New Immigrant Visa Fee

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start charging $165 for overseas processing of immigrant visas.

USCIS has a budget which is based on income from filing fees. Because they cannot count on funds given to them by Congress, they must be sure to bring in enough money to finance their operations. As with many big businesses, USCIS is looking for ways to seek additional revenue. They have spotted one possible way: Overseas processing fees.

When a person files at an American Consulate for an immigrant visa, USCIS claims that they still have some involvement in the process which is primarily handled by the Department of State. Because of their involvement, it has been concluded that they should charge a fee in order to be "reimbursed" for the time spent. Therefore, on February 1, 2013, a person who receives an immigrant visa from the United States consulate or embassy abroad will need to pay the new USCIS immigrant fee. The stated purpose for this fee is to recover the cost of processing that is performed in the United States after immigrant visa holders receive their visa packages from DOS (Department of State) and are admitted to the United States.

According to USCIS, applicants will not receive their green card until the required USCIS immigrant fee is paid. However, failure to pay does not affect the lawful status of the applicant. Applicants will have their passports stamped showing their lawful admission and permanent residence in the United States. This stamp is valid for one year. USCIS strongly advises new permanent residents to pay the immigrant fee as soon as possible in order to receive their green card.