Immigration Services transitions to paperless system

Author: Rachel Novick


The International Student Services & Activities’ Immigration Services Office (ISO), which handles the immigration documentation for all ND-sponsored international students and their dependents, has successfully gone paperless. The 830 international students have, on average, 70 documents in their individual files by the end of their time at Notre Dame. ISO has effectively transitioned around 276 inches of files and 59,000 images from paper to digital format. Going paperless has helped ISO streamline immigration document registration, increase efficiency and greatly decrease paper consumption.

ISO worked with an outside vendor to barcode the paperwork, scan each document into a searchable PDF format, index documents by students’ names, and move these files into fsaATLAS (the internal immigration database that is joined into the government’s SEVIS system). “The massive amount of paper was one of the reasons we decided to make the switch to paperless filing," said Bianca Schonberg, Associate Director of ISO. "Scanning technology and database storage made the transition considerably easier and low cost.”

This year’s International Student Orientation, which includes immigration document registration, was extremely efficient because ISO was able to make the process paperless. McKenna Pencak, Assistant Director of Communications and Outreach, said, “The ISO registered more than 250 new international students in August by having them complete an online registration form and by scanning the immigration documents of all incoming students.”

The office also recently finished changing all forms (change of address, request for signatures, etc.) into online versions which can be e-filed directly by the office. “While it was a headache transitioning to paperless, afterwards it made everything so much easier,” said Schonberg. “We’re very happy we’ve gone paperless.”