The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the first in a series of regulations intended to promote the migration of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) benefit filings from a paper-based environment to an electronic one on August 29, 2011. The regulation is an important step toward modernizing how USCIS handles the more than 6 million benefit applications submitted annually.
Over the next several years, USCIS will roll out a secure, customer-friendly online account system that will enable and encourage customers to submit benefit requests and supporting documents electronically. This new Web-based system will greatly simplify the process of applying for immigration benefits. It will assign new customers a unique account which will enable them to access case status information, respond to USCIS requests for additional information, update certain personal information, and receive timely decisions and other communications from USCIS.
The new regulation revises more than 50 parts of DHS regulations contained in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The regulation eliminates references to outdated USCIS benefit request forms and descriptions of paper-based procedures. In addition, the regulation removes numerous obsolete provisions of the regulations.
The public is invited to comment on this regulation and offer suggestions on further improvements. Comments must be received by Oct. 28, 2011. The new regulation will become effective on Nov. 28, 2011.