On May 22, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) launched an electronic immigration benefits system, the
Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS), to enable immigration
benefit seekers and legal representatives to create an account to
file for benefits online. This launch represents the first phase in
USCIS' transition from paper-based filings to a more
progressive online system for filing and processing applications
and petitions for immigration benefits through a web-based
Under USCIS' current e-Filing system, implemented in 2005,
applications for specified immigration benefits can be
electronically filed, but supporting documentation must be mailed
to USCIS to complete an application. On the other hand, USCIS ELIS
allows applicants to upload supporting documentation through a
secure website which, presumably, should expedite processing times.
Features also include the ability to pay fees online, update user
profiles immediately using the web program, and electronically
receive notices and respond to requests.
The scope of applications eligible for filing under USCIS ELIS
currently is limited to requests for a change or extension of
status (Form I-539) for certain types of applications, specifically
in the B, F, J, or M classification subcategories (i.e., only for
certain students and visitors). These applications may be submitted
directly by nonimmigrants or through their attorneys. Additional
types of online filings of immigration benefits will be gradually
introduced into USCIS ELIS, with improvements to the system's
functionality, with the ultimate goal to make USCIS ELIS available
for all agency immigration benefits.
USCIS ELIS is the first step in a multi-year transition effort.
USCIS has stated that this new system is expected to improve
customer service, reduce processing times, and enhance tools to
improve identity protections, combat fraud, and identify national
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On March 8, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, bearing an edition date of March 8, 2013, for immediate use by employers.
A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators has introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, an 844-page bill that aims to bolster border security and seeks to provide some of the nation's 11 million undocumented people with a path to citizenship.