Collaboration Session #2 - External Data Interface Standards (EDIS)
USCIS hosted the second of a series of scheduled collaboration sessions on January 20, 2010 to further discuss the development of the External Data Interface Standards (EDIS). EDIS includes the standards required to transfer benefit data from a third party system to the USCIS system. Posted below is a summary of this event and the questions asked by stakeholder participants.
Questions and Answers
Throughout the agenda, attendees participated in an open question and answer session with USCIS representatives. Below is a summary of the Q&A:
Q: When you mention payment information, are you talking about credit card information or waiting for a check to be sent in separately?
Stakeholder Comment: We would like more information about the security around passing payment information.
Post Event USCIS Response: We will provide more information for further discussion over the next several collaboration sessions.
Q: Our clients usually pay by check. Are you saying that we would need to send an electronic payment first in order to submit the application?
Q: Have you thought about setting up and offering an attorney payment account, like Pay Pal through USCIS? It would be like a debit account where the attorney would keep the account balance up and USCIS would debit from it for the transactions.
Post Event USCIS Response: Although the suggestion is conceptually appealing, the development and maintenance of such an initiative may not be feasible. It is unlikely USCIS will pursue this initiative.
Q: In the second instance where a rejection response may occur, why would you not send the response immediately versus sending by snail mail?
Stakeholder Comment: Yes, as a practitioner, we will want to check status daily so it would be nice to get a response quicker, like the next day.
Q: On the forms list that you showed, there were a number of those forms that require supporting documents. Those documents have to go along with the application. Will you be supplying a way to submit those electronically and if so will you require them to be sent electronically or can we do it later?
Q: Are the technical specifications regarding documents that may be electronically transmitted included in EDIS?
Q: If one person sends in two applications for two separate benefit requests, how would that be handled?
Stakeholder Question: That is not what I’m asking. What if a person sends in an application, they would have an account, right? Then the same person wants to submit another application, what happens then?
Q: What happens to current profiles already established for the eFiling system?
Q: I think this sounds easy to reference. We give our clients a unique number and USCIS will assign a unique number and then we can just link them together. It doesn’t matter how many applications or filers there are.
Q: I think as for uploading evidence, it seems it should be mandatory so people don’t take advantage of the system. Currently, USCIS requires the evidence to all be there to submit the case.
Stakeholder Comment: I just think that is a big security hole.
Follow Up Response: Let me just caveat that I am not an USCIS employee so the USCIS folks around the room with adjudication experience, please feel free to chime in. However, the current practice is that some benefit requests are accepted even if all the evidence is not present.
Stakeholder Comment: Then you mean you will have a holding bin which requires hard drive space, and then the benefit request just sits there until you receive all the evidence and the request is then pushed out for further processing? If that is the case, when do you take the fee?
Follow Up Response: We’d take the fee at the intake process.
Stakeholder Comment: Right. That is why you all should have all the information up front.
Follow Up Response: Thank you for your comment.
Q: Will be accepting documents as PDFs or what format would you accept?
Q: How will you handle signatures?
Post Event USCIS Response: USCIS will continue internal discussions on this issue and more details will be provided at subsequent collaboration sessions.
Q: If a filer submits the application by paper first, would the filer be able to then utilize the system to system interface later? For Status?
Q: What about the organization or representative who submits the information?
Q: For a person who moves from company A to company B, would the person get two separate IDs or use same one?
Q: I would think signatures would be similar to how eVerify does it and eVerify has an organizational level type of client.
Q: What is the IEPD training?
Q: Would this work with submitting data with Department of Labor? Are you considering what Labor is offering?
External Data Interface Standards (EDIS) are the set of technical standards required to successfully transfer benefit request data from a third party system to USCIS. In addition to the web-based portal, USCIS plans to implement a new method that transfers benefit requests data directly through a system-to-system interface. This is part of the Agency’s broader Transformation effort, which will ultimately create a more transparent, efficient and customer focused organization.
USCIS will host monthly EDIS Exchange collaboration sessions. The objective of these monthly meetings is to engage and collect input from EDIS stakeholders throughout the development of these technical requirements. Each monthly meeting will focus on a small set of technical and programmatic topics in which USCIS needs stakeholder input, ranging from business rules, security and detailed data requirements to a thorough review of the finished product, formatted as a NIEM.gov compliant “Interface Exchange Package Document” (IEPD). The initial EDIS Exchange, held in November 2009, introduced the initiative and provided information on what is planned. For background information on EDIS and previous meeting notes, please visit USCIS Public Engagement National Events.
Future monthly EDIS Exchanges are scheduled to occur on the following dates in Washington, D.C., beginning at 2pm EST:
These dates are subject to change. Additional details for each meeting, including topics to be discussed, will be published monthly.
If you have specific questions regarding EDIS, please send them to Transform.EDIS@DHS.gov.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/09/2011