USCIS nearing completion of new online US visa application system

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced they are in the post-development testing phase of a new online application system that will eventually change the paper-based agency into an electronic, online organization.

The new Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) will reduce the US immigration department's reliance on paper and make it easier to access information for benefit requests. The tool is designed to digitize the current paper documentation review by allowing US visa applicants to submit and track their applications online.

"This is an unprecedented step for the world's largest and most complex immigration system," said the USCIS . "Past efforts to transform our agency have not reached the point where we are today: the testing phase of a system that has been developed."

There will be multiple releases of the ELIS system with each release covering different US immigration benefits or adding enhanced functionality.

The first release will cover one benefit type - the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status - which applies to B-1, B-2, F, J, and M visas. The release will provide the necessary groundwork to enable the creation of further releases of the system and will include e-filing and an online payment system.

USCIS noted that the post-development testing phase was currently happening but it "is time consuming and challenging, as is characteristic of projects of this scale, complexity, and ambition".

The US immigration department planned to roll-out the first release of the $1.7 billion online system this month, but testing was not completed in time. USCIS will release the new time frame for the next releases of the system in a few weeks once they complete testing.

The ELIS is projected to be fully implemented sometime in 2013-2014. The future phases will support forms for remaining Non-Immigrant Benefits, Immigrant Benefits, Humanitarian Benefits, and Citizenship Benefits.

If you would like to apply for a US visa, can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with over twenty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.