Tips for Smooth Paper Filings

In the era of increasing digitization, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) emphasizes the importance of specific practices when filing paper documents with a USCIS service center to streamline the scanning and processing procedures. To enhance efficiency and avoid potential delays, it is recommended not to hole punch, staple, paper clip, binder clip, or attach documents together in any way. 

When providing evidentiary photos or documents smaller than 4x6 inches, photocopies are preferable over the originals. However, exceptions apply when a passport photo is explicitly requested with the filing. Additionally, materials containing electronic chips, batteries, or non-paper components like cassette tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, toys, action figures, or thumb drives should not be included in the submission. Instead, photographs or photocopies of these items are acceptable. 

Certain practices, such as submitting bound forms or evidence documents with a binding or spiral wire/plastic, using photo albums, scrapbooks, binders, or greeting cards, folding documents, placing sticky notes, and using insertable tab dividers, should be avoided. Printing forms on colored paper is discouraged to ensure clarity and ease of processing. 

Furthermore, submitting more than one copy of the same document or evidence is generally unnecessary unless explicitly required by the form instructions or regulations. If multiple copies are mandated, clearly marking them as "COPY" on each page ensures proper processing. 

Original documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver's licenses, passports, and naturalization certificates, should generally not be sent unless specified in the form instructions or upon a specific request from USCIS. 

By adhering to these recommendations, filers contribute to the efficiency of USCIS operations in processing applications, petitions, or requests.  

These guidelines are aimed at streamlining the transition to a predominantly electronic environment while ensuring accuracy and clarity in document handling. 

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