USCIS Announces Immigrant Fee To Be Paid Through ELIS -- Immigration Lawyers in Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Seattle and Austin

USCIS Announces Immigrant Fee To Be Paid Through ELIS

Starting on May 19, 2013 a $165 immigrant fee to be paid by aliens who consular process to obtain a visa to the United States as permanent residents must be paid online through USCIS’s ELIS service.

ELIS was launched by the USCIS a year ago, in May 2012 to be a first step in updating the United States’ immigration filing system to the digital age. Initially launched as an online portal for filing certain change of status (to B-1, B-2, F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, and M-2), extension of status (B-1, B-2, F-1, M-1, and M-2), and reinstatement of status (F and M nonimmigrants) applications requiring form I-539, ELIS has now expanded to accepting and processing the Immigrant Fee charged to aliens abroad before they travel to the United States with immigrant visas.

While consular processing an alien will receive his/her visa package from a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. It is recommended that after receiving this package but before traveling to the United States an alien should use the online ELIS system to pay his/her (and any traveling dependents’) $165 Immigrant Fee. No alien who consular processed for his/her immigrant visa will receive a green card (Form I-551) without first having paid the required Immigrant Fee. USCIS will verify payment of the immigrant fee and issue a green card.

Certain consular processing aliens are exempt from paying the $165 fee. These exempt aliens are: Children who enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague adoption programs, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants, returning residents, and aliens issued K visas.

The first step in paying the immigrant fee online is setting up an ELIS account by visiting To pay the immigrant fee through ELIS an alien will need his/her Alien number (A-number) and Department of State Case ID Number in addition to valid debit card, credit card, or US bank account information in order to pay the fee online. The A-number and DOS Case ID Number of any dependent family members needing to pay the fee will also be needed in order to pay their fee(s). It is possible to pay the fee for all family members traveling with the principal immigrant in one transaction.

It is important to remember that an alien’s lawful permanent resident status is not affected by not receiving a green card. Aliens may be admitted as a lawful permanent resident without paying the Immigrant Fee. Failure to pay the Immigrant Fee will result in delays in issuing a physical I-551 (green card) but does not affect an alien’s lawful permanent resident status. However, it is recommended that aliens follow USCIS suggestions and pay the $165 immigrant fee after receiving their immigrant visa package but before departing their foreign country for the United States to ensure quick issuance of their green cards.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past seventeen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

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