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25 April 2003

Immigration Services Soon to be Available Online

(Popular applications will be available on the Internet) (630)

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) soon will
allow immigrants to file certain popular application forms over the
Internet for the first time. Beginning May 29, the applications for
green cards and employment authorization can be filed electronically,
according to an April 25 press release from BCIS.


"The introduction of e-filing represents an important stride in our
effort to deliver immigration services in a more efficient and
customer-friendly way while meeting our national security objectives,"
said Tom Ridge, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,
and the parent agency of BCIS. "These two forms are the first of many
immigration applications we plan to make available for online filing
in the near future."

The two forms account for approximately 30 percent of all the
applications processed annually by BCIS, formerly known as the
Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Following is the text of the press release::

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
April 25, 2003 

BCIS TAKES FIRST STEP TO OFFER "ONLINE" FILING

Service Means Increased Security, Efficiency, and Greater Convenience
for Immigration Benefits Seekers

For the first time in history, applicants for immigration benefits
will soon be able to file two key immigration applications using the
Internet. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS)
announced today that beginning May 29 it plans to offer electronic
filing (e-filing) as an option for two of the most commonly submitted
immigration forms - the application used to renew or replace a "green
card" (Form I-90) and the application for Employment Authorization
(Form I-765).

For those who file electronically, BCIS confirms the identity of the
customer early in the application process. BCIS also electronically
collects a photograph, signature, and fingerprint for the individual.
These biometrics are stored and can be used later for verification of
the person's identity. Customers whose applications are approved
receive high quality immigration documents with special security
features produced from BCIS' centralized card production facility.

"The introduction of e-filing represents an important stride in our
effort to deliver immigration services in a more efficient and
customer-friendly way while meeting our national security objectives,"
said Tom Ridge, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
"These two forms are the first of many immigration applications we
plan to make available for online filing in the near future."

Customers who e-file do not have to submit photographs at the time
they file their applications. They will schedule an appointment to
visit an Application Support Center (ASC) at a convenient time for the
electronic collection of a photograph, signature, and fingerprint.
After filing electronically, customers will schedule their appointment
by calling the National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283.

The Employment Authorization and "green card" replacement applications
were selected as the first forms for e-filing because they account for
approximately 30 percent of the applications received annually by the
BCIS. Additionally, these forms are relatively easy to complete and
require very little supporting documentation because these individuals
already have records on file with BCIS. Electronic filing for other
immigration applications will be phased in over the next several
years.

BCIS customers who have e-filed or who have an application pending at
one of BCIS' Service Centers can check the status of their application
on line by visiting www.bcis.gov. The website also provides
information and forms online for users to download free of charge.
Electronic filing is a key facet of BCIS' Immigration Service
Modernization program, a 10-year effort to transform the delivery of
immigration services. The initiative focuses on improvements in a wide
range of areas, including customer service, employee development,
technology and processes, and management infrastructure.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)