USCIS “Transformation” Delay

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) appears to be encountering difficulties in their efforts to transition from paper-based operations to online systems. Therefore the December 2011 targeted timeframe for the first of the planned, phased-in releases will not be met. For the time being, all immigration filings continue to be paper based, under existing procedures.

Background: Transformation Initiative

MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers were introduced to the USCIS Transformation Initiative in our NewsBrief, USCIS Transformation Initiative for Online Electronic Filings (11.Mar.2011). This initiative is a large-scale overhaul of the USCIS case filing and processing systems, moving from a paper- based system to an electronic system. The USCIS missed the goal for rollout of the first phase, which is the establishment of customer accounts for the commonly-used application to change or extend status (I-539). Filings, therefore, continue to be paper based until further notice.

Testing of New System Continues

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas reported in a blog posting that the first release of the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) is in need of further post-development testing. The first release contains the foundation for the remaining releases.

Possibly to avoid raising expectations and prove unable to meet another deadline, the USCIS has not issued a revised timeframe for the first release. They anticipate providing a revised timeframe within a few weeks, once further testing is completed.


The announcement of this delayed transition from paper to online filing is not surprising, given the enormity and complexity of the task, as well as various reports regarding ongoing difficulties. We certainly appreciate Director Mayorkas’s thoroughness in completing sufficient testing in order to deliver a properly functioning system. MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers will be updated on the progress of this USCIS system upgrade.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.