IBM to help modernize systems that process US immigration applications
IBM has been awarded 5-year, $491.1 million US Citizenship and Immigration Services transformation contract to improve national security, customer service and operational efficiency.

IBM has been awarded a technology and services contract by the Department of Homeland Security for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency. Under terms of the agreement, IBM will work with USCIS to move the agency to a new centralized and consolidated electronic environment that will enable faster, more efficient and accurate immigration benefits determination and processing.

The contract is part of an on-going multidimensional USCIS effort to transform its business processes and will serve as a key piece to enable the Agency to speed benefits determination, combat identity fraud, and reduce processing time backlogs. Awarded in November 2008, the initial contract value is $14.5 million with options up to $491.1 million over five years.

According to media reports IBM beat out rivals Accenture Ltd and Computer Sciences Corp for the contract after a bidding process that lasted more than year.

The USCIS receives approximately 6 million - 8 million applications annually for immigration benefits, such as employment visas, legal permanent residence and citizenship. The determination process is currently carried out through a paper intensive system that has suffered from backlogs as the number of applications have increased, and security requirements have been strengthened. IBM will support USCIS' efforts to modernize the agency's processing procedures using advanced information technologies, and introduce new capabilities such as the use of person-centric customer accounts.

"IBM is pleased to support the USCIS mission. We believe this project will serve as an important model for other agencies seeking to transform the delivery of important government services," said Charles L. Prow, Managing Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Government. "Through this ambitious initiative USCIS will employ new tools to support benefits adjudication, and ultimately, improve their customers' experience navigating the immigration process."

USCIS, part of the Department of Homeland Security, implements US immigration policy through the processing and adjudication of immigrant and non-immigrant benefits. USCIS consists of approximately 16,000 employees and contractor personnel located in more than 250 offices worldwide.

To deliver the contract, IBM has assembled a team of partners that includes Blackstone Technology Group, Deloitte Consulting, EDS, Evolver, The Legacy Network, Sandler and Travis Trade Advisory Services (STTAS), Sapient Corporation, SI International, Unisys, and Visionary Integration Professionals, among others.