Integrity Legal

2nd August 2009

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service is preparing the unveiling of a newly designed webpage to replace the one currently found at www.USCIS.gov. United States President Barack Obama was quoted as saying

“In the next 90 days, USCIS will launch a vastly improved Web site that will, for the first time ever, allow applicants to get updates on their status of their applications via e-mail and text message and online.”

Apparently the new site will allow for case status updates to be sent to a person’s cell phone which would truly provide up-to-the-minute information. According to the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association website this revamp of the USCIS website is the result of culling information from in-depth focus groups tasked with reviewing the current USCIS website. Those participating in the focus groups spanned the spectrum from those with national and local cases pending to those visiting the United States.

At present, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service website provides many features for those with cases pending and for those seeking information regarding Immigration to the United States. USCIS also offers e-filing of Immigration petitions for certain categories. At the current time, USCIS does not allow e-filing for most US Family Visa cases. Therefore, one cannot file for a K-1 visa, K-3 Visa, or CR-1 visa through the internet. The reason for the restriction of family visa submissions is likely due to the fact that many United States Family based petitions require proof of an existing bona fide relationship. Therefore, the documentation proving the bona fides of a relationship can be quite extensive and cannot easily be filed online.

It should always be borne in mind that USCIS is generally only phase one of the K1 visa process or the K3 visa process from Thailand. After USCIS adjudicates a petition they will send it on to the National Visa Center (NVC), NVC will determine which diplomatic post has jurisdiction over adjudicating the application (The US Embassy Thailand has jurisdiction over cases involving Thai nationals). The diplomatic post will conduct an visa interview and decide whether to approve the petition.

Of all the phases of the US Immigration process, generally the USCIS adjudication phase takes the longest because there is often a backlog of pending cases built up at the Service Center or lock box. Therefore, any improvements that USCIS can make in order to facilitate faster visa processing is always welcome.

(This is not legal advice. No Client-Lawyer relationship is formed from reading this posting.)


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