIS grant recipients offer free or low cost services to immigrants. Search a list of USCIS-funded programs and
their available services. Many of these organizations offer services in additional locations.

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classes includes the business name, address, phone number, and web address. Find a Class does
not collect, retain, or disseminate any address data.
Source of Information:
USCIS uploads .csv files from the Department of Education for ESL and citizenship preparation
classes and the Office of Citizenship for grantees onto myUSCIS staging tables.
Category of Individuals Affected:
Online users are able to search and locate ESL classes, citizenship preparation classes, and lowcost USCIS-funded programs in his or her area.
Privacy Risks & Mitigations:
Privacy Risk: There is a risk that the Find a Class tool maintains an inaccurate list of ESL
and civic preparation courses.
Mitigation: This risk is partially mitigated. USCIS relies on public and private
organizations to provide up-to-date class information. It is the responsibility of the organization to
keep its information updated, so the information may be out-of-date. USCIS advises the online
customers to check with the organization directly to see what services are available.

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APPENDIX E
Citizenship Resources
Background:
Citizenship Resources contain plain language information to help guide the customer through the
naturalization process. For example, the Citizenship Resources pages provide information on list
of steps that need to be accomplished to obtain U.S. Citizenship, and individuals’ rights and
responsibilities. These are static page with descriptions listed under each step. There is no PII
collected.
Practice Civics Test:
myUSCIS offers the Civics Practice Test module, which is an interactive study tool to help online
customers test their knowledge of U.S. history and government. This practice test contains 20
questions. Online customers have the option to review the questions in English only or in English
with Spanish subtitles. The actual test is in English. Online customers may use this online tool to
prepare for the civics portion of the naturalization test. No PII collected and practice exams are not
associated with any individual.
Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
Citizenship Resources and Practice Civics Test does not collect, retain, or disseminate any data.
Source of Information:
Not applicable.
Category of Individuals Affected:
Not applicable.
Privacy Risks & Mitigations:
There is no privacy risk associated with Citizenship Resources because no PII is collected
and practice exams are not associated with an individual.

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APPENDIX F
InfoPass
Background:
InfoPass is an online tool used to create an appointment with an USCIS office (domestic or
overseas). 7 InfoPass guides online customers through several steps, including: finding a field
office, choosing an appointment date, entering personal information, and confirming the
appointment. To begin the process, customers enter their zip code into InfoPass to locate the closest
field office. InfoPass displays a range of dates and times of available appointments for the customer
to choose for the specified location. InfoPass also collects the following information:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Customer first name (required);
Customer middle name (optional);
Customer last name (required);
Customer phone number (required);
Customer email address (required for international appointments);
Case number (A-Number or receipt number) (optional); and
Number of attendees (optional).

The name, date of birth, zip code, and telephone number are required fields to schedule an
appointment. InfoPass provides the customer with an opportunity to enter biographic and
appointment information, review its accuracy, and amend prior to confirming his or her
appointment. After the customer confirms the appointment, InfoPass generates an electronic
appointment confirmation notice. Customers are instructed to print out the notice and bring it along
with a photo ID to their appointment.
The appointment confirmation notice serves as the official appointment notice for the customer
and contains the name of the customer; appointment type; confirmation number (a systemgenerated serial tracking number assigned to the appointment); appointment date; appointment
time; and location.
Customers can review and reprint a copy of their confirmation appointment notice from any
computer that is connected to the internet and clicking on the link to make an appointment. The
customer then enters the same first name, last name, date of birth, and phone number used when
the original appointment was made. After clicking the ‘continue’ button, a copy of the
confirmation letter will be displayed. Customers can also use InfoPass to manage appointments.

7

See DHS/USCIS/PIA-046 Customer Scheduling and Services available at www.dhs.gov/privacy.

