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Monday, October 4, 2010

Immigration News: New Filing Fees, Effective 11-23-2010

It's official. USCIS has announced a final decision on a new round of changes to the filing fees that currently provide about 90 percent of its yearly budget. (See After Public Comment, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Announces Final Rule Adjusting Fees for Immigration Benefits, USCIS Fact Sheet, September 23, 2010.)

The majority of this "change" means "increase," however, in some categories application fees will actually decrease.

DECREASED FEES:
  • Petition for Alien FiancĂ©/e (Form I-129-F) - reduced by $115, to $340
  • Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539) - reduced by $10, to $290
  • Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Form I-698) - reduced by $350, to $1,020
  • Application for Family Unity Benefits (Form I-817) - reduced by $5, to $435
  • Application for Replacement Naturalization / Citizenship Document (Form N-565) - reduced by $35, to $345
  • Application for Travel Document (Form I-131), when filed for a Refugee Travel Document

UNCHANGED FEES:

The USCIS did not increase the filing fee for naturalization applications, and also eliminated two citizenship-related fees for U.S. service members and veterans who are eligible to apply for naturalization using form N-400 with no fee:
  • Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Form N-336)
  • Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600)

FEE WAIVERS MADE MORE WIDELY AVAILABLE:

USCIS has expanded the availability of fee waivers for certain benefits available to humanitarian parole applicants, victims of trafficking, and persons seeking to appeal a denial of any application or petition that did not initially require a fee.

INCREASED
FEES:

USCIS will raise application and petition fees by approximately 10 percent. Fees will increase for (among many others):
  • Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) - increased by $75, to $365
  • Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) - increased by $65, to $420
  • Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker(Form I-140) - increased by $105 to $580
  • Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status (Form I-485) - increased by $55 to $985; the biometrics fee will increase by $5, $85
  • Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) - increase by $40, to $380

EFFECTIVE DATE:

The new fees will take effect on November 23, 2010.

Mark your calendars! Applications postmarked or filed on November 23rd, or after, will need to pay the new fees. (For details, see the revised fee schedule on the USCIS Fact Sheet, After Public Comment, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Announces Final Rule Adjusting Fees for Immigration Benefits, September 23, 2010.)

WHY THE INCREASE?

Unfortunately, USCIS does not have much choice but to raise its fees. Congress requires the agency to provide 90 percent of its budget from fee revenue. Given the current climate of fiscal constraint, coupled with the resentment felt towards immigrants in some areas, it seems unlikely that Congress will provide the USCIS with enough funding to prevent fee increases.

We hope you have found this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact our firm today at (703) 244-6733 or contact@vanwormerlaw.com.

Remember to join us next time for more Immigration News!

Please Note: The information provided at this site is of a general nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or under all circumstances. It should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an engagement of Van Wormer Law or establish an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship exists until Van Wormer Law has completed a conflicts check and the prospective client signs a representation agreement.

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