The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has recently been pushing for immigrants to use their online application process. See here.
However, for now, the immigration lawyers at Yekrangi & Associates suggest not using the online portal for filing applications and forms. We have several reasons for saying this. First, online filing does not speed up processing. Some think that filing online will make the process quicker. But that is not true, at least not for now. You obtain a receipt for filing quicker and that can be important (particularly since it may take six weeks for the receipt to arrive by mail). But the process for evaluating applications and scheduling interviews is not sped up by using the online portal. Priority of processing is based on the filing date of the application, not based on when the receipt arrives or whether you file forms online.
Second, we think that the USCIS is trying to encourage noncitizens to file applications and upload forms without the benefit of having experienced and proven immigration attorneys helping them. Many applications are legally complex and applicants need strong legal guidance. Mistakes can be made when using the online portal which can lead to findings of inadmissibility and other adverse actions by the USCIS. Also, there are many “yes” and “no” questions on these forms, and we believe certain applicants do not squarely fit into a yes or no answer.
Third, the reasons listed by the USCIS for using the online portal are not particularly good. The USCIS says these are reasons why using the online portal is "better than mailing a paper form":
- You can file "from anywhere"
- You can track your application "from anywhere" and at "anytime"
- You can enter your information using a phone, tablet, or computer
- You can avoid common mistakes like forgetting to sign a form or application
- You can save your draft and work/finish "at your own pace"
- You can pay fees "easily and securely"
- You receive immediate confirmation that your application or form has been received instead of waiting for the mail
These are not very good reasons. The first three are about convenience, but note that USCIS can disqualify certain applications if they are filed “from anywhere” because there are legal jurisdictional issues. Preparing your application and forms CORRECTLY is more important than convenience. The fourth reason listed is actually false. Yes, you will not forget to sign the form, but other more crucial mistakes can be made. The next reason -- working at your own pace -- is equally true for paper applications that are mailed. The other two reasons are not benefits that make up for the downsides of using the online portal.
Finally, we think the USCIS needs to update and make technological changes to the online portal. The system does not seem designed to support voluminous filings or to handle applications that contain complex legal issues. We also think there may be a bias against those with less developed computer and technological skills.
For these reasons, for now, we advise against using the USCIS online portal for filing applications and forms.
Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today
For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.