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Thursday, May 27, 2004

AP Wire | 05/27/2004 | Immigration agency expands electronic filing

AP Wire | 05/27/2004 | Immigration agency expands electronic filing

Immigration agency expands electronic filing

Associated Press


WASHINGTON - Employers wanting to hire immigrants can file applications for proper documents electronically, now that Citizenship and Immigration Services has expanded its electronic filing program.

Six more immigration benefits forms can be filed through the Internet, raising the total to eight. The forms account for more than half of the applications submitted to the agency each year.

Eduardo Aguirre, Citizenship and Immigration Services director, said in a statement the electronic filing will improve processing times and accuracy.

The newest applications that can be filed electronically are those for employers wanting to hire a temporary worker, employers sponsoring workers for permanent residence, immigrants wanting to travel outside the country while their application for permanent residence is pending, immigrants seeking temporary protected status which provides short-term legal status and applicants seeking expedited processing of their paperwork.

Last year, the agency accepted electronically filed applications for replacing so-called green cards, which indicate permanent residency and for obtaining work permits.

Between May 29, 2003, and Tuesday, 119,609 applications had been submitted through the electronic filing system, agency spokesman Dan Kane said. That compares to millions of benefits applications submitted to the agency each year.

The agency has at least 6 million applications pending, about 3 million of which are considered caught in a backlog that has been a persistent problem for years for the agency and its predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Users of the electronic filing system also will be able to create "accounts" so they can complete an application over time if needed and to pay application fees online.

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