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Should I File Online or on Paper?

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Is it better to file online or on paper?

Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in Saint Louis, San Diego and Washington DC.

In today's video, we're going to answer the age old question, is it better to file my application online at the USCIS website, or is it better to send it in by Federal Express or US mail with paper forms?

I am of the paper forms camp. I would love it if we could save the trees and not use so much paper. I mean, one of our big expenses around here as an immigration law firm is paper. We use a ton of paper and we send a lot of paper and we use Federal Express a lot, so it would be in my economic best interests as a law firm owner, to try and file every application that we can electronically.

But, the fact of the matter is, we believe that our clients are better served filing it on paper. Why is that? Well, when you scan in everything that gets sent to USCIS and you have a complete copy of everything that you sent to them, then you have proof if something comes up later on. With the online system being as buggy as it is, as defective as it is, it crashes. All of these reasons are ways that your file could get corrupted or screwed up.

Now, of course, USCIS can screw it up on the backend. We had a case the other day where we had sent it all in on paper. They input that data into their system and then it's done electronically but sometimes that doesn't work either. But long and the short of it is, you're going to be much better if you can prove what was submitted.

If there ever comes up a dispute and you filed it electronically, how are you going to defend yourself if you don't have a copy of what was sent? The USCIS website is notoriously glitchy and the other day I was trying to file a form with the Department of Labor and it took me four days to get them to accept it. I had updated it. I was ready to upload it and it kept crashing and it kept saying, this system works better on Chrome. But in fact, I was able to upload it using Safari, so that was sort of crazy.

So, I don't trust the government. I don't trust their forms. I don't trust their IT. I will say that the USCIS websites are better than the ICE websites that we use in deportation cases, but long the shorter it is, I think you're going to be much better off if you have a complete paper copy of everything that you submit. Don't file electronically unless you absolutely have to.

So I hope that answers that question. If you have any other questions about that, give us a call (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info at Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home.

If you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and subscribe to our YouTube channel and don't forget on most Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually at noon Central, you'll find me in our Facebook group and on our YouTube channel, answering as many of your questions, usually from noon to one every Tuesday and Thursday Central Time. Thanks a lot and we'll see you next.

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