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03 July 2012

The USCIS Electronic Immigration System’s First 1,000 Cases

Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Every day, USCIS receives thousands of paper applications for immigration benefits - more than 6 million each year. For generations, we have received, reviewed, shipped, and stored paper applications and files throughout our agency. This paper-based process consumes a great deal of resources and employee time.

USCIS, the world’s largest immigration benefits agency, reached a significant milestone on May 22, 2012 with the launch of our new electronic immigration system, USCIS ELIS. USCIS ELIS allows applicants and their attorneys and accredited representatives to create an online account and submit and track their immigration benefit requests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Currently, individuals applying to change or extend their nonimmigrant status, Form I-539, can use the system. We will roll out additional form types and functions over time until all USCIS applications and petitions can be processed through the system. USCIS ELIS also has enhanced tools to combat fraud and safeguard national security.

Not long ago, we received our 1,000th electronically-filed application through USCIS ELIS. We have also seen a commensurate drop in the number of paper Form I-539 applications submitted since the system’s launch. USCIS ELIS has already delivered for our early users the timeliness, convenience, and added security of a more modern immigration system.

While its use is not mandatory, I encourage all individuals who are eligible to file Form I-539 to use USCIS ELIS. We continue to build this system for our customers, our dedicated workforce, and our federal partners. Your feedback is important as we prepare future releases of USCIS ELIS to meet your needs today and into the future. Please visit the USCIS ELIS Web page to learn more about USCIS ELIS and its benefits, and please share your user story with us here in our comments section or by emailing us at I look forward to your comments as we continue to modernize our agency.

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At July 3, 2012 at 10:11:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Mahendra Acharya said...

Very good step taken by USCIS that will be great help to prospective immigrants and their sponsers.

At July 3, 2012 at 10:48:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. An effective enhancement that saves time and cost and could potentially alleviate frustration on both end with less paper work to deal with! Great work USCIS.

At July 3, 2012 at 10:51:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simplicity and brilliance- making the process easier on both ends! Thanks USCIS- great work!

At July 3, 2012 at 5:31:00 PM EDT , Blogger Виктор said...

Hello dear friends! This is a progressive innovative solution to USCIS ELIS! When the desire of immigration is very reliable. Because mnogoie intellectuals want to live in the U.S. that would make progress. At home, they remain unclaimed. So I am looking for contacts for Immigration .USCIS ELIS give hope! Thank you! I congratulate you on Independence Day, I wish you good mood! Thank you! Victor!

At July 3, 2012 at 8:05:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i used the system for my wife when i was trying to get paperwork complete . i am a american citizen and it was easy for me to use becase my attorneys was not alot of help so i did most of her paperwork and forms on my own the only part that is frustrating is when you get to where all money and forms are paid and you have to wait 8 to 10 months with no way to track anything and no one will tell you anything and you never know when you will recieve your paperwork so your life is put on hold for the 8 to 10 months until hey send you your paperwork. dont do anything you maybe wasteing your your money.

At July 3, 2012 at 11:28:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

USCIS made great progress in recent years. This project will save more national resources. Perfect!!!

At July 4, 2012 at 12:51:00 PM EDT , Blogger gk_2012 said...

Great !!! I hope this will speed the processing for eligible candidates such as me.

At July 4, 2012 at 5:33:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Will the the system allow filling for naturalization? This electronic filling is good because there is savings on mailing and the submission is safe as well. How about the fee for processing -how were they done?

Still on naturalization-if for some reasons,the applicant needs more documentation or lacking in residency requirement -I was wondering what will happen to the original payment for processing.

Thank you, your attention is appreciated very much

At July 6, 2012 at 12:07:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have attempted to use the system and I find it laborious and hard to manage. I think the USCIS has taken a wonderful first step, however, the system needs to be streamlined further to make it worth my time as an attorney. There were more questions on the electronic version then on the paper based version. There is also the uploading issue. I uploaded each document individually and after spending considerable time doing this - i was told that my documents exceeded the 6MB limit - thus i had to file by mail. This is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

At July 9, 2012 at 12:53:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Guy Joseph said...

Since changes have been made in the processing modes hope only eligible immigrants benefit from this.
But by being more transperant, illegal methods & loopholes can be prevented, while only qualified
applicants benefit from this privilige extended
by the USCIS through the ELIS program.

At July 11, 2012 at 3:55:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments about change of names, I think its better one leaves the name the way it is to avoid delays.
Please I would like to know from USCIS if its possible to cancel change of name already indicated on form N400,the form was submitted and is still under initial review and how does one goes about making the changes? Thanking you in advance for your quick response.

At July 20, 2012 at 4:17:00 PM EDT , Blogger Sharon Linville said...

I am sorry my comment is not related to this blog post but I am hoping this would reach the USCIS Director Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas.
I am a U.S. citizen by birth and I have filed I-130 petition on behalf of my husband with a priority date of 3 January 2012. My case is with California Service Center. USCIS website states that they are processing I-130 petitions within 5 months. Well, it has been 6 months, 2 weeks and 3 days now and I have not heard anything from USCIS except some generic replies one after another asking me to wait another *45* days. I want to know what is wrong with my case? Why is it taking them so long just to review it? Many people who filed in March 2012 have been approved, I filed in January 2012 and still nothing. So where is the first come first serve policy?
Mr. Director, I request you to take some action.
Ms. Sharon Linville

At July 21, 2012 at 4:44:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Muhammad Salman Iqbal said...

Very well done! Good progress by USCIS. Will definitely expedite the process and help millions!

At July 28, 2012 at 12:14:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great news! I am glad that USCIS is identifying some of their inefficiencies and taking action to improve customer satisfaction. It will take a while to get the kinks out of the system but in the long run this will save time and resources. Processing times should speed up as well.

At May 13, 2013 at 9:55:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Jp_2013 said...

It is wonderful user-friendly system to streamline the application process. Also allows users to request for file online which is legal benefit of this system. Must say this is most efficient, accurate and secured system process.

At November 20, 2013 at 9:21:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their estimates are way off. They say three months for advance parole... Sometimes it would come in 2 months... and sometimes it would take more than 6 months...

How can it be so irregular... They have no transparency. If you call them... they would say... oh well it's just an estimate... you know.

Even for electronic applications... it takes this much time.

At November 22, 2013 at 11:17:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elis system has so far not worked for me. Elis DOES NOT recognize 9 digit alien numbers that begin with a number other than a zero. Was the system only created to recognize alien numbers that begin with a zero? I have been trying to pay the $165 for my green card since Nov. 5, 2013 and I can't even finish drafting the application because it keeps giving me error. The system shows that the alien # should start with a zero and should be 9 digits long. My alien number is ALREADY 9 digits long and it does not start with a zero. If I enter a zero in front of my #, my alien # will be incorrect. I e-mail Elis front desk and been in contact with them and they have not been able to resolve the issue. I understand that this is the ONLY way to pay said fee. Has anyone experience similar issues? if so, have your issues been resolved? what steps did you take get it resolved?
Thank you in advance for your help


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