Better to File I-130 Online or on Paper?

Is it better to file your I-130 online or by paper? We’re in an interesting time in USCIS history where they are trying to roll out new technologically advanced ways of working with applications which is great and we definitely support those efforts.

But in a way, it’s still under beta-testing. It doesn’t do all of the applications and we run into glitches with the online system. That being said, as a law firm, we always want to know what option gives our clients the best advantage.

There was a time when it looked like the online was going to be faster and they had proposed making it ten dollars cheaper to encourage people to be the first guinea pigs on that system. We periodically test both methods so that we can always know which are currently the best methods.

But what we’ve seen so far is you’re fine to file either way right now. This is really up to you. From our perspective, we have been periodically testing the online I-130 and we do not yet see an advantage to the online filing versus the paper.

Sometimes, when you’re working on an online I-130, you’ll run into glitches where the system can be slow. The data entry takes a lot longer on the online system. There’s a lot more repetition and there aren’t tools that you can use to fill it faster which you would be able to do with the paper form.

And sometimes, the system will erase your stuff or it’ll disappear for a while. In other instances, it works great.

It’s really up to you. Especially if you’re doing your own case and you’re only doing one. We’ve heard officers say however, that some of the online filed forms, the system that the information goes into, then gets transferred over to their system and there seem to be glitches in that system too.

Just like any computer system, it’s not always perfect. We’ve had an experience where the client seems to have had glitches that were introduced by the online filing. That can be remedied but in general, we’re still preferring paper. Because right now, it’s still in beta mode.

The advantage of filing online is that you do get a receipt notice right away which gives some people a definite feeling of security. One of the misconceptions is people say if you file online, you get in line faster. But for most people, that’s only going to be a matter of hours or days because even though the paper receipt notice is a little bit more delayed, they’re still going to backdate it to the date that they received it.

If you file it today and you send it overnight, tomorrow is the date that shows up on your receipt. Even though they don’t get the receipt tomorrow, they will down the line. You can also file the form G1145 just so that you get electronic notifications a little bit sooner than paper notifications.

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