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Submitting immigration forms online is fraught with negative consequences: what can go wrong

Why online filing with USCIS is not always the best option, reports CitizenPath.

Photo: Shutterstock

Now that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers online filing for many immigration forms, you might be wondering who is still filing in the mail.

Electronic filing is not always more efficient.

When you choose to register online with USCIS, there are some important points to consider.

The USCIS electronic file system has faced many failures since its inception.

It continues to evolve and improve as a way to store forms.

But in its current state, there are some aspects that will never be as effective as storing documents on paper.

This is why USCIS online registration can be inferior to traditional paper documents.


One of the most compelling reasons candidates use USCIS online registrations is speed.

When you fill out the form and click Submit, USCIS receives your application or petition.
Submission of documents takes place on the same day.

This can be shortsighted. Using an electronic file to save a few days does not take into account the whole process.

Most immigration forms take several months to get approved. Fast processing throughout the entire process should be the most important thing for applicants.

If you are interested in getting your application or petition approved quickly, you should focus on filing a well-prepared application or petition package.

You should consider spending more time submitting so you can improve handling.

This is the difference between saving a couple of days for online storage and saving several weeks for smooth processing.

There are some situations where USCIS online registration can take precedence.

For example, a person who quickly needs notification that your application is being processed in order to renew a green card may need to fill out an I-90 form online.

It is likely that the applicant will receive the I-797C faster.

However, as forms get longer and more complex, there is a tendency to overlook details or inadvertently give incorrect answers. It is useful to be able to check the printed copy before submission.

List of forms that can be filled out online:

Record keeping

USCIS is notorious for losing applicant documents.

The electronic file should make document management more reliable, but it's not perfect.

There is still a human element in USCIS, and mistakes can happen.

When you submit the form via an electronic USCIS file, it is saved electronically.

You trust USCIS to keep your application or petition as you submitted it.

If they lose something, you have no backup. Basically, you gave them the original. When you use a paper form, you have a physical record of your application or petition.

On the subject: Five reasons why a permanent resident of the United States may lose a green card

You may have successfully submitted your document by email.

But what if the USCIS officer is oblivious to the document? You will need a printed copy at the interview to correct this oversight.

When you attend your interview, it is best to take a copy of the application or petition you submitted, as well as any supporting documentation.

USCIS usually does not allow a computer or tablet to be interviewed.

Thus, you will still need to print the documents.

The USCIS electronic file printout is still a record of everything the agency claims you submitted.

These are not original documents as you prepared them.

People usually make minor mistakes and typos when putting together online forms.

Protect myself

USCIS is not your advocate. They don't care about your best interests.
While USCIS may have good intentions, this does not always mean that their advice is helpful to you.

USCIS is not going to protect you from yourself.

If you make mistakes in your application, USCIS has no incentive to warn you and advise you on how to fix the problem.

If you are doing pointless work by providing unnecessary information, USCIS will not stop you.

In fact, every day we see situations where applicants misinterpret USCIS instructions for forms.

Some mistakes can lead to serious immigration problems.

Something else you should know

Government electronic file services are not available for all forms. In fact, USCIS may require you to submit a paper version of the online form in certain situations.

Make sure you understand the situation.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

For example, you cannot submit an online application to USCIS if you are also requesting a fee waiver.

You can add a paper statement or petition to your online account after you submit your application. Thus, you will be able to see the status of your business on the Internet.

Even if you are filing on paper, you can add paper cases to your USCIS online account.

As a candidate, click on "My Account" and then "Add Paperwork" from the drop-down menu. Enter the receipt number and you can see the status and history of your case.

If you did not file your case online, but you have a receipt number starting with “IOE” and the Internet access code that you received in the USCIS Account Access Notice, you can add the case to your account and be able to see case status and history, send secure messages, view notifications, upload additional evidence, and respond to requests for evidence.

Online filing with USCIS and paper submission

Government electronic filing services offer some conveniences, but there is a reason many legal bureaus continue to file applications and petitions on paper.

The USCIS online filing system does not offer some of the important benefits of paper filing.

Successful completion of the form must be a priority for each applicant. Electronic filing has no advantage if it results in a quick failure.

Take the time to prepare an accurate statement and provide extensive supporting documentation.

Seek competent help if necessary.

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