The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently installed a new computer-generated, voice-activated assistant program, called "Emma" to provide the public with a new process for asking and obtaining answers to immigration-related questions. In order to operate "Emma," all you need to do is to click the “Ask a Question” link in the upper right corner of the USCIS home page or type the following into your search engine bar: https://www.uscis.gov/emma. "Emma" will always type out her answers, but if you have the sound on your computer, she will also "talk" to you. Below her answer, she often offers additional information related to your question. She also can take you to the right spot on the USCIS website that addresses the question you asked. The program answers questions based upon your own words and you need not know formalized legal language or government lingo to utilize this program since she has been "instructed" to understand many common search terms within the field of immigration.
The hope for this new voice-activated assistant vehicle is to relieve the volume from USCIS' National Customer Service Call Center as well as to provide a quicker and more hassle-free experience to consumers who are computer savvy and accustomed to utilizing virtual aides like Apple Smart Phone's, Siri.
Although "Emma" has been officially launched on the USCIS website, it is important to note three issues: 1. the program is not yet available in Spanish (although that is a goal for the near future); 2. it is currently available for desktop computer or laptop use (use on mobile devices is a future goal); and 3. the tool is said to answer approximately 85% of questions that it is asked. Interestingly, every question asked will be coded into the system to make "Emma" smarter in the future.
Please continue to read the Shulman Law Group blog for updates about this new computer-generated virtual assistant tool. While "Emma" can be helpful for basic, generalized information, it is important to note that the tool will not answer any specific questions related to the particular nuances of your individual case and will not take the place of an immigration attorney's advice.