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"USCIS is moving the existing online payment for the USCIS Immigrant Fee to its Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS). Customers will soon pay the $165 USCIS Immigrant Fee using USCIS ELIS after they receive their immigrant visa package from the Department of State and before they depart for the United States. USCIS ELIS is easy to use and provides direct access to case status updates. New immigrants will also use USCIS ELIS to file future applications and petitions when they become available in the system.
This fee has been in place since Feb. 1, 2013. Immigrants who receive their visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad must pay the fee online. The fee allows USCIS to recover the cost of processing the immigrant visa package and other information as well as producing and delivering the permanent resident card after immigrant visa holders are admitted to the United States. Immigrants will soon be directed to the USCIS ELIS website to create an online account and pay the immigrant fee.
The fee does not apply to certain special immigrants and those entering the United States through the inter-country adoption programs.
The USCIS Immigrant Fee is a separate fee from the Department of State immigrant visa application." - USCIS, May 1, 2013.