Yes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows you to file certain forms through their online filing system, but why is that not 100% a good idea for some people, and what are the tradeoffs of using their system?
Same-day-Online Filing vs. Filing By Mail
The main reason for filing your forms using USCIS’ online filing system is so that USCIS accepts or receives your forms immediately and you are issued a receipt notice right away versus in a few days if you were to file your forms by mail.
However, filing online can be a short-sighted action because your form may be incomplete. If your goal is to get your case approved as quickly as possible, the most important thing is to submit a complete and well-prepared form(s) along with the necessary initial evidence and supporting documents to avoid rejections or a Request For Evidence (RFE) that could result in unnecessary delays or even the denial of your case and the loss of your USCIS filing fees. In addition, using USCIS’ online filing system does not give you any advantages when it comes to the actual processing time of the case which usually takes several months or even years.
That is the difference between saving a couple of days with the USCIS online filing system versus saving several weeks or even months with smoother processing when you file a complete application package by standard mail.
It’s important to know that USCIS is not necessarily looking out for your best interest and will not act as your personal Immigration Attorney. When using USCIS’ online filing system, you answer general eligibility questions that may not fully address your specific immigration situation and you could make mistakes, misrepresentations, or omissions that may have serious immigration consequences which could then lead to findings of inadmissibility and cause adverse actions or delays by USCIS.
You may be eligible or meet the minimum requirements to complete the form, but at the same time you could still be inadmissible to the United States or you may lack the required evidence and USCIS will not advise you of these requirements beforehand. Some might say that USCIS is encouraging non-citizens to start a case and file their forms without the benefits of having experienced immigration legal help. This could result in more harm or damage to one’s immigration situation.
Preparing your form(s) correctly is more important than the convenience of filing online.
Not all Forms are Available Online
At the moment, not all USCIS forms are available on USCIS’ online filing system. Certain cases require multiple forms. For example, a complete Marriage Green Card case for a beneficiary who is in the United States requires all of the following forms: I-130, I-130A, I-1485, I-765, I-131, and I-864. Currently, if you use the USCIS online filing system, you can only file online and pay for Form I-130. USCIS will require that you file the paper versions of all of the other forms by mail along with the remaining filing fees. This can create confusion and will make a complicated matter even more complicated. It is better to file all forms and evidence together and at the same time.
USCIS Does Not Mail Paper Notices for some Forms Filed Online
For example, if you file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, you will constantly have to check your online account to ensure that you do not miss important communications. USCIS does not mail paper biometric services appointment notices for electronically-filed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. As part of USCIS’ ongoing transition to digital processing, the biometric services appointment notice will appear in your USCIS online account once your appointment is scheduled.
If you need to reschedule a biometric services appointment, you are required to show that you have a reasonable excuse for rescheduling. If you do not call before your scheduled appointment or do not establish good cause, USCIS may not reschedule the appointment. If you do not appear for your appointment and the appointment is not rescheduled, USCIS will consider your form abandoned and may deny it.
How can Signature Immigration Forms help you?
Immigration Law is very complex, and the government fees are significant. Many people have ventured to complete their own paperwork without the proper legal advice or guidance to simply save money on Attorney’s fees and in some cases the consequences have been devastating.
We strongly believe it’s time to stop paying high fees to retain an Attorney to complete your immigration paperwork. Signature’s independent Immigration Attorneys have agreed to unbundle their services so that you can easily access reliable and affordable immigration legal services tailored to your case.
Signature Immigration Forms, Inc. (“Signature”) provides U.S. Immigration Government Form Preparation Services. We are backed by experienced Immigration Professionals with the knowledge and understanding of recent immigration policy changes; and with the support of our Software Engineers, we have developed efficient wizards and other tools to make the complex task of filling out your immigration forms much easier.
Signature’s approach involves technology and innovation aimed to compete with traditional methods in the delivery of immigration services to the immigrant community.
USCIS has unfavorable policies, such as rejecting certain applications and petitions for trivial omissions and denying some applications or petitions without first giving Applicants the opportunity to provide additional evidence or information.
Signature’s goal is to make it easier for you to submit your case to USCIS and help you avoid making small errors or omissions that could result in the rejection, denial, and/or delay of your case.
We know that every case is different, and we have the expertise and dedication necessary to serve you best.
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