In conjunction with the redesign of the legacy e-filing system and transition to ELIS, USCIS has changed the process for paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee online. The revised payment process aims to “reduce the amount of information an immigrant must provide to USCIS.” In addition, anyone, including a family member, friend, employer, attorney, or accredited representative can pay the fee on behalf of an immigrant. All that is needed is the immigrant’s Alien Registration Number (A-Number) and DOS Case ID.

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Written by Susan Cohen

In recent days, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has published several proposed rules in the Federal Register, which, if adopted, will bring welcome and much needed regulatory changes.

Authorizing  Employment Authorization for Spouses of Certain H-1B Workers

On May 12, 2014 DHS published a proposed rule to allow the spouses of certain H-1B temporary workers the right to work in the United States.  Continue Reading USCIS Regulations Slowly Catching up/Catching on to Current Immigration Realities

On May 22, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the launch of an electronic immigration benefits system, USCIS ELIS. This marks the first phase of the agency’s transition from paper-based filings to a more modern online process for filing and adjudicating applications for immigration benefits. 

Electronic filings are not entirely new for USCIS. In 2005, USCIS began accepting e-Filing applications for limited immigration benefits including replacement of lost or stolen green cards, immigrant visa petitions, employment authorization documents and requests for premium processing. Under the current e-Filing system, applicants are required to mail USCIS supporting documentation to complete an application. USCIS ELIS is more convenient: applicants may upload supporting documentation for an application through a secure web site. This change should lead to faster processing times.

The scope of applications eligible for filing under USCIS ELIS is currently limited to requests for a change or extension of status (Form I-539) for qualified students, temporary visitors traveling for business or pleasure, and individuals receiving medical treatment. Over time, USCIS ELIS will include more applications. Instructions on registering for USCIS ELIS are at