Immigration Service to Raise Filing Fees
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced that it is adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective Dec. 23.
USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.
Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions. The USCIS claims this increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS.
Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.
“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.”
Changes in the new fee schedule can be found here. Highlights follow:
- A modest fee increase of $45, or 8 percent, from $595 to $640 for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
◦ 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. For 2016, this means, for example, that a household of four with an income between $36,000 and $48,600 per year could pay the reduced fee. Those eligible may apply for this option using the new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.
- The fee for Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322, will increase from $550 or 600 to $1,170.