USCIS Immigrant Fee Easier to Pay30 Sep 2015
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges a fee to individuals who obtain immigrant visas at U.S. consulates abroad. This fee covers processing costs, including the cost to produce the individual’s permanent residence card (“green card”). In response to requests from stakeholders, the USCIS has taken steps to make it easier to pay this fee online.
Background: Immigrant Fee
The immigrant fee is required for those who undergo consular processing as the last step in the green card application process. This is an alternative to the adjustment of status (form I-485) process used by individuals within the United States. The USCIS began collecting this $165 fee in February, 2013, as explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, New Immigrant Visa Fee Announced (21.Dec.2012). This fee is not applicable to those applying for nonimmigrant visas, such as B-1, H1B, or F-1.
Improvements and Instructions
In order to simplify the process of paying the immigrant visa fee, the USCIS has reduced the amount of information that must be provided. In addition, the USCIS has now made it possible for any third party to pay the fee on behalf of the applicant, as long the person making the payment can provide the applicant’s alien registration number (A-Number) and U.S. Department of State (DOS) case ID. This makes it easier for individuals who are abroad to get assistance in remitting this fee from family, friends, employers, and attorneys. Detailed instructions on making the payment are available online.
Generally speaking, it is recommended that this immigrant fee be paid after the immigrant visa foil (or “stamp”) is issued, but before the individual enters the United States. This can help avoid delays in processing the individual’s physical green card. On behalf of our clients, and others undergoing the process, the Murthy Law Firm appreciates this effort by the USCIS to simplify the payment system.
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