What is a filing fee and why do I need to pay it? 

If you plan on submitting any kind of immigration petition or application to the USCIS, the odds are high that there will be a filing fee involved (and sometimes more than one). The filing fees are what USCIS charges for accepting your submitted documents for processing. Paying these fees is crucial to your submission process: If a form is submitted without the correct fee, it will be rejected. Here are some good things to know when paying your filing fees to USCIS.

How do I know if I have to pay a filing fee? How much is my filing fee?

Luckily, the USCIS has made finding the details of your forms and filing fees pretty simple. You can check out their forms page ,search for your specific form and then access the form and any fees involved. Additionally, there is a PDF file titled “USCIS Fee Schedule”, which you can download and use to verify fee information for all immigration forms. It is important to reference the USCIS website for this information–Fees frequently change and the USCIS site will always have the most updated fee amounts for your forms.

Fee Calculator

One other tool that can be used to figure out filing fees is the fee calculator. This is especially helpful for individuals who have forms that may vary in fees depending on the applicant (for example, varying fees for different age groups). The calculator can determine the exact filing fees for any form processed at a USCIS Lockbox Facility. 

How do I pay my filing fee? 

If you live inside the US, you can usually pay your fees online via credit/debit card or bank withdrawal; by mail with card, check or money order; or in person at a USCIS office. If you are mailing your applications or forms, you should mail your check or money order along with your applications. Additionally, if you are wanting to pay with a credit card while filing by mail, you must complete and sign a G-1450, which is an authorization for credit card transactions. 

If you are filing online, the USCIS system will guide you through paying your fees with an accepted payment form. You cannot use cash to pay for the application fees.

If you live outside of the US, you must verify accepted payments through your appropriate International USCIS office webpage or contact the US Embassy or consulate for info on how to pay your fees.

How do I write the check to Immigraiton?  

The USCIS is very specific on the formatting they require for checks submitted. Here’s a picture they have posted on their website which demonstrates how to correctly write a check for a filing fee.


The 6 important things that USCIS wants to make sure you remember when writing a check (in layman’s terms):

  1. The date has to be written in the US style of month/day/year.
  2. ALWAYS write the check for the US Department of Homeland Security (do not abbreviate).
  3. Use numerals to show the exact filing fee of the service you are requesting.
  4. Spell out the dollar amount of the filing fee and write the “cents” as a fraction over 100.
  5. Write a brief description of what the filing fee is for (you can write whatever form you are submitting).
  6. Sign with the check with your legal name.

To speak with an experienced Austin immigration lawyer about submitting filing fees and documents to USCIS, please call  Austin immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, or Michael G.Murray, P.A. You can call today at (512) 215-4407, or contact the firm online, to learn more.

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