Visa experience to be digitized

Green CardRegardless of their opinion on the issue of immigration in general, the great majority of Americans agree that the US visa application process is badly in need of upgrading. A new White House report has now been issued that examines how the system needs to be organized and digitized.

The Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century report emerged after one month’s assessment of the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. It recommends particular steps that need to be taken to bring the antiquated US visa application system into the present day, with recommendations including making the process as simple and understandable as possible, improving the way in which government agencies communicate with one another, and reducing the amount of paperwork.

The US Digital Service (USDS), which is led by Mikey Dickerson, a former engineer for Google, was enlisted by the White House to put the report together. USDS was created last year as a response to the fiasco surrounding HealthCare.gov.

“Currently, the process to apply for a visa is complex, paper-based, and confusing to the user,” Dickerson and Cecilia Munoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council, wrote in a joint blog post.  “Many immigration documents pass through various computer systems and change hands no fewer than six times. Our goal is to modernize this process and deliver a positive experience to our users.”