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US immigration fees to cost more


Thursday, January 5, 2017
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The fees of various immigrant and non-immigrant petitions and applications have increased after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) increased the fee structure on 23, December 2016.

The new fee structure that was proposed on May 4, 2016, was subsequently adopted as final on Oct. 24, 2016.

USCIS has not made changes to its fee structure since November 2010. The fee structure will come to effect for all new applications. All new applications filed starting from 23rd of December should follow the new fee structure or the application will be rejected by USCIS.

A statement released by USCIS reads “applicants and petitioners to pay our new fees with forms postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23, 2016, or we will not be able to accept the filings. We will only accept previous fees if they are postmarked Dec. 22 or earlier.”

It also says starting from Dec. 23 no applicant will get a 14-day grace period to correct a failed fee payment.

“USCIS will immediately reject a benefit request for nonpayment. We will also no longer hold benefit requests submitted without the correct biometric services fees.  You must pay biometric services fees, if applicable, at the time of filing.  We will reject a benefit request if it is received without the correct biometric services fee, as specified in the form instructions,” adds the statement released by USCIS.

In a move to help the low-income naturalization applicants who do not qualify for a fee waiver, the USCIS has reduced their fee.

The statement also says that the USCIS gets a large portion of the fund from the amounts collected through the fee levied from the immigration applicants. It also said that the amount collected from the increased fee will be used for detecting fraud, processing cases and a range of other administrative costs. It says the hike of 21% was an inevitable decision as the fee structure remained the same for the last six years.

According to immigration experts, the increase in the fee structure will make it difficult for not-so-rich non-Americans to get the American citizenship.

Leon Rodriguez, the Director of USCIS in an October 24 statement said: “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.”

He added, “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.”

CNBC quoted USCIS spokesperson Peter Boogaard, saying: “USCIS will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means.”

“These changes are now necessary to ensure USCIS can continue to serve its customers effectively,” he added.

The new fee structure will come as a heavy toll on vast number of immigrant who want to naturalize as US Citizens. Millions of immigrants apply for US Citizenship each year and the USCIS naturalize thousands of them as new citizens.

During the last one decade, the number of immigrants applying for the citizenship have increased from 5,37,00 to 1 million. According to data collected by the Migration Policy Institute, nearly 7 million immigrants having become Americans during the last decade.

In the state of New York alone, more than 650,00 immigrants are eligible for naturalization and close to 110,500 out of them are eligible for the new visa waiver. But according to experts in the field of immigration, despite the waiver, many of the applicants will find it difficult to file their applications.

According to CNBC report, the increase in the fee structure might rise the number of applicants as this has been a trend whenever there has been a hike. The increase in the number of application is attributed to thousands of potential applicants trying to get ahead for the higher costs.

USCIS has received more than 700,000 applications in the last one year.

ees structure uploaded on  the USCIS website is as follows:

Courtesy of USCIS website

This chart lists USCIS’ fees effective December 23, 2016. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include these new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.

Immigration Benefit Request New Fee ($) Old Fee ($)
G–1041 Genealogy Index Search Request 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) 65 35
I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 455 365
I–102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document 445 330
I–129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker 460 325
I–129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) 535 340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative 535 420
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document 575 360
I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker 700 580
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 930 585
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant 585/9301 585
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa 585 585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal 930 585
I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion 675 630
I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant 435 405
I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status 1,140 985
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) 750 635
I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur 3,675 1,500
I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 370 290
I–600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition 775 720
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability 930 585
I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver 630 585
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) 930 585
I–687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A
of the Immigration and Nationality Act
1,130 1,130
I–690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 715 200
I–694 Notice of Appeal of Decision 890 755
I–698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident
(Under Section 245A of the INA)
1,670 1,020
I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 595 505
I–765 Application for Employment Authorization 410 380
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country 775 720
I–800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I–800A 385 360
I–817 Application for Family Unity Benefits 600 435
I–824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition 465 405
I–829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions 3,750 3,750
I–910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation 785 615
I–924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant
Investor Program
17,795 6,230
I–924A Annual Certification of Regional Center 3,035 0
I–929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U–1 Nonimmigrant 230 215
N–300 Application to File Declaration of Intention 270 250
N–336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings 700 650
N–400 Application for Naturalization2 640 595
N–470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes 355 330
N–565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document 555 345
N–600/N–600K Application for Certificate of Citizenship 1,170 600/5503
USCIS Immigrant Fee 220 165
Biometric Services Fee 85 85

Note:

  1. The fee for Form I-192 will remain $585 when filed with and processed by CBP. 
  2. Certain low-income naturalization applicants may pay a filing fee of $320 plus the $85 biometric services fee. For eligibility details and filing instructions, see Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee and Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
  3. The old fee for N-600/N-600K applications filed on behalf of a biological child was $600 and on behalf of an adopted child was $550.  There is no fee for a Form N-600 filed by a member or veteran of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces filing on his or her behalf.   

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