Online USCIS Application Filing
Dev Banad Viswanath, Esq.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have many applications available for online filing. In this age of social distancing and remote working, online filing of applications and petitions can be particularly useful and gives notification of submissions much quicker because the receipt notices are provided as soon as the matter is submitted. The filing fee for filing online is the same as it would be if an applicant mailed in their petition but USCIS receives the petition much faster and there is no need to pay for postage.
The first step is to create an account through the USCIS website and then select “File a Form.” To create an online account an applicant will need an email address and password. If you have an attorney, that office can help walk you through registration. Please note, the I-539 form for extensions or changes of status cannot be filed online by an attorney, it can only be filed by an individual. For clients that we are filing the I -539 form for, we will be mailing in that application. The information required on the online applications are the same as the paper applications. With each application an applicant is usually required to submit evidence in support of that application.
An applicant does not have to provide the originals of any documents unless specifically requested which means they can scan or take pictures of each document and upload it. Each image must be clear, and any the text must be readable. Any document that is in a foreign language must also have an English translation uploaded with it. When uploading documents an applicant must make sure that files are not larger than in size, and must be in one of the following formats: PDF, JPG, JPEG, TIF or TIFF. This 6MB may require the applicant to divide files into parts and upload each part individually.
Once an applicant completes an application they must electronically sign (e-sign) the application and if they would like to, they can print out a copy for their records. An application fee is required with most applications and can be paid online with either a credit or debit card or checking account. Once the payment is competed the applicant will receive a receipt notice which includes their receipt number. Online filing allows an applicant to receive their receipt number right away instead of waiting for it to come in the mail as with mailing in applications.
USCIS allows an applicant to easily keep track of multiple applications by their designated receipt number under the “Documents” tab in their online account home page. If an applicant is required to complete biometrics, details on the biometric appointment can be found on their USCIS account. If an applicant receives a request for evidence for their application, USCIS notifies them via email, text message, or mail. The request for evidence notice can be viewed through the “documents” tab on an applicant’s USCIS account. An applicant is notified of all notices and appointments much faster online as opposed to waiting for notices to come in the mail.
Below are a few applications that can be filled online:
· AR-11 | Alien’s Change of Address Card
· G-639 | Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request
· I-90 | Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
· I-130 | Petition for Alien Relative
· I-539 | Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
· N-400 | Application for Naturalization
· N-336 | Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA)
· N-565 | Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document
· N-600 | Application for Certificate of Citizenship
· N-600K | Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322
However, the following forms can not be filled online if the applicant is filling for the following reasons:
· N-400 | If filing as a member of the U.S. armed forces or filing from outside the U.S.
· N-336 | If filing as a member of the U.S. armed forces
When filing an application online or by mail, natural catastrophes and/or extreme situations can affect the processing of an applicant’s USCIS application, petition, or immigrant request. The current coronavirus pandemic is causing an increased amount of delays for many petitions and immigrant requests. If you or a loved one have any questions on online filing for US immigration contact an experienced immigration attorney.