USCIS has just announced a final rule that will increase the filing fees for most U.S. immigration applications and petitions. The new fee schedule will take effect on December 23, 2016.
USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees that applicants and petitioners pay for immigration benefits. By law, USCIS is required to conduct fee reviews every two years. These fee reviews determine the funding levels necessary to administer the U.S. immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support these activities.
This is the first fee increase in six years. USCIS states that this fee increase is absolutely necessary in order to recover the full cost of services that they provide. These services include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers 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 USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “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.”
The final rule contains a table summarizing current fees and new fees. The new fees are also listed on the Form G-1055, Fee Schedule and on the USCIS website https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new filing fees or USCIS will reject your submission.
Some highlights on the filing fee increase include:
- Form N-400, Application for Naturalization – There will be a fee increase of $45, from $595 to $640.
- USCIS will offer a reduced filing fee of $320 for Naturalization applicants with family incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Those eligible may apply for this option using the new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.
- Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship and N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 – There will be a fee increase from $550 or 600 to $1,170.
- Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center – A new fee of $3,035 will be required.
If you have any questions on the new filing fee requirements, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!