Tuesday, May 22, 2012

USA: Now Open for Service - the USCIS ELIS (Electronic Immigration System)

Current Services Limited to Certain Nonimmigrant Visas - USCIS ELIS (Electronic Immigration System)
 Credit: USCIS.gov

The portal to file various US Immigration Applications and Maintenance has begun its operation. The USCIS office website announced today, May 22, 2012.  

“Today marks a significant milestone in our agency’s history,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We have launched the foundation for the web-based future of our agency and our immigration benefits system. USCIS ELIS will transform how we interact with our customers and how we manage the 6-7 million applications we receive each year.”

This initial release will be limited only to certain electronic applications like Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Who can use USCIS ELIS?
Current Visa
Action / Option
Extend Status
B-1, B-2, F-2, M-1, M-2
F-1 holder who received a date-specific visa that requires completion of a given course of study within a specific time – can use USCIS ELIS

Other F-1 holders are admitted for duration of status and should contact their designated school official to extend their status
Change Status
Like to become a visa holder of     B-1,  B-2, F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1 or  M-2
An M-1 student may not change status to an F-1 student
Reinstate Status
Were a visa holder of F-1 or M-1
The spouse or child of an F-1 or M-1 student may be included in the principal’s benefit request.
Note: Before opening an account at ELIS, please make sure that your current status will benefit from using this new system.  If you do not meet eligibility please download Form I-539 from USCIS website and use the traditional paper application.

Using the USCIS ELIS:
Credit: USCIS.gov

This process will enable USCIS to continually enhance the user experience for both customers and USCIS employees. It will also allow the agency to smooth the transition to electronic filing over time, mindful of those individuals without computer access and the agency’s commitment to serve our diverse customer base.

Benefits of using USCIS ELIS include filing applications and paying fees online, shorter processing times, and the ability to update user profiles, receive notices, and respond to requests electronically. The system also includes tools to combat fraud and identify national security concerns. 

While the intent of this action offers greater and better experience of visa applicants and their sponsors, with less processing time and better communication processes. We will wait and see in the next ninety days and up to six months whether or not the attempted goals of the system will be successful. In the past, experiences were frustrating among many individuals due to the enormous inconsistencies that were created when implemented prior USCIS system.  Hopefully, this time the USCIS have implemented a real time Quality Assurance testing of the system in order to troubleshoot mechanical glitches and issues prior to roll out. It's time for a real electronic system.

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  1. Well, everthing else has gone electronic. Why not the U.S. Immigration System. As long as they have some way of dealing with fraud, I think it would mke the agency more productive and efficient.

  2. I agree with you Gail. There is nothing better than effectiveness by the office of the USCIS ELIS for the benefit of those they serve.