ICE and ISAP Check Ins

There are many different immigration agencies within the United States government. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the name of the immigration agency that enforces immigration laws, and ISAP is the name for ICE’s program to monitor certain immigrants.

Some people have to check in regularly with ICE or ISAP as part of their case, and other people do not. If you entered the United States with a visa and you have never been detained by the U.S. government before, you most likely do not have ICE or ISAP check ins. If you entered the United States by crossing the border and you were detained, or if you were detained some time after entering the United States, you may have ICE or ISAP check ins.

Scroll down or click on the links below to read questions and answers from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP).

What is ICE? What is ISAP?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a U.S. government agency that enforces immigration laws. They act like immigration “police.”

Often when ICE releases a person from immigration detention, they decide to continue to monitor the person through a program called the Intensive Supervision and Assistance Program (ISAP). This monitoring can happen in different ways, including through ankle monitors, in-person check-in appointments, visits at home, or check-ins by phone. Some private companies work for ICE to administer the ISAP program. 

How do I know if I have an ICE check in, when it is, and where it will be?

First, even if you were released from detention, you may not have to check in with ICE. Some people have to check in regularly as part of their case, and other people do not.

If you do have ICE appointments, you will normally receive a document when you leave the detention center that tells you the kind of supervision you will have. The document may also tell you when and where you will have your first ICE appointment. Then, after you go to your first ICE appointment, they will give you another document that you will take to all of your upcoming appointments. You can also call your local ICE office to find out when and where you have your appointment with them.

If you crossed the Mexico-U.S. border around or after Spring 2021, you may have received a document Notice to Report (Form I-385). You may also have been told that you have to report to ICE within 60 days. Read more about Notice to Report here.

When you go to your appointment, it can be a good idea to ask for your ICE officer’s phone number. That way, you can call the officer directly with questions or concerns. 

What should I do if I cannot attend my ICE check in?

You should call your ICE officer to let them know and ask to reschedule your appointment for another date when you are able to attend. If you do not have their phone number, you can call your local ICE office

What should I do if no one answers when I call the ICE office?

If no one answers at the ICE offices, you can try leaving a voicemail message with your name, phone number, and A number. It is often very difficult to get someone to answer when you call an ICE office and you may not be able to leave a voicemail message. You can try to keep calling until they answer.

You can also try calling the ICE Detention Reporting and Information Line at 1-888-351-4024 or ICE’s Victim Engagement and Services Line at 833-383-1465. You do not have to be a victim to use this phone number.

You can also try emailing your local ICE office.

It is helpful to keep a record of how you tried to contact ICE. You can write down the date and time you called, what phone number you called, and what answer was provided. Keep a copy of any emails you send to ICE.

ICE took my passport. Can I get a new one?

If ICE took your passport, they usually keep it until the end of your immigration court case. At the end of your case, ICE should return your passport when you ask for it.

If you need your passport while your immigration court case is still pending, there are two possible options: (1) you can ask ICE to return your passport temporarily, and (2) you can request a new passport from the consulate of your country of origin. There is more detail on these options below to help you decide whether they make sense for you.

First, you can ask your ICE office to return your passport to you temporarily for a specific reason, such as to apply for a driver’s license. But you will have to return your passport by the date ICE specifies. If they do not agree to give you the passport itself, you can also ask them for a photocopy of the pages with your name, biographic information, and photo. You can use that photocopy to prove your identity when you send immigration applications, like for a work permit.

Second, some people may be able to request a new passport from the consulate of your country of origin. Whether this option makes sense for you may depend on the reasons why you are requesting asylum.

  • If you are requesting asylum based on threat or danger from the government of your country of origin, then we generally do NOT recommend contacting your country’s consulate in the United States to request a new passport. It could put you at risk. Also, the U.S. government could decide that because you are not afraid to contact your country of origin’s government for a new passport, you do not need the protection of asylum in the United States.
  • If you are not in danger directly from the government in your country of origin, but instead from other people or groups, it may be safe to request a new passport from your country’s consulate in the United States. You know best the reasons why you may be seeking asylum in the United States, and whether contacting the government of your country of origin is a risk. You can learn more about asylum in this video. If you are not sure what to do, we recommend talking to an immigration attorney first.
  • If you are not seeking asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), but instead you have a different type of immigration case, it is generally fine to request a new passport from your country.

I have an ankle monitor. How can I get it removed?

The length of time it takes to remove the ankle monitor varies and each case is different. Sometimes a lawyer can advocate to have it removed. If you would like to find a lawyer, visit this find help page.

Also, this guide has information on how to ask your ICE officer to remove the electronic monitor. The guide was created by the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School and is specifically for people with cases in San Francisco, California. However, the general information may be useful for asylum seekers with monitors in other locations as well. This guide was created in 2016, so the information may have changed since then.

I received a Notice to Report from ICE. What is it and what can I do?

A Notice to Report (Form I-385) is a short form that some people have received after crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. Here is an example. If you received a Notice to Report, you may also have been told that you have to check in with ICE within 60 days. Read more about Notice to Report, how to schedule a check-in, and how it affects your asylum case.

Note: This page is for adults who are interested in seeking asylum in the United States. Our hope is that you will use the information to better understand the asylum process and take control of your case. However, this information is not a substitute for legal advice about your particular case. To look for legal assistance, visit ASAP’s find help page.