"The USCIS Immigrant Fee is now in effect.
Any individual who on or after February 1, 2013 receives an immigrant visa package from a United States consulate or embassy abroad (including Canada and Mexico) must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee.
Children who enter the United States under either the Orphan or Hague adoption programs, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants, returning residents (SB-1s), and those issued K visas are the only immigrant visa cases exempt from paying the new fee.
When and How to Pay the Fee
Submit your payment after receiving your visa package from DOS and before you depart for the United States.
Pay your USCIS Immigrant Fee online. You will need to complete the electronic form and provide your:
All check payments must be drawn on a U.S. bank.
If you are unable to make this payment, another person can make this payment on your behalf.
For questions or technical help paying your fee, please visit the Pay.gov Customer Servicewebsite.
Failure to Pay
You will not receive a green card until the required USCIS Immigrant fee is paid.
Failure to pay does not affect your lawful status. You will have your passport stamped showing your lawful admission and permanent resident status. This stamp is valid for one year but it is strongly advised that you pay the immigrant fee as soon as possible to avoid delays in receiving your Permanent Resident Card.
About the Fee
Foreign nationals who seek permanent residence in the United States and receive an immigrant visa will need to pay a USCIS Immigrant Fee beginning February 1, 2013.
The new fee of $165 was established in USCIS’s final rule adjusting fees for immigration applications and petitions announced on Sept. 24, 2010. USCIS has worked closely with the Department of State (DOS) to implement the new fee which allows USCIS to recover the cost of processing that is performed in the United States after immigrant visa holders receive their visa packages from DOS and are admitted to the United States.
Applicants will now have to pay both the DOS visa application processing fee and the USCIS Immigrant Fee.
What the Fee Covers
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." - USCIS, last updated:02/05/2013.