USCIS and Electronic checks (e-checks) Don't Mix Well

April 6, 2009

As experienced immigration lawyers in Los Angeles, Fong & Chun recommend that applicants use credit cards, personal checks, money orders to pay when e-filing immigration-related applications, but NOT electronic checks or "e-checks."

US Immigration & Immigration Services (USCIS) gives applicants the option of e-filing certain applications.  The methods of payment include an "e-check."  Some may have had successful experiences, but if you are going to e-file, we recommend using your credit card.  We have had recent reports where the e-check did not go through, or where USCIS said that the "check" was returned for insufficient funds even where there was more than enough money to cover the check, and where USCIS referred the matter to collection.  It took weeks to sort out the USCIS error.  Often the applicant ends up paying twice!

Until USCIS' e-filing system is more reliable, and until the system allows for fairer resolution of difficulties, we recommend using paper applications and paying by personal check or money order.  Of course, you should always send all paperwork to USCIS via Certified Mail - Return Receipt Requested.  This way, you can check the progress of your filing and the cashing of your check.

If you have questions, please contact us.  --jcf