Homeland Security to take immigration filings online

Homeland Security to take immigration filings online

Beginning May 29, the Homeland Security Department will accept some immigration filings online.

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services will let the public electronically submit Form 1-765 for employment authorization and Form I-90 for green-card replacement.

The two forms represent about 30 percent of all the applications for immigration benefits that BCIS, part of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, receives each year.

The bureau in the fall plans to extend online filing to six more forms.

The filing system will confirm an applicant’s identity early in the process. The bureau will collect a photograph, signature and fingerprint for each person who uses the system. Applicants will receive high-quality immigration documents with security features produced from the bureau’s central card production facility, the bureau said last week in a statement announcing the e-filing program.

The system is an extension of a project INS launched last year to let benefit applicants review their case status online. About 30,000 applicants use that service every day, according to bureau statistics.

The bureau’s Web site gets 2.8 million visitors each month and handles 1 million form downloads.

The Federation for Immigration Reform, a Washington organization that advocates strict immigration limits, lauded the effort. “Our position is that INS is finally emerging from the Dark Ages and beginning to use modern technology as an asset for enforcement and for providing services to immigrants,” spokesman David Ray said.

The new system would “free up BCIS resources from providing services and help it focus on enforcement—it really needs to modernize and electronically track as many of these transactions as possible,” Ray said.

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