USCIS Announces Proposed Fee Increases
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a proposed rule that would increase fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests. This proposal comes as a result of a comprehensive fee review conducted by USCIS which found that the current fees do not recover the full costs of the services USCIS provides. Per the fee review, USCIS determined that if the fee structure remained as is, the agency would suffer a $560 million annual shortfall. As such, the proposed rule seeks to increase fees by 21%, which will be a weighted fee increase of 21% based on the current fee of each immigration benefit type.
In addition, the proposal seeks to implement a new fee for Form, I-924A, Supplement to Form I-924. The fee for this form, if accepted, will be $3,035 and the form name will be changed to “Annual Certification of Regional Center.” Additionally, the rule proposes a three-level fee for the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. First, DHS would increase the standard fee from $595 to $640. Second, DHS would continue to charge no fee to an applicant who meets the requirements of sections 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) with respect to military service and applicants with approved fee waivers. Third, DHS would charge a reduced fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family income greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
You may read the proposed rule and learn how to submit your comments about the proposed rule here:
Hopefully the fee increases will significantly improve case processing times, interview scheduling backlogs, and adjudication delays by increasing the resources available to USCIS. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register as of yesterday, 05/04/2016.