Paying USCIS Filing Fees with Credit Cards: Agency Provides More Guidance
Earlier this week, USCIS provided guidance on how to pay for government filing fees with credit cards. Last month (February 2017), USCIS began accepting credit card payments for 41 fee-based forms processed at USCIS Lockbox facilities. Applicants must use Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction and may pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. With these logos, applicants can even use prepaid credit cards, gift cards, or corporate credit cards. Store cards such as Gap or Banana Republic are not accepted.
During a Stakeholder Engagement call this week, USCIS provided more information regarding the expansion of payment options. Here are some helpful tips:
Q: Can H-1B petitions be paid by credit card?
A: No, checks still must be sent for H-1B payments.
Q: If a credit card is declined, will forms be rejected for lack of payment?
A: Credit cards payments cannot be re-submitted if initially declined, which will cause a rejection in filing.
Q: If the forms are denied after processing and adjudication, will filing fees and biometric service fees be refunded?
A: No, these fees are non-refundable.
Q: May payment be split between credit cards?
A: Yes, payments may be split between cards. Form G-1450 must be completed for each card used, signed, and placed on top of the package.
NOTE: Dollar amounts on each G-1450 should be verified to ensure the total adds up to correct form fees, or the package will be rejected.
Q: May payment methods be mixed?
A: No, mixed payment methods are not acceptable in one package submittal; you may not split payment of filing fee by using part credit card and part check. Applicants must use the same form of payment for all forms in the package (all check, all money orders, or all credit cards).
NOTE: If mixed payments are used, applicants would need to mail forms in separate packages with a different payment for each packet.
Q: Does the credit card used have to be mine?
A: No, but the person who is the owner of the credit card and authorizing use of the card for the forms and biometric fees must sign form G-1450.
Q: Can a credit card statement identify the beneficiary related to the filing fees? Currently, there is no way to distinguish between applications when filing many petitions, and can take weeks/months to reconcile statements.
A: No, credit card statements will only reflect USCIS next to payment. There are no plans to change this at the moment. There is a character limit of 16 characters, which is part of the limitation in the process.
Q: Is it advisable to note that a credit card payment is enclosed on the outside of the mailing envelope?
A: No, it is not necessary to make this note on envelopes going to a Lockbox facility.
Q: When a receipt notice is mailed back, does it indicate payment by credit card?
A: No, nothing indicating application paid by credit card.
Q: Is it advisable to use separate G-1450s for each application in the same case? For example, one G-1450 for the biometrics payment, and one G-1450 for the payment of forms?
A: Applicants could pay both fees with one G-1450, or submit separate G-1450s (one for an I-821, and a separate G-1450 for an I-765). Applicants would need to completely fill out both G-1450s and provide credit card information on each form.
Q: If a fee is unnecessary, but paid anyway, will the filing be rejected?
A: If there is an extra check, USCIS will not use it, but destroy it. This would not cause a rejection of the filing.
NOTE: If overpayment is made on a credit card, that is a problem because USCIS can only accept the exact amount required and would have to reject the package.
The option to pay government filing fees by credit cards for certain applications will certainly be a welcome new feature for many of our clients. We will continue to monitor how this new service plays out and keep you posted.