Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
July 3, 2012 - Every day, USCIS receives thousands of paper applications for immigration benefits - more than 6 million each year. For generations, we have received, reviewed, shipped, and stored paper applications and files throughout our agency. This paper-based process consumes a great deal of resources and employee time.
USCIS, the world’s largest immigration benefits agency, reached a significant milestone on May 22, 2012 with the launch of our new electronic immigration system, USCIS ELIS. USCIS ELIS allows applicants and their attorneys and accredited representatives to create an online account and submit and track their immigration benefit requests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Currently, individuals applying to change or extend their nonimmigrant status, Form I-539, can use the system. We will roll out additional form types and functions over time until all USCIS applications and petitions can be processed through the system. USCIS ELIS also has enhanced tools to combat fraud and safeguard national security.
Not long ago, we received our 1,000th electronically-filed application through USCIS ELIS. We have also seen a commensurate drop in the number of paper Form I-539 applications submitted since the system’s launch. USCIS ELIS has already delivered for our early users the timeliness, convenience, and added security of a more modern immigration system.
While its use is not mandatory, I encourage all individuals who are eligible to file Form I-539 to use USCIS ELIS. We continue to build this system for our customers, our dedicated workforce, and our federal partners. Your feedback is important as we prepare future releases of USCIS ELIS to meet your needs today and into the future. Please visit the USCIS ELIS Web page to learn more about USCIS ELIS and its benefits, and please share your user story with us here in our comments section or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to your comments as we continue to modernize our agency.