Upgrades to USCIS Systems Underway
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been undergoing a system upgrade lately with newer, more efficient processes put in place. These include changes to data accessibility, payment methods and an overall shift towards an electronic way of doing things. In order to make it meet the needs of applicants, employees, and stakeholders in a more time-efficient and cost-effective manner, USCIS is using innovation and technology across their systems.
Below is a list of new additions or changes that may affect the way your individual case is going to be dealt with in the future:
Change in mode of Payment:
Unlike earlier when USCIS used to accept money orders or cashier’s checks, now they will process applicants’ payments in through a secure online system making it more secure and traceable thereby, reducing processing errors by 88%. Starting Feb 25, 2019, USCIS will only accept payments in the form of-
- Personal check;
- Attorney check;
- Business check;
- Debit card;
- Credit card; or
- Reloadable prepaid credit or debit card.
Any applicant who may have already made payment via cashier’s checks or money orders will have their fees returned and notified of the new electronic system.
Self-service Applicant Tools:
With an intention to save time and streamline each process, USCIS has opened up self-service options that allows applicants to access resources quickly without having to make a phone call or an appointment to the local field office. These tools include:
- The USCIS online account;
- Case Status Online;
- Change of Address; and
- Emma, an online virtual assistant.
In addition to these online services, USCIS has improved the service hours at the Contact Center and increased the number of representatives available. Their goal is to answer everyone with three or less enquiries on the same phone call.
Online Fee Calculator:
In order to counter the number of application rejections due to incorrect fee submissions, the USCIS developed an online fee calculator that will determine the exact filing and biometric fees for any form or combination of forms. This is keeping in view the 11 million applications that were rejected due to wrong fee amounts. The applicant can select the required form, answer a series of questions and the fee calculator generates the appropriate amount.
Consolidated data on website:
With a newly improved website, USCIS provides related data on a single, consolidated page. Users may now access information through search boxes, category filters, and narrow additional information through date range by quarter and descriptions of the data. This helps in having transparency and ease of usage and understanding of the immigration systems.
Online Filing of Forms:
To facilitate a convenient filing experience for petitioners, USCIS has made a number of critical forms available online that can now be filed online as well. The primary list includes:
- Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship; (To know how to fill out an N-600 application, read Certificate of Citizenship Process)
- Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322;
- Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card;
- Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings;
- Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; and
- Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship
This facility not only modernizes their existing system but also marks to replace the traditional paper-filing system and serves to improve conveniences for the petitioners.
All these programs are expected to be executed on all field offices by the end of fiscal year 2019. Educate yourself on past changes to USCIS operations to see if any of these will affect your individual case. If you have questions regarding process or document requirements for any of your petitions, walk through www.path2usa.com for a comprehensive guide of all things related to US immigration.