Silicon Valley pushes to digitize immigration forms

Immigration reform has largely come to a standstill on Capitol Hill, much to the distress of those seeking American citizenship. But leaders in Silicon Valley are finding new ways to stimulate debate surrounding the subject and revolutionize the process for applying for a green card or visa.

According to The Hill, San Francisco-based FileRight has been meeting with officials from the Obama administration about ways to make immigration forms easier to fill out. This would involve developing a new online system and moving away from paper-based application processes. The new applications would be similar to guided tax return programs that take you through each step and simplify the language. That could be essential for many immigrants who don’t speak English as their native language but want to apply for citizenship online.

The development of such a system would be a drastic change to the way people fill out their immigration forms. Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services lets people apply online, but most of the filing is still done through a paper system. With 11 million immigration forms and applications every year – a number expected to continue to increase exponentially – that’s a lot of paperwork to process by hand.

The Silicon Valley company is still in talks with the government concerning the system, but as The Hill reports, USCIS doesn’t intend on taking things further at this very moment. Before the government can consider an overhaul of its online system, it must tie up other loose ends.

“[We must] concentrate on the core system to ensure it supports our operations and electronic filing,” USCIS told the source. “There are no plans at this time to accept submissions from third-party systems.”

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