For the last six months economists in the United States have been debating whether or not the country is headed to a financial recession or not. In 2022 gas prices hit an all time national high and current egg prices are twice what they were a year ago.
Even so, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has announced a planned fee increase for its petitions, and has given the general public until March 6, 2023 to submit a formal comment on this proposed new rule that would enable fee increases to take place.
Unlike other federal agencies that are given the majority of their budget from the Federal spending budget annually passed by Congress, USCIS receives 96% of its funding from customer fees. With its current budget, USCIS says that it does not have enough money to timely process applications, which we have experienced firsthand through its unprecedented backlog. USCIS states that with a fee increase it will avoid the accumulation of future backlogs.
What Fee Increase Changes May Take Place?
If USCIS's proposed rule on fee increases takes effect, the biggest changes will be the following:
- Biometrics costs will be included in the main benefit fee and separate biometric service fees will be removed in most cases.
- Naturalization petition fees for an N-400 will increase by $35, to $760.
- Filing an N-600 (commonly used to obtain proof of citizenship for the child of a new U.S. citizen) will increase by $215, to $1,385.
- The cost of a fiance visa (I-129F) will increase by $185, to $720.
- Filing for an immediate relative (I-130) will see a cost increase of $285, to $820, but will be nearly $100 less if filed online.
- Removing fee exemptions that are based only on the age of the person submitting the request instead of financial status.
- Notably, when filing a work permit application (I-765) by paper the cost will increase by $240, to $650, but will cost almost $100 less if filed online.
While our society has moved into the 21st century by relying on technology in almost every sector, USCIS has been very slow to transition its forms to online filing. With the extreme backlog it has experienced in the last couple of years, USCIS has recognized the importance of moving forward with its online components. Because of this USCIS is proposing to make certain online filings cheaper than paper filings.
To read more about this fee increase proposal, or submit a formal comment about the fee increase, click here. We strongly encourage you to apply for your USCIS petition soon before the fees go up.
If you have questions about applying for a USCIS petition, please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.