The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigrant fee pays for the expenses incurred in processing, maintaining, and filing your immigrant visa package as well as issuing documents, such as your permanent residency card (or Green Card).
While you may pay the fee after arriving in the U.S., the best way to pay the fee is after receiving your visa package from the Department of State and before traveling to the U.S.
You will not be issued a Green Card until you have paid the USCIS immigrant fee. You must pay the fee online using the USCIS Electronic Immigration System.
However, you’ll need your Department of State (DOS) Case ID and Alien Registration Number (A-number) to pay the fee. If you are paying on someone else’s behalf, such as a friend or member of your family, you will also need their A-number and DOS Case ID.
You will learn what an A-Number is, what a DOS Case ID is, where to find one and how to track your application status online from this article.
What Is A-Number?
Your Alien Registration Number is known as your A-Number. It’s represented by the letter “A” followed by 8 or 9 numbers. For example, A012345678.
What Is A DOS Case ID?
Your Department of State (DOS) Case ID is your DOS Case ID. Your DOS Case ID is made up of three letters and is followed by 9 or 10 numbers. For example, ABC123456789.
If you are an immigrant on a Diversity Visa, your DOS Case ID will have 4 numbers followed by 2 letters and 5 more numbers. For example, 0000AB12345.
How To Find Your A-Number And Your DOS Case ID?
Your A-Number and DOS case ID can be found on the Immigrant Data Summary, the USCIS Immigrant Fee handout, or the Immigrant Visa Stamp.
Immigrant Data Summary
An immigrant data summary should have been attached to the front of your visa package when you went to your U.S. embassy or consulate appointment. Your A-Number and DOS Case ID can be found at the top of the immigrant data summary.
USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout
The DOS interviewing officer should have handed you a USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout when you showed up for your interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. This document gives you instructions on how to pay your USCIS immigration fees.
Your A-number and DOS Case ID can be found in the upper right corner of your USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout.
Remember to make a copy of your USCIS Immigrant Fee handout or write down your A-Number and DOS Case ID and keep it in a safe place.
If you did not get an immigrant data summary or a USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout with your visa packet, please get in touch with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that issued your visa.
Your A-Number and DOS Case ID can also be found on your visa stamp (also referred to as your visa foil) in your passport if you don’t have your Immigrant Data Summary or USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout on hand.
On your visa stamp, your A-Number is listed as the Registration Number. Add a zero after the “A” and before the first digit if your A-Number is less than 9 digits to make it a 9-digit number. A12345678, for example, would become “A012345678.”
The IV Case Number on your visa stamp corresponds to your DOS Case ID. The IV Case Number contains two additional numbers at the end, such as 01 or 02.
Do not enter the last two numbers as your DOS Case ID when entering the IV Case Number. Your DOS Case ID would be “ABV12345678” (without the “01”) if your IV Case Number was “ABC1234567801”.
Schedule A Meeting With Your Local USCIS Office
If you’re still having trouble locating your A-Number and your DOS Case ID, you can make an InfoPass appointment to go to your nearby USCIS office, where an immigration services official can provide you with the information.
How To Pay Immigration Fees Using Your A-Number And DOS Case ID?
Your immigration fee can only be paid in one method. You have to do it online on the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS). Your fees cannot be paid by mail or in person at a physical office.
Before the USCIS delivers you your green card, you must pay your immigration fee. The fee pays for both the expense of creating and mailing the green card. The USCIS immigration fee is currently $220. Always check the most recent price on the USCIS fees page to avoid surprises.
Go to the USCIS web portal here to pay your immigration fees. The system will guide you through the subsequent steps after you have entered the necessary information.
You will be required to enter your A-Number and DOS Case ID during one of the steps.
Once you have completed the form, you can review it before moving on to the payment page. Click “Proceed to pay.gov” if you are ready to proceed. The U.S. Treasury Department payment processing website will thereafter process your payment.
You can choose to pay with your
- Your Bank Account;
- Debit Or Credit Card;
- Prepaid Card
You can only pay using a U.S.-based bank account. If you pay with a card, you can use MasterCard or Visa. You can also pay with a prepaid card as long as there are sufficient funds on it.
When you arrive at the payment page,
- Enter your payment details (bank account, debit/credit card, and prepaid card).
- Select “payment authorization.”
- Fill in your email address on the payment summary.
- Click “submit payment.”
You will be directed to a confirmation page after processing your payment. You can print this page as proof that you have made the payment. However, confirmation of your payment will be sent to the email address you provided.
How To Check USCIS Case Status Online?
As you may already know, you can apply for permanent residency from within the U.S. or outside the U.S.
If you are applying from within the United States, you would use Form I-485, which is known officially as the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.”
If you are applying from outside the United States, you must submit Form DS-260, which is known officially as the “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application.”
In addition, you must submit Form DS-262, also known as the “Online Choice of Address and Agent,” on which you must specify the name and contact details of the “agent” you have chosen to act as your representative to communicate with the National Visa Center.
The agent could be you, your sponsor, other family members, a friend, your attorney, an immigration professional, or a person you trust.
You can check the status of your green card online, by mail, email, phone, or in person. The easiest way to check the status of your case status is online.
USCIS Case Status When Applying From Within the U.S.
You must first locate your USCIS receipt number to check your case status online.
A “Receipt Number” is a special code that you will always get after applying to USCIS. A Receipt Number consists of 3 letters and 10 numbers, for example, XYZ1234567891.
You can find it in the Form 1-797C notification letter, officially known as the “Notice of Action,” which you got when USCIS accepted your Form I-485.
When entering your USCIS receipt number, omit dashes, hyphens, and spaces, but include other characters like asterisks.
- Visit USCIS’ “Case Status Online” tracker.
- Enter your Receipt Number.
- Click “Check Status.”
USCIS Case Status When Applying Outside the U.S.
To check your case status, you first have to locate your “Immigrant Visa Case Number” on the notification letter or email sent to you by NVC. NVC will send you the notice once the USCIS accepts your Form I-130 and forwards your documents to the NVC.
Your Case Number is represented by 3 letters and followed by 10 numbers, such as XYZ1234567891.
- Visit the NVC’s “Consular Electronic Application Center” (CEAC).
- Click “Check My Visa Application Status.”
- Select “Immigrant Visa (IV)” as the Visa Application Type.
- Enter your Immigrant Visa Case Number.”
- Lastly, enter the computer-generated code.
- Click “Submit.”
If you wish to check your case status by email, you can use this online form to send a status request to the NVC, and they will respond to you via email.
To do this, you will need the following information:
- Your NVC case number or USCIS Receipt Number
- Your name
- Your Sponsor’s name
- Your birth date.
Your A-Number and your DOS Case ID are important to get your green card and become a permanent resident in the U.S. You won’t be able to pay your immigration fees and become a lawful resident in the U.S. without it.
With the above instructions, you can locate them easily. When you have them in your hands, it only takes a few more steps to pay your immigration fees, become a permanent resident and live the American dream.