Whether you want to become a citizen of the US or want permanent residency in the country, you will need to complete the due process with the immigration agency.
The United States Citizenship And Immigration Services agency is responsible for assessing and deciding the eligibility of an alien person to come and stay in the US.
USCIS is a federal government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. Other services of the agency include citizenship, adoptions, working permits, humanitarian programs, immigration, and other relevant services.
The US’s green card holders and citizens often need to contact USCIS whether they want a renewal of their cards, work permits, etc.
Certain applications and petitions filed with the USCIS require the applicants to pay the agency a certain amount of filing fees. There are different ways permissible by the agency to pay the filing fee.
However, once the applicant has deposited the checks, one of the biggest concerns is how long it will take USCIS to cash the check or when exactly the agency will cash the checks.
Today’s article will address the most frequently asked questions about USCIS application filing and filing fees. So let’s get into it.
What Is USCIS Filing Fee?
United States Citizenship And Immigration Services(USCIS) have no fixed form filing fee. Some cases might have a fixed fee as notified by the department. However, in other cases, the fee varies from case to case.
According to the agency’s disclaimer, the form filing fee is adjusted periodically, and you can know about the exact filing fee on the form downloading webpage of the USCIS. The total fee to be paid by an applicant consists of a form filing fee and biometric services fee.
You can also utilize the Fee Schedule of the USCIS or the Fee Calculator to estimate the fee for your specific case. Here is an image of the USCIS Fee Schedule, and you can also access the complete schedule by clicking on the link here.
What Are Different Ways To Pay USCIS Fees?
As already mentioned, the applicants must pay a filing fee for most immigration forms. But what are the different ways to pay the USCIS fees?
This answer depends on where you reside at the time of paying the fee. If you are residing in the US, you will have many options.
However, you will have to rely on one or two payment methods when paying fees from outside the US.
Living Outside The US
For applicants residing outside the US, any filing fee or biometric services fee can be paid by getting information from the US Embassy, consulate, or the official website of the International USCIS Office.
Depending on your country of residence, you can contact the relevant authorities and pay the filing fee as prescribed by the relevant officials.
Living Inside The US
If the applicant is residing in the US, here are some of the payment options for such applicants:
- Filing Online
When you are filing an application online, you can use direct transfer from your bank account or your credit/debit card for payments to the USCIS.
Once you tap on pay fee, you will be redirected to the official website of the Department of Treasury for secure transactions. The accepted cards include Visa, American Express, MasterCard, and Discover.
- Via Mail
When applicants file the application via mail, they can pay the fee using paper financial instruments like checks, money orders, and even cards.
Cards can be used for making payments when leveraging the USCIS LockBox facility. When filing via mail, you will have to pay and write the check or money order for an appropriate amount of filing fee.
- In Person
Applicants can also opt to visit the USCIS field office near them and pay the fee in person. When choosing in-person visits, you can use any of the payment modes like a credit card, debit card, prepaid card, etc.
You can also use a money order or check if the concerned field office accepts that mode of payment.
How Should I Write A Check To USCIS?
Checks are one of the widely used instruments when paying USCIS fees via mail. However, many people have no idea how to write a check for USCIS. So here is what you need to know about it:
- You will need to have pre-printed checks(official checks) for pay to the USCIS. The pre-printed information includes the bank name, payer name, payer’s address, and phone number.
- You will write US Department of Homeland Security instead of USDHS or DHS on the “Pay to the Order of” line on the check.
- Write the exact dollar amount of the fee for the relevant service you are applying for. If you have to pay $450, you will write the amount as $450.00
- For the date section, write the date in the following format: month/day/year. It implies that you will write the date as Nov. 7, 2022, or 11/7/22.
- On the ‘For’ line of the check, you will have to write about the general purpose of the payment. Describe the purpose, like the example: N-400 application and biometric service fee.
- Finally, you will need to sign the check with your legal name/signature.
How Will I Know If USCIS Started On My Case?
The receipt number of your case with USCIS is the only way you can use to know if USCIS started working on your case.
You can inquire about your case status via the receipt number by calling on the USCIS Customer Care Service or the online website.
How Do I Make The Check Out To For Immigration?
When you are making a check out for immigration, you will follow all the instructions we discussed above.
Make sure to write ‘US Department Of Homeland Security’ on the payee line. Don’t use the short forms, as such checks will not be cashed and rejected straightforwardly.
Why Haven’t I Received A Receipt From USCIS?
It is not strange if you have submitted your application or petition with USCIS but didn’t receive a receipt. It is common to not receipt if the agency has not yet started processing your application.
Once the USCIS enters your information into the agency’s case management system, you will receive the receipt number.
Another reason why you didn’t receive a receipt from USCIS can be a delay in fee deposit to the USCIS bank account.
Can I Pay USCIS With Personal Check?
Cashier’s checks, certified checks, personal checks, bank drafts, and money orders can all be used to pay the filing fee of USCIS.
Certified checks, cashier’s checks, bank drafts, and money orders are mostly pre-printed with the name of the payer and payee.
However, when using personal checks, make sure you use the pre-printed check with your name, address, phone number, and bank name on it.
When Does USCIS Cash Check?
You should expect the USCIS to cash the checks you submitted to pay the filing fee to be cashed within 7-14 working days after the application receiving.
The agency usually cashes checks within two weeks, and the receipt notice is sent to the applicant via mail by the third week of application submission.
What Does It Mean When USCIS Cash Your Check?
Applicants will receive a specific receipt number after the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency will cash the check.
It indicates that the agency has accepted your petition for processing, and the work has started on your application.
How Do I Know If USCIS Has Received My Document?
The application processing by USCIS depends on the volume of the applications and petitions. The processing time also depends on the specific category of the petitions.
The general correspondence time for sending the receipt number is two to three working weeks.
However, in some cases, the agency might take 8 to 9 weeks to issue receipt notices. The only way to know if USCIS has received your documents is by receiving the receipt notice.
Once you have received the notice, take a sign of relief as USCIS has received your documents
What Happens If USCIS Check Bounces?
When the check bounces or any other financial instrument is returned back due to the non-availability of enough funds or other reasons, the check is resubmitted for payment.
If the second attempt to cash a check also fails, such petitions and applications are rejected. The grounds for rejection include non-payment of the filing fee.