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USCIS Increasingly Digital for Immigration Petitions

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing United States Citizenship and Immigration Service and a recent announcement that they will start accepting more applications digitally for benefits through the service.

To quote directly from a recent announcement from USCIS which is entitled New Technology Approach to Enable Expansion of Online Filing. "US Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a new strategy known as e-processing to accelerate USCIS's transition to a digital business model. E-processing will be a complete digital experience from applying for a benefit to communicating with USCIS through receiving a decision on a case. As a first step, certain visitors for business, visitors for pleasure and vocational students can now apply online to extend their stay in the United States. Additional classifications are coming soon.  E-processing connects previously separate technology systems within the Agency to ultimately improve decision timeliness, increase transparency during the application process and to accelerate the availability of online filing for all Immigration benefits." Notice that, and I am not quoting here. Notice that: ”for all immigration benefits". I will get to that in a moment. "Each year USCIS receives more than 8 million requests for Immigration benefits. Improvements to USCIS technology will continue to enable more applicants to submit many of these requests online." 

Now what does this really do for anybody is applying for Immigration benefits for example from here in the Kingdom of Thailand?  Well probably not a lot. Primarily what we see being processed out of this post, at least in our practice here in the Immigration unit, we see a lot of family-based petitions so that is spouses, fiancées, children and stepchildren of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. Those folks are going to be processing their cases still sort of in an analog mode because USCIS still requires that paper filings be made in order to get the process moving. Now various aspects of the process have gone more digital most notably the National Visa Center has increasingly gone digital with respect to documentation filings and I think it is pretty safe to presume we will go ahead and see more of this process going digital in the coming years. Exactly when I presume we are going to see USCIS processing things like Marriage Visas and Fiancée Visas in a digital manner, I don't think it will be this year or even next year, but in the coming 5 years I think probably will go ahead and see that.  What are the ramifications? Well it will probably be faster although I have to be honest. Certain aspects of the digitization of this process have resulted in my opinion a little bit more consternation than we have had in the past.  Paper filings frankly they are easier. The four corners of the paper are right there in front of you whereas I have seen scans and things like this basically people you know they become kind of,  I have seen adjudicators think that something got cut off on a scan or something and  they make a Request for Evidence. In fact especially with NVC, requests for further documentation, in my opinion, have been more frequent since the digitization as compared to the past. But that being said, they only brought that online here recently so they are probably just working the kinks out of the system.

Hopefully, in the future this digitization will result in Immigration processing taking less time than in the past and we may see a situation in the future where fiancée and marriage visa benefits are processed much more quickly than they currently are at the time of this video.