Dawning A New Credit Card Age!

USCIS Adds 40 Forms to Credit Card Payments

OK, a little over dramatic. But the USCIS has added 40 important new forms for which one can now pay by credit card.

Here is the link: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/fingerprints/pay-credit-card

Paying fees with checks are a big pain for a few reasons that impact the immigration case management process. First of all, they are checks. People don’t use them and are accustomed to the 3% or less fee that often accompanies a charge. Lawyers now accept credit cards widely and also accept credit card fees as a cost of business like office paper or the Internet.

Second, every USCIS instruction for submitting filing fees includes the admonishment that a check must be written out in precise manner. And for every client I must include this instruction. People also agonize over what to write in the memo of the check, and many people myst retrieve an actual check from their bank (which always has a low check number) or a money order or certified check which involves fees. If these are not done correctly they can, and have been, returned for resubmission. It’s a huge unnecessary step that will be eliminated now.

Third, because of bureaucratic volume delays, it is often several weeks before someone even receives notice that an application has been received. One workaround for this is to monitor one’s bank account for the cancelled filing fee check. That cancelled check means an application has been accepted (a central part of application filing especially if you are on a tight timeline), and even has the receipt number stamped on it! This brings anxious applicants a lot of relief even before the official receipt notice has been mailed.

Now, who gets the credit (if you care)? You may refer to an earlier post where I did not judge the Trump administration too harshly for failing to ramp up certain enforcements it threatened to increase. This is mainly because there is always a new administration lag and ramp-up period. For the same reason, I don’t credit to the Trump administration for the credit card improvement because these types of technical changes take months or years to implement. The credit, for taking credit cards, will have to go to Obama unless the Trump people can show otherwise.

Someday, we may still move toward an online application system like the rest of the world. For now, I would say be satisfied if you list immigration court fees could be paid directly to the immigration court itself, instead of Entirely separate step for you must pay your filing fee to immigration court in person at a US CIS office after having made an appointment to do so. Figure that!

Well to use a new age slogan, it is the dawn not the light!


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