In an effort to reduce the volume of immigration applications rejected simply because of incorrect payments, the U.S. government has rolled out an online tool designed to help foreign nationals apply for immigration in keeping track the filing fees they still owe.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the implementation of a new feature on the agency’s website—an online fee calculator that accurately outlines the amounts an applicant still needs to pay for each form.
The agency admits that several immigration applications fell through the cracks in recent years largely due to the incorrect fees attached to these applications. In 2017 alone, USCIS processed over 11 million applications.
USCIS spokesman Dan Hetlage acknowledged the volume of applications that were rejected due to incomplete payments and claimed that, to combat this, “USCIS launched an Online Fee Calculator to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors determine the exact filing and biometric fees to help reduce the number of rejected applications due to incorrect filing fees.”
The tool helps applying immigrants keep track of pending payments for employment authorization, naturalization, petitions for relatives, travel documents, and even removing conditions on residence. It can also be used to determine exactly how much an applicant owes for any forms processed at USCIS lockbox facilities, and the filing fees one still owes for forms processed at USCIS lockbox facilities.
The tool works by letting immigrants and foreigners select the forms they need on the interface, asking them questions relevant to the forms they choose, and then providing them with the calculation of the fees owed. USCIS promises that users of the tool will be kept private and that the tool will not any personal information that users may put into it.
Fees may, depending on the type of paperwork involved, be paid online, by mail, or at a USCIS field office. As of the moment, the government accepts credit card payments for 41 fee-based forms.
“Ultimately, it is our hope that this new tool will help facilitate greater certainty, stronger confidence, and a more seamless filing process for those seeking immigration benefits through USCIS,” Hetlage claimed.
The online tool is only one of many improvements USCIS has been making to its immigration processes, in line with the agency’s goal to go paperless by 2020. Applying for U.S. citizenship and permanent residency can now be done online.
“[Filing online] streamlines the adjudication process, making it easier for USCIS to share files with inter-agency partners, communicate with applicants and petitioners, obtain more efficient responses to requests for evidence, and make decisions,” a USCIS spokesperson explained.
For more immigration news and updates on this new policy, be sure to follow this blog. If you, or a loved one, are concerned about these immigration updates, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to learn how Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle can help you.