On October 30, 2019, USCIS released the e-filing option to the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. This filing update is one of many updates that occurred in 2019. However, this option to file online will ideally benefit members of the armed forces stationed abroad, government workers stationed abroad, and US Citizens in general that reside abroad. This update is extremely beneficial. Why?
First, paper filings are inherently inefficient, expensive to mail, and could cause delays if the form(s) in the Petition Packet were expired or outdated. In comparison, an electronic form is always up-to-date.
Second, in 2019, USCIS announced the closing of all of its international offices. USCIS International Offices were able to receive some of the I-130 filings, while a US Citizen is abroad. Now, regardless of your location in the world, the I-130 Electronic Filing is accessible anywhere the internet may be. So when one door closes, another door opens.
How is this going to affect consular processing and adjustment of status?
For a Consular Family-based or Marriage-based Filing, an Electronic I-130 may be quicker and has an amazing “update tool.” The “update tool” is electronic case monitoring and electronic update notification that can be emailed to the Petitioner or the family. The biggest issue with consular processing is the length of time it takes to process and filers not knowing what is the usual processing time. The efiling clearly shows the estimated processing time and provides comfort in reoccurring updates to the petitioner.
For a Family-based or Marriage-based Adjustment of Status filing, an Electronic I-130 may be beneficial, but at the moment, the I-485 is still paper-based and separating the I-130 from the I-485 may:
- cause delays at USCIS or
- have the I-130 filing approved and sent to the NVC for consular processing, which commonly occurs when the I-130 is separated from the I-485.
It is still too soon to tell if the Electronic I-130 will improve the AOS Filings, but if the I-130 could be digitized, hopefully, the I-485 will receive a similar update in the near future.
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