|Law Offices of Janet J. Greathouse
Immigration and Nationality Law
|E-Filing Has Begun
On May 29, 2003, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) began its electronic filing program. To guide applicants through the process, BCIS published the following Frequently Asked Questions. You may go directly to the BCIS web site for more information and instructions for efiling by clicking here.
Q. What is electronic filing (e-filing)?
A.Electronic filing, or e-filing, is the filing of an electronic document on a website via the Internet. The BCIS website currently provides two types of on-line applications that may be completed and submitted through the website www.bcis.gov.
Q. Who is eligible to participate in e-filing?
A. Currently, Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, can be e-filed. Thousands of applicants will be eligible to take advantage of this new process. It is estimated that 750,000 people file Form I-90 each year to renew or replace their "green card". It is also estimated that 1.75 million people file for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, each year. These applications make up approximately 30% of our workload. However, some applicants will not have the option of filing electronically. Details are provided in each form's E-filing Instructions and Eligibility Information, which are accessible at www.bcis.gov. For individuals who cannot e-file, or for those who choose not to e-file, the BCIS will continue to accept paper applications.
Q. Will other forms be available for e-filing?
A.The BCIS is already working on six other forms that should be ready for e-filing in the future.
Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker;
Form I-131, Application for Travel Document;
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker;
Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status;
Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status;
Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing.
Additional, high-volume forms will be added in the future.
Q. If I already filed a Form I-90 or Form I-765 before the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) transitioned to the BCIS, do I have to submit another form?
A. No. Any form you previously filed with the INS is acceptable and you do not have to file another form now that the INS has transitioned to the BCIS. Furthermore, the eligibility criteria for all immigration benefits remain unaffected by the transition.
Q. How do applicants pay the fee associated with these two forms?
A. Customers will now be able to pay the fees associated with these applications online through the electronic transfer of U.S. funds from their checking or savings accounts. At this time customers cannot pay application fees with a credit card. The BCIS plans to start accepting credit card payments later this year.
Q. What is the Confirmation Receipt notice?
A. After electronic filing is complete, the applicant receives electronic confirmation that the application was received. This notice is titled "Confirmation Receipt." The Confirmation Receipt notice provides a unique Receipt Number for the application filed. The Confirmation Receipt notice does not mean that the application was approved, but it does provide proof that the application was filed. A paper receipt, Form I-797, will be mailed to the applicant after filing. It will contain essentially the same information, including the same Receipt Number. This Receipt Number can be used to check the status of their pending case using the Case Status Service Online system found at www.bcis.gov.
Q. How do applicants provide supporting documents or evidence required by BCIS to adjudicate their application?
A. After electronic submission, applicants are instructed to send supporting documentation or evidence to the address listed on the Confirmation Receipt notice. Applicants should attach a copy of the Confirmation Receipt notice to the documents to help BCIS match them to the e-filed application.
Q. How does BCIS verify the identity of applicants if a form is filed electronically?
A. After e-filing, the applicant must make an appointment to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) by calling the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
Applicants who filed Form I-90 should bring a copy of their application and their Confirmation Receipt notice to their appointment. The ASC will keep the copy of the application. We encourage applicants to make an additional copy for their own records.
Applicants who filed Form I-765 need only bring a copy of their Confirmation Receipt notice.
At the ASC, the BCIS will confirm the applicant's identity and electronically capture a photograph, fingerprints, and a signature. The BCIS will use these biometrics to produce the Employment Authorization Document or Permanent Resident Card, if the application is approved.
Q. How can an applicant get help with e-filing?
A. We recommend that customers first check the BCIS website (www.bcis.gov.) and review the list of Frequently Asked Questions on e-filing. If a customer cannot find the information he/she needs, the customer can call the National Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-375-5283 for information.
Q. What happens if I move?
A. You must submit Form AR-11, Change of Address Form, to the appropriate address listed on the form. Form AR-11 can be obtained through the website or by calling the Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-375-5283.
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