USCIS Launches Virtual Assistant

Emma was developed in response to a growing interest in self-help tools and to enhance our customer service.

Posted on 12/2/15
By Staff | Via ViewsWeek
(Photo by Nicola Romagna, Creative Commons License)
(Photo by Nicola Romagna, Creative Commons License)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has launched a virtual assistant named “Emma” on, allowing customers to quickly find accurate information. She answers questions in plain English and navigates users to relevant USCIS web pages.


According to a USCIS press release, the virtual assistant is named after Emma Lazarus, whose famous words are inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.


Emma was developed in response to a growing interest in self-help tools and to enhance our customer service. USCIS call centers currently receive many questions concerning general information requests that can be provided through the Web. Now Emma will help provide that information.


A rudimentary, text-based version of more advanced virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri,Emma interprets typed questions and direct users to relevant parts of the USCIS website. For instance, when asked, “How do I prepare for a trip to Brazil?”, Emma might prompt users to choose an option based on their immigration status.


“Although Emma can currently answer many questions our customers commonly ask, her knowledge base is still growing. As customers ask more questions, Emma gets smarter and can better assist future customers,”said the press release.


You can access Emma on a desktop or laptop. Soon, she’ll be expanding to mobile devices, and herSpanish language capabilities will be arriving early next year.


Check out Emma at and click “Ask a Question” in the upper right-hand corner of the page.


For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

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