The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a final rule adjusting the fees required for most immigration benefit applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective starting December 23, 2016.
USCIS Fees Increase for the First Time in Six Years
The USCIS is almost entirely funded by fees paid by petitioners and applicants for immigration benefits. The USCIS is required by law to conduct fee reviews every two years in order to determine the funding levels needed to process benefit requests, provide infrastructure, and administer the nation’s immigration laws.
For the first time in six years, the fees will increase by a weighted average of 21% for most immigration benefit applications and petitions. According to the review, the increase is necessary to cover the full cost of services provided by the USCIS. Some of the costs covered are associated with customer service and case processing, fraud detection and national security, and providing free services refugee and asylum applicants, as well as other applicants eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.
“This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule,” said León Rodríguez, the Director of USCIS. “We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews. However, as an agency dependent upon users’ fees to operate, these changes are now necessary to ensure we can continue to serve our customers effectively. We will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means.”
New Immigration Benefit Application and Petition Fees
The list of new fees is available on the USCIS website. Here are some of the highlights:
- Fee increase of $45 from $595 to $640 for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Fee increase from $550 or 600 to $1,170 for Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322.
- New fee of $3,035 is required for Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center
- Reduced filling fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family incomes greater than 150% and not more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The USCIS considered all 436 comments received during the 60-day public comment period published May 4, 2016 before creating the final rule.
If you want to know all about the latest developments in immigration benefit applications or petitions, talk to Lyttle Law Firm. Leave us a message through our contact form or visit our Austin and San Marcos offices.