USCIS recently started to require an Immigrant Visa fee (IV Fee) of $165 for those who apply for immigrant visas abroad to come to the US permanently in the following categories: Immediate Relative Petition, Employment Based Applications, Self Petitioners, and DV Selectees.
After the interview at the US Consulate abroad, the applicants will receive their immigrant visa package along with a stamp on their passport. The visa stamp is valid for a year to travel to the US. Applicants do not receive their green cards at the US Consulate. They will hand their visa package, stamped passport and the immigrant visa fee payment receipt to the officer at the border. The applicant will receive the green card in 30 days via email.
The USCIS requires the Applicants to pay the $165 fee online using USCIS ELIS after they receive their immigrant visa package from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and before they depart for the United States. Please note, USCIS will not mail applicants’ Green Cards until they pay the required USCIS Immigrant Fee. They may pay for themselves and for members of their family who will live with them in the United States.
Starting from May 19, 2013, it is easier to pay this fee since USCIS has moved the online payment of the USCIS Immigrant Fee to its Electronic Immigration System (ELIS). USCIS ELIS allows applicants to conveniently and securely set-up and manage their accounts; electronically submit applications and supporting documents; receive and respond to notices and decisions electronically; make payments online; and access real-time information about the status of their cases.