Can I Use Electronic Documents to Enter the United States?

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, more and more stores and other establishments allow the use of electronic devices for coupons, rewards, and payment. Many people wonder, can I use electronic documents to enter the United States? The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), does not currently allow the use of electronic documents. However, they do provide electronic forms and petitions.

Paperless Petitions and Forms Online

The USCIS has moved to a paperless system for most submissions. This means that you can fill out and submit your immigration petition or visa applications online. These forms can still be submitted through the mail.  It is best to check the instructions for each specific petition to find out the acceptable submission methods. Filing a paperless petition does not exempt you from providing the requested backup information.

Providing the Necessary Supporting Documentation

The use of online forms requires submission of all appropriate supporting documentation. Many times this information can also be provided online. If allowed, you are able to scan your required documents and attach them to your application electronically according to the instructions listed on the USCIS website.

Immigrants Must Carry Their Required Documents

Immigrants, including green card holders, are legally required to carry their visa or green card with them at all times. The USCIS does not currently support electronic documentation for immigrants. Therefore, people must keep their visa document for use as identification and proof of their legal status in the United States. Those who fail to properly supply their visa document could face penalties.

Avoid Problems by Carrying Visa Documents

Although most police departments will not stop you simply to request to view your visa, it may become necessary as part of another situation. For example, if you are involved in any type of problem that becomes a police matter, you may be asked to provide your green card or documents as part of the standard practice of law enforcement officers. If you are unable to immediately provide proof of your legal status you could be detained.

Seek Assistance from an Immigration Attorney

The immigration process can be difficult and confusing. Whether you are applying for your first visa or wish to renew or change your visa status, you can benefit from the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Your lawyer will answer your questions and help you apply for the type of visa that best fits your needs. Call the immigration attorneys at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Electronic Documents to Enter the United States, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.