Listening Session with the Office of Intake and Document Production Lockbox Processing
Listening Session with the Office of Intake and Document Production
What is a Lockbox?
Having three facilities allows for continued operation should one facility be temporarily disabled. Each facility has the capacity to handle half of the highest planned daily volume from one other facility. There is also a data entry only facility in South Burlington, VT.
Why did USCIS Move to a Lockbox Operation?
Kathleen Stanley, Chief of the Office of Intake and Document Production, also commented on the recent frontlog for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) and the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130). USCIS was experiencing a short delay with the intake and receipting of these two application types. The Form I-821 frontlog was resolved prior to the end of the re-registration period for El Salvador and the Form I-130 frontlog shortly thereafter. USCIS is also looking at how it can be more flexible with surges and how to avoid frontlog situations. USCIS noted that the transition to Lockbox processing has been challenging, but through stakeholder feedback a number of issues have been identified and resolved or are on track to being resolved. USCIS discussed a number of these challenges, listened to feedback, and addressed questions raised by stakeholders throughout the remainder of the session.
Concerns Raised by Stakeholders
For the Form I-485 applications that appeared to be rejected for a missing A-Number, USCIS informed stakeholders that the application was probably rejected for other reasons that are stated later in the notice and as a result no A-Number was assigned. The system is incorrectly picking up that the A-Number is also missing and putting this on the notice. USCIS understands this is confusing and is working with the Lockbox provider to remove this from the rejection notice. USCIS was aware of a number of the other issues and is working to resolve them as well.
One concern raised during the session was that applicants who file an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) because their permanent resident card contained an error are being rejected because the applicant does not submit the original card. Stakeholders noted, however, that their card was retained by USCIS when they previously filed their Form I-90 and it was rejected, and therefore the applicant has no proof of the error. USCIS is currently researching this and will put out a USCIS Update and/or address it in upcoming Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Stakeholders also discussed applications submitted that may be somewhat less common, such as Forms I-485 based upon the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), 245(i) and Section 13, as well as an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) based upon Section 319(b), where they have difficulty getting the application accepted at the Lockbox. USCIS is working to make the automated rules more flexible, including ways to address the issues identified above, and will put out a USCIS Update and/or address this in upcoming FAQs once something is in place.
Stakeholders indicated that they often highlight forms or include bright colored paper to bring something to the attention of USCIS. However, the scanners used at intake cannot detect highlighted materials and may cause a black block to appear in the scanned image. USCIS does not encourage highlighting forms and is brainstorming other ways to flag particular items. For now, stakeholders can continue to put “attention supervisor” on packages when they are being resubmitted because of a previously rejected application or petition.
Stakeholders were also particularly concerned with the timeframe for when the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) would move to the Lockbox for intake. USCIS noted that only the Petition for Alien Fiancé (Form I-129F) is taken in through a Lockbox facility. Currently, there is no plan to move Form I-129 to the Lockbox for intake. Please refer to the Form I-129 Instructions for details on where to file a Form I-129.
Scanning, Storing, and Sending for Processing
E-Filing / E-Notification
Clarification was provided for stakeholders who e-file a Form I-140 and then subsequently file the Form I-485. Stakeholders should send the Form I-485 with evidence of the Form I-140 e-filing to the Lockbox.
If a Form I-140 with a premium processing request is filed concurrently with a Form I-485, it should be filed with the Service Center. All premium processing and accompanying applications received at the Lockbox will be returned to the applicants.
When asked if USCIS could email Form I-797 receipt notices, stakeholders were advised that because it contains personally identifiable information and USCIS does not have a secure network to send it over, the notices cannot be emailed at this time.
There was a stakeholder concern that applicants who submitted the G-1145 to receive a text or email when their application had been accepted by USCIS are not receiving the notification. Stakeholders were asked to email an example of this to email@example.com.
Stakeholders noted that they were formerly able to expedite a biometric appointment when applying for a reentry permit and were wondering if there was still a mechanism for them to do this. The current process USCIS has for this is to ask applicants to write “EXPEDITE” on the top of the application form and on the envelope. These are then sent to the Nebraska Service Center in a colored folder to signal that they be looked at immediately. It is important for applicants to remember, however, that at a minimum, this requires seven to nine days due to mail.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/12/2010