Secure Mail Initiative for Documents

In immigration news, the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has finished rolling out its Secure Mail Initiative (SMI) as of May 2011 and that program is now fully implemented. The program allows for better and faster delivery of immigration documents by using the USPS (U.S. Postal Service) Priority Mail service, which also features Delivery Confirmation.

The Secure Mail Initiative involves joint cooperation between the USPS and the USCIS to allow the USCIS to deliver documents more quickly and more securely. The new program ensures that fewer immigration forms will be delayed or “lost in the mail”, immigration news that is sure to be great news for many applicants and petitioners. For the many petitioners and applicants now eagerly awaiting employment authorization, travel documents, green cards, and other immigration forms, the SMI program will allow them to track their documents and get delivery status updates of these documents. Once applicants get a notice of approval, they can simply contact the USCIS at 800-375-5283 to get a tracking number to track the documents headed their way. This tracking feature will be especially handy if anything is delayed or goes wrong Ú with the tracking number, USCIS applicants will see the issue at once and will be able to contact the USCIS or the postal service for help.

The USCIS, on their part, will be able to confirm that the documents were delivered to the right address a very important step for sensitive documents (such as travel documents or work authorization documents) which are subject to abuse. If a delivery is delayed or sent to the wrong address, it will be easier for USCIS to confirm the problem and take steps to fix it with the new SMI program, a move that the USCIS believes will help prevent identity theft.

The SMI program will also ensure that immigrants can get their documentation earlier Ú on average, about two to four business days sooner than with the traditional first-class mail the USCIS used prior to this new program. This can be especially important for applicants waiting for employment authorization, travel documents or other important documentation from the USCIS. The faster service can mean that applicants get their immigration authorization sooner, which can mean that they can immigrate, work, or travel that much sooner.

The SMI program was proposed using the final fee schedule in 2007. A pilot program for SMI was launched in 2008 and received good results.