• Daniel Shaffer, Esq.

USCIS Releases Recommendations for Paper Filings to Avoid Scanning Delays

Don't make a mistake that could delay your application being scanned and received by USCIS. When a paper immigration application is mailed to USCIS, the application is scanned and uploaded to their internal electronic system for officers to review. USCIS scans a massive amount of paper daily and improperly filed applications cause delays in their process. They recently released an alert with recommendations for filing paper applications to avoid unnecessary delays:

  • Do not hole punch, staple, paper clip, binder clip, or otherwise attach documents to one another.

  • Do not include photos or documents smaller than 4x6 inches for evidentiary purposes. Instead, provide photocopies of these items on standard 8 1/2 x 11 copier paper. The only exception is when sending the required passport-style photo with your filing.

  • Do not include anything that contains electronic chips and batteries (such as musical greeting cards) or any non-paper materials such as cassette tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, toys, action figures, or thumb drives. Instead, send pictures/photocopies of these items.

  • Do not submit forms or evidence documents bound with a binding or spiral wire/plastic.

  • Do not submit evidence using photo albums, scrapbooks, binders, or greeting cards. Instead, send photocopies of these items.

  • Do not fold documents.

  • Do not put sticky notes on documents.

  • Do not use insertable tab dividers. Instead, include a detailed cover letter with your application and use standard 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of copier paper as dividers that indicate the start of a new section or piece of evidence in a large bold font centered on the page.

  • Do not print forms on colored paper.

  • Do not submit more than one copy of the same document or evidence unless required by the form instructions or regulations. If you are required to submit a copy of a complete prior application, petition, or request, clearly mark it as a “COPY” at the top of each page to ensure it is processed as intended.

  • Do not send original documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, naturalization certificates, except when:

  • Required by the form instructions for the application, petition, or request you are filing; or

  • USCIS specifically issues a request for you to submit an original document.

Following these instructions will make it easier for USCIS to receive and scan your application, thus avoiding delays and ensuring your application is not rejected by USCIS.


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Disclaimer: This post is attorney advertising. It is meant as general information only, and is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. We suggest you set up a consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes; every case is unique and must be analyzed individually.


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