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national file tracking system (NFTS)

The national file tracking system (NFTS) is a centralized database for tracking the movement of immigration files. 

NFTS, which has a web component, is used by the United States Citizen and Imigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of State. The web interface for NFTS allows file requests and status changes to be updated within minutes, providing system users with near real-time information about the location and status of paper file folders.  NFTS is currently tracking nearly 115 million immigrant files and supporting over 17,000 concurrent users. 

The national file tracking system (NFTS) was developed to better track alien file (A-File) location information. Each person who applies for immigration benefits in the United States is assigned an identifier that consists of nine digits and the letter A.  This A-file can contain anywhere from one page to hundreds of pages of documents such as benefit applications and petitions, supporting documents, photographs, notifications, memorandums of investigation, record of proceedings before administrative review boards and third-party information related to violation of law. 

Missing A-files can have an impact on the process of adjudicating applications in several ways. For example, when an A-file is not available at the location indicated in the automated file-tracking system, additional time is spent trying to locate the file, which slows the adjudication process. In addition, missing A-files can hinder USCIS’ s ability to uncover immigration benefit fraud and limit the Department of Homeland Security's ability to enforce actions.

There are plans underway to move all A-list documentation from paper records to electronic records. 

Learn More:

The National File Tracking System (NFTS) is part of the Federal IT Investment Dashboard.

The Department of Homeland Security Chief Information Officer conducted a comprehensive review of the USCIS National File Tracking System (NFTS) on April 30, 2010.

This was last updated in June 2010
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