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USCIS Launches Transformation Pilot Program
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A first of its kind pilot program to test the web-based information management tool known as the Secure Information Management Service (SIMS) was launched by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS deployed SIMS on July 5, 2007, to process inter-country adoption applications domestically in Memphis, Tennessee and Newark, New Jersey, and internationally in Frankfurt, Germany; Bangkok, Thailand; and Mexico City, Mexico.

According to USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez, the pilot program is part of the agency’s ongoing effort to update and modernize its business and management systems for the 21st century. SIMS enables USCIS employees to move from a paper-based business model to an electronic-based model. In his words, “The cumulative results of SIMS, the inter-country adoption pilot, and the overall USCIS transformation effort will change the way we do business and will streamline outdated processes.” He also added, “These improvements will not only mean better service for our customers, but will also enable us to enhance security, prevent fraud, and equip us with the means for better interaction with other state and federal agencies.”

It must be noted that Inter-country adoptions filing requirements and processing dates will remain the same during the initial phase of the pilot program. Applicants will continue to submit Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition), Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative), and Form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship). The USCIS will then create individual customer accounts in the SIMS database and adjudicate the applications.

During the pilot period, USCIS will work with its employees, customers, and adoption agencies to monitor, identify and address any specific challenges or issues that may arise throughout the pilot period. Ultimately, USCIS plans to expand the SIMS business model nationwide to include all agency petitions and applications, a change that will allow USCIS to more efficiently process its workload and improve customer service in the future.

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