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What is ELIS and when will my spouse receive their green card?

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) is an online system set up by USCIS to give customers a better way to track and update their applications for immigration benefits. ELIS users will need to set up an account in order to make payments, submit applications, and receive notices.  Launched in May 2012, it currently allows you to pay the new USCIS Immigrant Fee and file certain Change of Status Applications (I-539). You must use either Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 6 and higher or Mozilla Firefox versions 3 and higher.

New USCIS Immigrant Fee

This is the final step in getting your Permanent Resident Card in a long journey that started when you or your family member filed a visa petition.  After you or your relative has received their immigrant visa package from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you will need to remember to pay the USCIS Immigrant fee of $165 in order for you or your relative to receive their Permanent Resident Card (“green card”) in the U.S.

In order to pay this fee, you will need to create an account on USCIS ELIS. Your attorney cannot create an account for you, however, they can create an account for themselves if you wish for them to represent you.  There is no filing fee waiver available. You will need to have your alien number and your Department of State Case ID number ready in order to pay the fee.  This information should be in the immigrant visa package you received from the Consulate or Embassy.

You can use a credit, debit card or pay through a U.S. bank account transaction.  Don’t forget to print out a copy of your receipt as proof of your payment as it cannot be re-generated.

Using the USCIS ELIS for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539).

You can know use ELIS to change or extend your status if you are a:

  • Nonimmigrants in B-1, B-2, F-1, M-1 or M-2 visa categories to extend their stay;
  • Nonimmigrants who want to change their visa status to the B-1, B-2, F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1 or M-2 nonimmigrant status; and
  • F and M nonimmigrants to apply for reinstatement of status.

Other categories will need to use the paper filing application process. Forms are available at

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2022 Immigrant’s Guide to 
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Download Free Guide 2022 Immigrant’s Guide to Becoming a U.S. Citizen

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