How To Pay I-130 Fee With A Credit Card
Credit cards are a normal part of American society and USCIS has finally allowed us to pay I-130 fee with a credit card. This is a big change because, in the past, your only option was to use a personal check drawn from a US bank or a money order.
Thankfully, now anyone can use their credit card for the I-130 petition even if they don’t yet have the cash to pay the fee.
But, there is one downside to using this option: getting into debt!
The filing fee for the I-130 isn’t cheap. So I recommend that you have the money in your bank before charging it to your credit card.
Alisha is filing the I-130 petition for husband Antonio but she doesn’t have the full filing fee in her bank account. She decides that she will pay the fee using her Visa credit card and pay it down slowly.
Paying the I-130 with a credit card can save you time by allowing you to submit your petition right away.
Thankfully, there are no extra fees to use a credit card so this could be a nice incentive for you to use one.
Related Post: What happens after the I-130 is approved?
What Forms Of Payment Does USCIS Accept?
Currently, USCIS accepts two forms of payment for the I-130. However, no cash will be accepted nor should you send cash in the mail.
- Personal Check
- A personal check must be drawn from a US bank account in US dollars. Your foreign spouse would not be able to pay the fee using their check since it won’t be US funds coming from an American bank account.
- Cashier Check
- In some cases, USCIS does accept cashiers checks but most applicants will not use this method because it costs money. Especially since a personal check is good enough.
- Credit Card
- USCIS now accepts credit cards to pay the I-130 filing fee. They process your credit card soon after receiving your petition and will send you the notice of action letter confirming acceptance.
Based on the payment options above, which one would you choose to use?
Personally, I had to pay my filing fee in the form of a personal check. I will say that if using a credit card was an option back when I was filing my petition, I would have taken advantage of it!
How Soon Does USCIS Charge Your Credit Card?
The great thing about USCIS is that they are quick to take your payment!
If you pay I-130 fee with a credit card, USCIS will charge your card within 24 hours. This means that if they receive your I-130 on Tuesday, they will likely charge your card by Wednesday.
This is incredibly fast and you will receive an email/letter confirming that they have accepted your petition and payment. This letter is called the Notice of Action 1 (NOA1).
Related Post: How long after NOA1 will I get NOA2 approval?
How Much Is The I-130 Filing Fee?
The filing fee for the I-130 can be found on the USCIS.gov website. I don’t want to list it in this post since it may change in the future and it’s always best to go directly to the source for this type of information.
The I-130 filing fee is used to pay the salaries of the adjudicators. USCIS is almost fully funded by the fees that applicants pay (and not by US taxpayers).
Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid paying the I-130 filing fee.
Although there are fee waivers available for other application types, the I-130 (CR1 visa) does not allow for a fee waiver and the US spouse must pay the fee in full.
Related Podcast: How to request a fee waiver for USCIS filing fees.
Can I Pay I-130 With A Credit Card?
Absolutely! USCIS now allows all applicants filing for the I-130 to pay the filing fee using a credit card.
You will need to download form G-1450 and submit it with the I-130 when you send it to the lockbox.
What does this mean for you?
Well, it means that you can submit your I-130 now even if you don’t have the money in your bank account yet.
It used to be hard for couples who couldn’t afford the expensive filing fee and therefore, ended up waiting until they had the cash before submitting their I-130 petition to USCIS.
Be sure that you have enough available credit on your card before you decide to pay using this method. The last thing you want is for the card to be declined when USCIS attempts to process the payment.
After submitting your I-130 to USCIS, they generally processing the payment (credit card) within 1 business day. If you receive the first notice of action letter, know that they were successful in processing your payment.
Once the payment is processed, you will see “USCIS” on the credit card statement so you know who the charge was from.
Can I Get A Refund If My I-130 Is Denied?
Unfortunately, you can’t get a refund once USCIS has accepted your I-130 petition.
This means that as soon as you send in your application and it is accepted, consider your payment gone! Even if there is a negative outcome (a denial), you will not receive your money back.
Remember, the filing fee is used to pay the adjudicators that will review your petition. Since they’ve already taken time to review your petition the filing fee is nonrefundable.
This is not specific to the I-130 petition. All filing fees are considered nonrefundable.
Instead of worrying about a refund, try to focus on putting together a strong I-130 petition that gets approved. That way you are only paying the filing fee once (the first time!)
What Happens If My Credit Card Is Declined?
We touched on this earlier in this post but if your credit card is declined, USCIS will return your I-130 petition.
The next step would be to submit payment using a different credit card or submitting a personal check in US funds drawn from a US bank account.
If you are unsure how much credit you have remaining on your card, give the credit card company a call to find out. This way, you avoid using a credit card that is close to its limit that results in your petition being returned to you.
There are no penalties if your credit card is declined. USCIS will simply return your petition and it will not affect how your case is processed if you choose to resubmit a new petition.
Another reason a credit card can be declined is if you wrote the card number wrong on form G-1450. You should always review the card number, expiration date, and CVV to be sure it’s correct.
Summary: How To Pay I-130 With A Credit Card
There are several payment methods available when paying your filing fee. This is a nice change from the past where they only allowed for checks and money orders.
Welcome to the 21st-century USCIS! 😅
So, if you’re interested in paying by credit card know that the following is accepted:
- American Express
Other payments accepted are personal checks, money orders, cashiers checks, and debit cards. All payment options are restricted based on the type of petition being submitted and the way you are submitting it (online vs mailing).
Remember, once your application is accepted no refunds are allowed. The filing fees are used to pay for the adjudicator salaries because USCIS is not funded by tax-payer money.
Looking for help with your I-130 petition or interview prep? Join the Migrant Academy community to get instant access to the CR1 spouse visa course, visa case tracker, resource library, discussion forums, and live webinars. Learn more at https://migrantacademy.com.
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Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.