Agency begins transition from paper-based to online environment
WASHINGTON— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched the first phase of its electronic immigration benefits system, known as USCIS ELIS. The system has been created to modernize the process for filing and adjudicating immigration benefits.
“Today marks a significant milestone in our agency’s history,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “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 launch brings the agency closer to realizing the future of immigration services. Through an USCIS ELIS account individuals can establish and apply online to extend or change their nonimmigrant status for certain visa types.
Historically, USCIS customers have had to apply for most benefits by mail and USCIS employees then review paper files and ship documents between offices to complete their adjudication. Future releases will add form types and functions to the system, gradually expanding to cover filing and adjudication for all USCIS immigration benefits.
Following this first release, USCIS anticipates making adjustments and improvements in response to user feedback. 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 their diverse customer base.
The USCIS ELIS system includes filing applications, 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.