On February 21, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an article titled “New Immigrants Can Now Create a USCIS Online Account When Paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee” [link].
The USCIS explains that upon payment of the USCIS Immigrant Fee — either by the immigrant or by someone on his or her behalf — an immigrant may open a USCIS online account. Opening a USCIS online account is voluntary. However, the USCIS explains that opening a USCIS online account after paying the USCIS Immigrant Fee offers several benefits:
- Allows the individual to track the status of his or her Green Card;
- Provides electronic notifications and case updates; and
- Allows the individual to change and update his or her mailing address online.
The USCIS explains that in order to open a USCIS online account, the individual will be required to verify his or her identity by correctly answering questions about his or her immigration history. To this effect, the USCIS recommends that the individual have documents such as his or her passport, immigrant visa, and copies of the visa application and immigrant petition available while completing the application.. If the individual is unable to answer the questions correctly, he or she will be unable to update the account profile or access case information from the USCIS online account until verification is complete. In such a case, the individual may schedule a fee appointment to visit a local USCIS office to have his or her identity verified in person upon arrival in the United States.
If the individual does not open a USCIS online account, he or she will still be able to track the status of his or her Green Card and other cases by using the USCIS's Case Status Online tool. In order to get a case status update through this process, the individual will need the receipt number for his or her USCIS Immigrant Fee Payment. The receipt number will always begin with the letters “IOE.” If an individual needs to update his or her address, but has not created a USCIS Online Account, he or she must use the USCIS's Change of Address tool.
Please see our sections on employment immigration and family immigration to learn about two of the primary paths to becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR) in the United States. Our website also contains information on various other paths to becoming an LPR.