As you may know, USCIS has started making improvements to their immigration forms, including the incorporation of bar codes into specific forms. While initially this only affects certain forms, it is very likely that this will come standard on all forms relatively soon.
Beginning with Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, we will publish our high-volume forms with 2D barcode technology. When you complete these forms using a computer, the barcode at the bottom of the page will store the data entered on the form. We will be able to scan the information from the barcode and upload it directly to USCIS systems, allowing us to improve data quality and operational efficiency.
These bar codes contain data from the form itself in a very specific format, which USCIS (presumably) is using to reduce entry time and error.
As a result of the USCIS new requirements, we spent hundreds of hours over the last several weeks reworking the way that LegalServer completes/generates immigration forms from the CMS. While these improvements benefit LegalServer's immigration form capacity (including laying the foundation for future enhanced data entry capability), the USCIS forms have a number of restrictions that are outside of our control.
Here is a summary of the new restrictions:
- Acrobat Reader must be used for opening the filled PDF files in order for the filled values to be seen.
- FoxIt Pro, Apple's Preview, OpenOffice, and other alternative PDF readers will either fail to read the file entirely or the forms will appear blank.
- New forms do not allow us to auto scale font size to make text fit.
- We also must conform to the maximum field lengths specified by the USCIS form now. Some fields, such "Name of Recognized Organization" on the G-28 form have inexplicably short maximum sizes in their PDF versions. This is not a bug with LegalServer and must be taken up with USCIS.
- USCIS is only allowing standard english characters in some name fields. This means that letters with tildes and umlauts must be transliterated.