Starting February 1st 2013, all persons receiving an immigrant visa from a United States consulate abroad will pay an additional $165 fee. This fee is being called an Immigrant Fee and is intended to compensate the USCIS for preparing and mailing out the Permanent Resident card (Green Card).Starting February 1st 2013 all persons receiving an immigrant visa from a United States consulate abroad will pay an additional $165 fee. This fee is being called an Immigrant Fee and is intended to compensate the USCIS for preparing and mailing out the Permanent Resident card (Green Card). All applicants receiving an immigrant visa on or after February 1, 2013 will pay this fee.
Only persons receiving an immigrant visa from an overseas consulate will pay this fee. This would include spousal visas like the CR-1 and IR-1 as well as other family visas like the IR-5 parent visa or CR-2 child visa. This fee will not apply K-visas like the K-1 Fiancée visas or the seldom used K-3 spousal visa.
Visa recipients will pay this fee after receiving the visa from the embassy but before entering the USA. The fee is paid online through the USCIS website by bank draft or credit card. Anybody can make the payment on behalf of the immigrant. A link to pay this fee is not available yet but will be made public by February 1, 2013.
How will I be notified about this fee?
The consular officer will give the intending immigrant a letter explaining the fee and how to pay it. The letter will be in English as well as the local language.
What happens if I do not pay this fee?
If you do not pay this fee you will be able to enter the USA but will not receive a green card. The USCIS will send two separate Requests for Evidence (RFE) to the petitioner’s address reminding you that you must pay this $165 fee before you will be issued a green card. You should probably expect a significant delay in getting your green card if you chose to pay this fee after entering the USA since you will disrupt the normal process.
Why don’t K-visa applicants pay this new fee?
Because the fees for processing and preparing the green card are already built into the Adjustment of Status fees paid by all K-visa applicants.
Do I pay this fee if I am adjusting my status from another visa type such as a Student Visa?
No. Only persons who receive an Immigrant Visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy will pay this fee. Persons who come to the USA on a non-immigrant visa such as a student visa, work visa, exchange visa, tourist visa, visa waiver program, ESTA etc. would not pay this fee.