Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 09, 2012 – The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced an electronic filing system in May 2012.
The system, called USCIS ELIS, allows applicants to submit forms electronically, although currently the system can only be used for one form, the I-539, which individuals use to extend or change their nonimmigrant status.
“The USCIS long-awaited transformation to the use of electronic filing has gotten off to a slow start,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney. “So far, the program covers only a single type of filing: to extend or change nonimmigrant status.”
Rabinowitz added, “The concept, though, of electronic submission of an application for a benefit along with its electronically submitted supporting evidence and electronic payment offers the hope – but not the expectation – of a quicker adjudication than the transport of paper filings. It is one small step forward for the agency.”
USCIS processes more than 6 million paper forms each year, and the agency said it expects the new electronic system to save significant resources and employee time, as well as make the process of submitting an application more convenient for applicants.
USCIS ELIS allows people applying for immigration benefits to create an online account that can be used to submit and track applications. The system can also be used by applicants’ attorneys or accredited representatives. The agency said that it would roll out the use of the system for other forms over time, until eventually all USCIS forms will be able to be submitted electronically.
So far, according to USCIS, it has processed more than 1,000 applications submitted through the electronic system.
The agency indicated that use of USCIS ELIS is not mandatory, but it is encouraged, and the agency would like to receive feedback from users as it works to improve the system.
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