U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) now offers new immigrants the option to voluntarily create an online account for paying the required USCIS Immigrant Fee. Immigrants who choose to create a USCIS online account have easy access to keeping track of their green card status, receiving electronic notifications and case updates and also changing and updating mailing addresses.
While the option to create a USCIS online account is intended to provide added convenience, the agency doesn’t require account creation, according to a USCIS release. For those who don’t create an online account, the agency’s Case Status Online offers an alternate method to track green card status and other cases. However, signing in to use the Case Status Online feature requires the Immigrant Fee payment receipt number, which begins with the letters “IOE.” Similarly, USCIS still offers the Change of Address tool for those who’ve moved and need to update their mailing address with the agency.
Those immigrants who create a voluntary USCIS account, according to agency guidance, will need to verify their identity with correct answers to questions about personal immigration history. In order to do so, USCIS recommends creating the account with relevant documents at hand for easy reference. These reference materials include:
- Immigrant visa
- Visa application copies
- Immigrant petition
In cases where personal identity verification questions aren’t answered correctly, USCIS blocks the account profile as well as access to case information from the USCIS online account until a user’s identity is verified. For those who are unable to verify their identity with the verification questions, new immigrants can pay their required Immigrant Fee at a local USCIS office where identity can be verified in person. USCIS suggests visiting the schedule a free appointment page to arrange a day and time to visit a local USCIS office after arrival to the United States.
The element of identity verification is critical in protecting personal information and ensuring green cards and other secure documents are mailed to the correct address.USCIS uses the most recent U.S. mailing address on file for immigrants, which is information that could have been provided to either the Department of State and the time of the visa interview, or to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at the time of admittance as a lawful permanent resident, or the address provided to any USCIS online account updates.
With an accurate address on file, new immigrants receive their green cards within 120 days of the latter of either entry into the United States the agency’s receipt of the Immigrant Fee. If the green card isn’t received in this time frame, immigrants should submit an inquiry at my.uscis.gov/account/needhelp or log in to your USCIS online account for specific case inquiries and contact the agency at myaccount.uscis.dhs.gov.