FileRight, a three-year-old tech company based in San Francisco, is vying to become the next TurboTax — but for filing immigration paperwork.
To do that, the company must get the federal government’s authorization to integrate its technology into that of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, much like TurboTax is linked to the Internal Revenue Service in a way that allows tax filings to be sent to the agency electronically.
FileRight is an online platform for filing applications for citizenship, green cards, visas, deferred action and other immigration processes. Users of the service, which costs $99 per application, can currently use the system to fill out forms, but must print them out and send them via snail mail to the agency. So the company is amping up lobbying efforts in Washington, where lawmakers have the authority to help change that.
The company has tapped boutique lobby firm Monument Policy Group to set up meetings with immigration and homeland security officials, White House staffers and congressional committees to raise its profile. Those conversations are ongoing, FileRight’s Chief Communications Officer Casey Berman said.
FileRight is a private company with about 100 employees spread across its San Francisco headquarters, a call center in Henderson, Nev., and engineers in India. Berman declined to disclose revenue figures.
FileRight is not the only company aiming to disrupt the U.S. immigration process, which has largely been made up of individuals sifting through often-confusing paperwork on their own, or spending thousands of dollars to hire attorneys to do it for them. FileRight competes with companies including Bridge U.S. and Clearpath (founded by the former acting director of USCIS, Michael Petrucelli), which provide similar services.
FileRight is considering bringing together some of its industry competitors, along with nonprofit groups that help low-income people file immigration paperwork, to form a more united voice advocating for a low-cost and digital-friendly way to file immigration documents.
Berman said President Obama’s immigration executive order announced last November will likely result in a surge of new applications to USCIS, so there will be a growing demand for a more streamlined process for fielding applications.
USCIS did not immediately return a request for comment on whether the agency was considering integrating its application system with that of companies like FileRight.
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