U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) launched a new virtual assistant named “EMMA” on December 2, 2015. Emma provides customers quick help allowing easier navigation in finding information from USCIS.

Emma is named after Emma Lazarus, whose famous words are inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Emma was created in response to a developing need in self-help tools and to enhance customer service. Presently, USCIS call centers are the centralized mechanism for customer inquiries concerning general information requests that can be found via the Internet. Due to the increasing high volume of callers, Emma was developed to streamline customer questions and to provide that information online as a virtual assistant.

Similar to Apple’s SIRI, Emma can receive typed questions and guide users through USCIS website to find answers. Emma answers questions based on your own words and can provide immediate answers, navigate uscis.gov website and locate information based on the questions and search language entered.

Emma will type answers and also talk (only in English; EMMA is currently not yet available in Spanish however USCIS indicates that she will be speaking Spanish in early next year).

To get started, click here  ask a question and window will pop up allowing users to type a question. For example, when asked “What are the current processing times for H-1B visas filed at the Vermont Service Center?”, Emma will provide a link to retrieve the current USCIS processing time information.


Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Corporate Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or abahal@foxrothschild.com.