Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation

Frequently Asked Immigrant Visa Questions

For questions about Non-immigrant Visas (NIV), please visit the following link: For questions about immigrant visas, see below.

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.

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 United States.

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.