"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) today 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. “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 launch brings the agency closer to realizing the future of
immigration services. Beginning today, individuals can establish a USCIS
ELIS account and apply online to extend or change their nonimmigrant
status for certain visa types. Eligible individuals include foreign
citizens who travel to the United States temporarily to study, conduct
business, receive medical treatment, or visit on vacation. USCIS ELIS
will also enable USCIS officers to review and adjudicate online filings
from multiple agency locations across the country.
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. Today’s launch signifies
an important step forward and is the first of several releases. Future
releases will add form types and functions to the system, gradually
expanding to cover filing and adjudication for all USCIS immigration
This important transition for America’s immigration benefits system
will take time and continued dedication to fully implement. Following
this first release, USCIS anticipates making adjustments and
improvements in response to user feedback. 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
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
Mayorkas attributed today’s successful launch to the steadfast
dedication of the USCIS workforce. “USCIS employees believe in the
transformation of our agency from a paper-based to an online
environment. It is through their vision, unwavering commitment, and hard
work that we have reached this important milestone,” Mayorkas said.
to take a tour of the new system, learn about eligibility and the
benefits of using USCIS ELIS, and find frequently asked questions." - USCIS, May 22, 2012.
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