New USCIS.GOV Website Review – Search

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services kept its promise and launched a redesigned website today, one day ahead of schedule. We will review the much anticipated new site in more details and publish a series of posts in the next few days.

In this post we are glad to report that the search function of the new USCIS.GOV is much improved over its predecessor.

For many years the search engine on has been horrible. Its accuracy is always questionable, making it nearly useless. For example, below is a screen shot showing search result for keyword “green card” on the old USCIS website. It makes you scratch your head: among thousands of webpages containing the phrase “green card,”  and hundreds of pages specifically talking about “green card,” why the one titled “M-274” appeared first?


The new website is much improved in terms of search quality:


You can easily tell that the new website is performing much better, since the top search results are all relevant to green card. If you are new to immigration, you will learn more about the green card process by following those links. On the old site, however, the same search would return many pages that pretty much have nothing to do with green card.

There is still room for improvement, though. A domain-specific search on Google (“green card”) still provides better results in my opinion:


We experimented with many other keywords, such as citizenship, AC21 and contact USCIS, and compared the search results with the ones we saved from using the previous USCIS website. The conclusion is the same: the redesigned has a much improved search engine that can now return relevant and useful search results.

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