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Frequently Asked Questions

When must I pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?
You must pay the fee prior to departing for the United States.
USCIS will not issue your green card until USCIS receives
payment.  However, even if you have not paid the fee, U.S.
Customs and Border Protection officers will admit you, as long
as you are otherwise eligible to enter.

What if I was issued an immigrant visa before February 1,
2013?  Do I have to pay the fee?

No.  Only applicants issued visas on or after February 1, 2013
will pay the new fee.  The U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) officers at the airport or land border will review
immigration records to determine when your immigrant visa was
issued.  If the visa was issued on or after February 1, 2013
but the fee was not paid, the Immigrant Visa package will be
collected at the point of entry, but USCIS will not issue a
green card until the $165.00 fee is paid.

Who has to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

All applicants issued immigrant visas (including Diversity
Visas), except children adopted under the Orphan (IR-3/IR-4)
or Hague Processes (IH-3/IH-4), Iraqi and Afghan special
immigrants who were employed by the U.S. Government, returning
residents (SB-1s), and K visas, will pay the new fee.

How do I pay the new fee?

You will pay the fee by going to,
clicking on the link to the USCIS intake page on,
answering the questions on the USCIS intake page, and
providing your checking account, debit, or credit card
information.  Because checking payments must be drawn on a
U.S. bank, someone else may pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee on
your behalf.

I am an American Citizen and I would like to invite my relative/Friend to visit me in the U.S. Do I have to send them an invitation? What do you want me to write in the invitation?

Please note that an invitation letter from a US Citizen is neither a prerequisite to the issuance of a visa nor a guarantee that one will be issued. therefore, we have no specific format or wording for it. Since the applicant would present his/her documents to the interviewing officer only during his or her interview, invitation letters should be sent or faxed to the invitee and not to our office.
How much is the application fee? Why is it non-refundable?

The fee is non-refundable if the applicant is refused because it is a processing fee and not an issuance fee. For consular fees, please check the consular fees page.

My child is one month old does [s]he need a visa? If yes, do I have to pay the fee for him/her even though he is on my passport?

Yes. A child must have a visa at the time of travel regardless of the child’s age or whether or not s/he is added on a parent’s passport. Also, the processing fee must be paid for each visa applicant.

How long in advance of my intended date of travel should I apply for a US visa?

We recommend highly that applicants start the application process about 3 months in advance of their intended date of travel since appointments are usually full 2-3 months in advance. Also, visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. Many applicants are informed of the need for additional screening at the time they submit their applications and are being advised to expect delays. The time needed for adjudication of individual cases will continue to be difficult to predict. We recommend that individuals build in ample time before their planned travel date when seeking to obtain a visa.

I had several US visas before. Why do I have to schedule an interview again?

New regulations mandate that all applicants renewing or applying for U.S. visas appear for index finger scans and an interview with a consular officer. Unless the applicant is under 14 years of age or over 80 years old, s/he must appear for an interview.

I have a valid US visa that was issued prior to September 11th, 2001. Is it still valid or do I need to obtain a new visa?

Issued tourist visas remain valid until their expiration date, so as long as the visa holder has done nothing to cause the visa to be automatically cancelled. That would include but is not limited to: overstaying the legal amount of time given for any previous visit, committing a felony, and such acts. Despite the validity of the visa, however, it is the decision of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration [BCIS formerly known as the INS] to allow a person to enter the United States. By definition, a visa is permission to approach the port of entry. The immigration officer at the port of entry will determine whether or not a traveler may enter.

I have a valid visa but my passport has expired. What should I do?

Generally, you may staple the expired passport that contains the valid visa to the new passport.

If you do not wish to do so, then you may obtain a new visa on the new passport. To do so, you will need to pay the requisite fee, schedule an appointment for an interview by calling 090070600 (from a landline within Egypt ONLY] or 2100 [from a call center line ONLY], and bring proof of your ties to Egypt.

Your office contacted me and told me that my application has been cleared and that I should DHL my passport to receive my visa. However, I received my passport 2 weeks later without a visa, why?

Usually this means that new information became available at the time of adjudicating your visa. This information stipulates that this office obtains a new clearance for you. It is not unusual for applicants to require a new administrative processing after an initial one. As soon as the response to the new administrative processing is obtained, your case number will be posted on the website under NIV Case Status.

The embassy just called me and told me that the appointment I scheduled through the visa appointment system 0900 706 has been re-scheduled. Why?

A call center representative -not an embassy employee- called you. Your appointment has been re-scheduled due to staffing and resource constraints at the consular section.

I am an American citizen and I would like to appear with my elderly mother/ relative/ friend for his/her interview but the guards at the gate say they cannot let me, why?

No one may accompany a visa applicant to an interview unless the applicant is a minor incapable of communicating in any language spoken by the Embassy staff without the assistance of a certified interpreter, or in need of physical assistance for an obvious medical infirmity. By law, information from a third party is not germane to the determination of visa eligibility. Visa eligibility is determined by an American consular officer's evaluation of the individual applicant's personal situation with respect to his or her home country and his or her compelling reasons to return to that country after a short stay in the Unite
d States.