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Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
InfoPass collects the following information from the online customer to schedule an appointment:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Customer first name (required);
Customer middle name (optional);
Customer last name (required);
Customer phone number (required);
Customer email address (required for international appointments);
Case number (A-Number or receipt number) (optional); and
Number of attendees (optional).

myUSCIS is the web-facing portion of InfoPass and passes the collected information to the
National Appointment Scheduling System (NASS) to store. myUSCIS serves as the web interface
for customers and NASS supports internal scheduling management.
Source of Information:
InfoPass collects information directly from the online customer to schedule an appointment with
a USCIS field and international office.
Category of Individuals Affected:
Online customers are benefit requestors and accredited representatives.
Privacy Analysis:
Privacy Risk: If an appointment is created at a public computer, upon completion of
creating an appointment, if the customer walks away without closing the screen, PII is vulnerable.
Mitigation: myUSCIS screens time out after less than 1 minutes of inactivity and will ask
the online customer if he or she would like to extend his or her use of the appointment scheduling
system. After a minute of inactivity, the program reverts back to the landing page and data
collected is cleared.

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APPENDIX G
Family Reunification Parole (FRP) Programs Invitational Tool
Background:
The Department of Status (DOS) National Visa Center (NVC) mails invitations to individuals who
may be eligible to apply for parole under the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) 8 or
Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) program. 9 The receipt of an invitation letter is
currently the only guarantee customers have that they are eligible to apply to the HFRP or CFRP
program. Customers who do not have a current address on file and who consequently do not
receive an invitation may not know that they are eligible to apply. Their only recourse is to call
the National Customer Service Center. The NCSC refers to an Excel spreadsheet provided by
DOS. USCIS created the FRP Programs Invitational Tool to help customers determine whether
or not they are eligible to apply for these programs without having to call the NCSC.
DOS emails a password-protected Excel spreadsheet to USCIS that lists the individuals who were
mailed an HFRP or CFRP invitation. Information sent to USCIS from DOS includes: DOS case
number, petitioner’s last name, petitioner’s first name, petitioner’s date of birth, beneficiary’s last
name, beneficiary’s first name, and beneficiary’s date of birth. USCIS converts the entire
spreadsheet to a .csv file and uploads it on to the myUSCIS staging table support of the FRP
Program Invitational Tool.
FRP Programs Invitational Tool allows online customers to verify whether the NVC has issued
them an invitation to apply to the HFRP or CFRP programs. Online customers enter their DOS
case number, and hits ‘check for invitation’ to initiate a search. 10 The tool then compares that
information against a list of petitioners who were sent an invitation to participate in either the
HFRP or CFRP program. myUSCIS will compare the DOS case number entered against data in
the staging table. The status tool provides a simple confirmation or non-confirmation of whether
an invitation was issued to the individual, along with additional information on next steps.
Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
FRP Programs Invitational Tool collects the DOS case number, and may collect the online user’s
name and date of birth, to initiate a search. The tool checks these data attributes against the staging

8

https://www.uscis.gov/HFRP
https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/humanitarian-parole/cuban-family-reunification-parole-program
10
Future versions of the FRP Programs Invitational Tool may ask for additional customer information. Fields would
be limited to those currently provided to USCIS by DOS on the password-protected Excel spreadsheet.
9

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tables to determine whether or not the petitioner was sent an invitation letter to participate in HFRP
or CFRP.
Source of Information:
The FRP Programs Invitational tool pings the myUSCIS staging table, which has uploaded a .csv
file from the DOS. The file contains the DOS case number, petitioner first and last names and date
of birth, and the beneficiary first and last names and date of birth. The query and query results are
not maintained by myUSCIS.
Category of Individuals Affected:
FRP Programs Invitational maintains information on petitioner’s who were mailed invitations to
apply for benefits under the CFRP and HFRP for his or her family
Privacy Analysis:
Privacy Risk: There is a privacy risk that the DOS supplied spreadsheets are inaccurate
and untimely.
Mitigation: This risk cannot be mitigated. DOS provides USCIS with an updated list
throughout the year. Each time the list is updated, myUSCIS will update the list accordingly.

