USCIS ELIS – Pay your Immigration Fees & Manage your Account Online

Since the Obama administration came to power in 2009 there has been a definitive shift towards modernizing the mechanics of the US Immigration system albeit long overdue and very stage based. This is in stark contrast to the actual US Immigration laws itself which are still very much in the dark ages.

Prior to September 11, 2001, the US Immigration mechanics while still arcane were at least somewhat practical and logical albeit with a few holes. Immigrants who wanted to do things like Visa Renewals, US Consular Interviews, Green Card Processing, etc. could have done things at a minimum in a fairly practical way and certainly far more timely way that exists today. After that fateful day, all aspects of the US Immigration system returned to the dark ages and became hostile and illogical.

As the Internet age was taking hold in the first decade of the 2000s and information systems became the norm instead of a fantasy, the US Immigration system was in a pattern of 10 years plus waits for processing, endless duplicate and redundant forms which were all paper based, manual checks on individuals, disconnected and old fashioned payment systems and the list goes on.

So more recently from 2012 into 2013 we now have another rollout of the United States Custom & Immigration Service (USCIS) new Immigrant self management system called simply ELIS (Electronic Immigration System).

Currently now it is for a select portion of people in the US Immigration system being those eligible and applying for Green Cards from outside the US, non immigrant visa holders in B-1, B-2, M-1, M-2 F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 status who want to extend or change their stay depending on the individual visa and immigrant eligibility. Essentially this is filing form Immigration form I-539 online via ELIS.

So it is very limited in its scope but the reality is this should be the standard for managing USCIS cases and Immigration processing across most of the system for all stakeholders being the Immigration individuals, their employers and families and where necessary (but hopefully less of), immigration lawyers.

There is still some limitations as outlined in the ELIS FAQs, such as the Internet browsers that can be used as well edge cases where they may be fee waivers. However in the true traditions of a good tech company they are piloting a technology which then should be rolled out system wide with most, if not all, bugs fixed.

CJ

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