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US authorities announce new immigration charge

Foreign national seeking permanent residence in the United States will need to pay a new immigrant fee of $165 from February 2013. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin collecting the new fee as part of a programme to recover the cost of processing that is performed after immigrant visa holders receive their visa packages from the Department Of State and are admitted to the United States.

As of the 01 February 2013 applicants will have two separate fees to pay – they are still required to pay the DOS visa application processing fee, and will now also have to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee. The immigrant fee will cover the cost of USCIS staff time to handle, file and maintain the immigrant visa package, and the cost of producing and delivering the permanent resident card.

Any individual who on or after 01 February 2013 receives an immigrant visa package from a United States consulate or embassy abroad, including Canada and Mexico, will pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee.  ‘Applicants must pay this fee online through the USCIS website. Applicants should submit payments after they receive their visa package from DOS and before they depart for the United States’ said a USCIS spokesman.

Quote from ExpatForum.com : “I had a H1b from 2007 -2010 with company ABC. With that I worked in USA from Feb 2008 till Aug 2009 after which I returned to India. Now my question is, can this H1b which still has about 4.5 years left be renewed in 2012. Also My current employer XYZ again applied for H1b in 2010 which was rejected. Will this affect the H1b renewal of my other H1b”

Applicants can electronically submit the fee by answering the questions on the USCIS website by providing their checking account information, or debit or credit card information. All check payments must be drawn on a US bank account. If the applicant is unable to make this payment, another person can make this payment on the applicant’s behalf.

‘The applicant will not receive a green card until the required USCIS immigrant fee is paid. Failure to pay does not affect the lawful status of the applicant. While the applicant can use their Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form I-94, Arrival and Departure Record, for one year to document they are a lawful permanent resident, once that I-94 stamp expires, the applicant will need to possess a green card as evidence of their lawful permanent resident status’ explained the spokesman.

He added that in order to simplify and centralize the payment process, applicants will pay online through the USCIS website after they receive their visa package from DOS and before they depart for the United States. DOS will also provide applicants with specific information on how to submit payment when they attend their consular interview. The new fee is in addition to fees charged by DOS associated with an individual’s immigrant visa application.

The USCIS processes approximately 36,000 immigrant visa packages each month. Prospective adoptive parents whose child will enter the United States under the Orphan or Hague processes are exempt from the new fee.

Ray Clancy

December 17, 2012

http://www.expatforum.com/america/us-authorities-announce-new-immigration-charge.html

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