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APPENDIX H
myUSCIS Usability Testing and Ethnographic Research
Background:
USCIS is launching myUSCIS as a new digital service to shift away from traditional call
centers. myUSCIS simplifies the immigration processes for its customers. The purpose of this
service is to offer USCIS’ customers a wider range of online services. myUSCIS features easy to
use interfaces and intuitive tools aimed at reducing confusion about general immigration
information and eligibility for benefits.
Customer feedback is essential to continuously enhance the overall myUSCIS design and
user online experience. The myUSCIS team is conducting usability testing and ethnographic
research while developing myUSCIS. Usability Testing is a technique used in user-centered
interaction design to evaluate a product by testing it on its users. Users are able to share direct
input to USCIS on the overall user experience and myUSCIS features.
Ethnographic research allows the myUSCIS team to immerse themselves in the lives,
culture, or situation of its users to understand why people seek their benefit or status. Ethnography
is a type of social research. In ethnography, research is conducted in the field, where users’ realworld behaviors and interactions with products and services take place, so that researchers can
gain insight into how context impacts the user’s overall online experience. Through ethnographic
research, USCIS is able to understand how history and context (i.e., issues, settings, environment
and relationships) play an important role in the lives of benefit requestors and may design
myUSCIS to better meet the user’s online needs.
For both initiatives, USCIS obtains participants though the aid of Community Based
Organizations (CBO), grantees, and attorney partners with the Public Engagement Division of the
Customer Service and Public Engagement Directorate (CSPED). The aforementioned
organizations may solicit participants on USCIS’ behalf, and help coordinate locations to meet and
conduct the myUSCIS usability testing and/or ethnographic research. USCIS may also obtain
participants directly from USCIS customers that are interacting with USCIS. USCIS may
randomly approach customers at designated locations (i.e., at a CBO event, at a Public Engagement
event, or at the Field Office waiting room) to see if they are willing to participate in a usability or
ethnographic research study. Participants are informed that participation is completely voluntary,
and will have no impact on the outcome of their case.
The myUSCIS Usability Testing and Ethnographic Research teams are responsible for
guiding the participants through the usability tasks or questions and collecting feedback. The
myUSCIS Usability Testing and Ethnographic Research teams are composed of USCIS employees
whom act as moderators or observers. The moderator interacts with the participants and guides the
participants through the usability testing or/ethnographic research. There are multiple observers to
ensure the participant’s actions are captured. The observers are also responsible for taking notes
on the difficulty of the tasks and to capture any pertinent comments.

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The usability test and ethnographic research are conducted in three distinct phases. These
include:
1.

The Introduction phase- The moderator makes introductions, including the USCIS testing
team members’ first names and roles. The purpose of the introduction phase is to introduce
myUSCIS and to identify the participants’: technology proficiency, English proficiency, and
level of interaction with myUSCIS.gov. The introduction also lays out the expectations of the
participant and outlines the testing logistics.

2. Testing Phase- For the usability testing, the participants are introduced to the website page in
question and are provided a series of tasks to perform in myUSCIS. No personally identifiable
information is collected when performing usability testing. Mock data is given to the
participants. The participants are asked to talk through the tasks and to provide comments on
the ease of the tasks, as well as provide suggestions for improving the website to achieve the
specific tasks. As participants comment on what they are doing and seeing, the observer
documents the participants’ comments and actions for trend analysis. Observer notes are
anonymous and are not linkable to the participant.
During the ethnographic research, the myUSCIS Ethnographic Research team also listens to
participants to learn about the reasons why they are seeking their benefit or status, what events
in their lives prompted them to apply for immigration benefits, and the immigration experience
for both participants and family members involved in the immigration process. This study
informs website design decisions that myUSCIS developers take into consideration on how it
may deliver services and features to the public. The myUSCIS team listens for themes in the
stories and observes the immigration journey of the participants. Again, observer notes are
anonymous and are not linkable to the participant.
3. Feedback Phase- At the conclusion of the interview, participants are asked about the usability
testing task/questions, the length of the tasks, and for any closing comments. USCIS Usability
Testing and Ethnographic Research teams type up this feedback and notes are saved on a secure
CSPED shared drive. Notes are anonymous and are not linkable to the participant. The
participant feedback is aggregated for reporting and trend analysis. Once feedback is collected,
myUSCIS teams review the results to identify areas of improvement for myUSCIS product
designs and services.
Information Collected, Retained, and Disseminated:
Participants are either invited through a public invitation, published in advance of the
research study, or are invited in-person while USCIS researchers are on-site at designated
locations. Participants are informed that participation is completely voluntary, and will have no
impact on the outcome of their case.
The myUSCIS Usability Testing and Ethnographic Research teams monitor the
participant’s experience. All feedback is anonymous and aggregated for reporting and trend
analysis. Once feedback is collected, myUSCIS teams review the results to identify areas of

