New US Immigrant Visa Fee to Take Affect 1st February 2013

Individuals issued US immigrant visas on or after February 1, 2013 must pay an additional $165 immigrant fee to theUS Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) in addition to the current Department of State immigrant visa application fees. Only prospective adoptive parents whose child will enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague processes are exempt from this fee.

The Department of State is responsible for the issuance of immigrant visas through US Embassies and Consulates. After the immigrant visa interview a visa applicant receives their passport back with the immigrant visa and a sealed package containing the documents related to the immigrant visa application. The immigrant must carry his or her passport and the sealed package when they travel to the United States. At the port of entry an Immigration Officer will interview the immigrant and open the sealed envelope to verify that the person entering is the actual visa holder. After entry into the US, the new immigrant will receive the permanent resident card (aka the “green card”) in the mail.  Although after February 1, 2013, the individual will not receive the green card until the new USCIS immigrant fee is paid.

According to the USCIS web site, this fee “will cover the cost of USCIS staff time to handle, file and maintain the immigrant visa package, and the cost of producing and delivering the permanent resident card.” Now, immigrant visa applicants are only required to pay an immigrant visa application fee to the Department of State at the US Embassy or Consulate.

Applicants must pay this fee online through the USCIS website and should submit payments after they receive their visa package from DOS and before they depart for the United States.

Applicants can electronically submit the fee by answering the questions on the USCIS website by providing their:

  • US checking account information, or
  • debit or credit card information.

If the applicant is unable to make this payment, another person can make this payment on the applicant’s behalf.

Failure to pay does not affect the lawful permanent resident status of the applicant. While the applicant can use their Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form I-94, Arrival and Departure Record, for one year to document they are a lawful permanent resident, once that I-94 stamp expires, the applicant will need to possess a green card as evidence of their lawful permanent resident status.

If you would like to discuss whether you would be eligible for an immigrant visa, contact Janice Flynn at +44 (0)20 3286 9491 or via email at [email protected]