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improvement for myUSCIS. USCIS Usability Testing and Ethnographic Research teams type up
the feedback and notes are saved on a secure CSPED shared drive. Notes are anonymous and are
not linkable to the participant.
Sources of Information:
USCIS collects participant feedback directly from the individual participating in the
usability test and/or ethnographic research.
Category of Individuals Affected:
Individuals who volunteer to participate in the usability test and/or ethnographic research.
Privacy Analysis:
Privacy Risk: There is a risk that negative feedback could be inappropriately used to
adversely impact the individual’s benefit request.
Mitigation: USCIS mitigates this risk by making participation completely voluntary and
by ensuring that USCIS only receives results that are not associated with an individual. Participants
are informed that participation is completely voluntary, and will have no impact on the outcome
of their case. The USCIS Usability Testing and Ethnographic Research teams verbally request the
participant’s name, however, it is not captured or linked to the individual.
Privacy Risk: There is a privacy risk that the information collected will be used beyond
its original purpose.
Mitigation: The risk is mitigated. MyUSCIS serves as a convenient source for trusted
immigration and pending case information. Part of the USCIS’ mission is to provide effective
customer-oriented immigration benefit and information services. As a resource dedicated to online
customers, USCIS relies on customer feedback to improve the overall customer experience.
USCIS conducts usability tests and ethnographic research to collect data from customers about
their experiences and the level of satisfaction with the services from myUSCIS. Obtaining
customer feedback through these channels is an important aspect in evaluating a new myUSCIS
service. Results from these assessments are used by USCIS to change and modify different aspects
about myUSCIS in order to improve customer satisfaction. USCIS limits the customer’s feedback
to assessing the overall usability of myUSCIS or personal immigration experience to design
myUSCIS. USCIS does not link the responses back to the participants’ official immigration
records.
Privacy Risk: There is a privacy risk that the myUSCIS Usability and Ethnographic
Research teams will fail to protect the anonymity of participants.
Mitigation: The risk is mitigated. USCIS ensures that the practices stated in this Appendix
are followed by leveraging training, operational policies, and supervisor oversight. The myUSCIS
usability team is trained in user research and advised to focus on collecting feedback from the
participants rather than the identity of the participant. During the training, both teams are trained
to identify participants numerically (e.g., Participant 1 and Participant 2) instead of by name to
ensure the anonymity of participants. The myUSCIS Usability and Ethnographic teams follow a
uniform process to ensure the continuity of operations. At the end of each interview, the team de-

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briefs and reviews their notes to ensure all insights are captured, anonymous, and communicated
across the team. The purpose of the notes is to conduct an exercise to map and organize the key
insights into the themes gathered from the participants. Throughout the study, the organizational
map continues to evolve to capture trends gathered from participants and does not include PII.
Based on the findings, the team may revise the interview guide and research approach accordingly.


File Typeapplication/pdf
File TitleDHS/USCIS/PIA-064 myUSCIS
AuthorU.S. Department Of Homeland Security Privacy Office
File Modified2017-12-18
File Created2017-12-18

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