Adjustments Proposed for Immigration Application Fees, Some Raised 500%

The plan includes increased rates, some decreased rates and new charges.

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SHUTTERSTOCK

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported last week a new rate plan for all of its services, including an 83% increase in application fees for U.S. citizenship applications.

The federal agency is expected to publish its proposal for new rates, which includes reductions in the costs of some procedures but also significant increases to others on Nov. 14.

After the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) publishes the rate plan in the Federal Register, the agency will have a period of 30 days to receive public opinion, as established by law. The plan is expected to go into effect Dec. 2, while the comment period will remain open.

"Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded. Federal law requires USCIS to conduct biennial fee reviews and recommend necessary fee adjustments to ensure recovery of the full cost of administering the nation's immigration laws, adjudicating applications and petitions and providing the necessary infrastructure to support those activities," the USCIS said in a press release.

The rule proposes adjusting the USCIS fee schedules to a weighted average increase of 21% to ensure total cost recovery.

"Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year," the press release said, noting that the agency last updated its rate schedule in fiscal year 2017.

The rule would increase the U.S. citizenship application fee from $640 to $1,170. It would also increase the cost for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, applications (Form I-765 work permit plus fingerprinting) from $495 to $765.

Some procedures will see increases of more than 500%, such as Form I-881, Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule of Cancellation of Expulsion, which currently has a cost of $285 per person and $570 per family. The new cost would be $1,800, which in the first case represents an increase of 532% and in the second case an increase of 216%.

"USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures, just like a business, and make adjustments based on that analysis. This proposed adjustment in fees would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimizes subsidies from an already over-extended system," said Acting Director of USCIS Ken Cuccinelli in the press release. "Furthermore, the adjudication of immigration applications and petitions requires in-depth screening, incurring costs that must be covered by the agency, and this proposal accounts for our operational needs and better aligns our fee schedule with the costs of processing each request."

The USCIS plan also adds a new $50 charge per application for asylum seekers. At present, applicants do not pay when submitting application forms, which are financed with a percentage of other fees.

Proposed Rate Increases:

  • Form I-290B (Notice of Appeal or Motion) from $675 to $705.
  • Form I-485 (Application for Permanent Residence Registration or Adjustment of Status) from $1,140 to $1,610.
  • Form I-589 (Asylum Application) from $0 to $50.
  • Form I-751 (Petition to Cancel Residence Conditions) from $595 to $760.
  • Form I-765 (Work Permit) from $410 to $490
  • Form I-821D (DACA) from $0 to $0275
  • Form I-881 (Application for Suspension of Deportation or Cancellation of Expulsion) from $285 to $1,800.
  • Form N-400 (Naturalization Request) from $640 to $1,170

Proposed Rate Decreases:

  • Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card) from $455 to $415.
  • Form I-129 for H-2A (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) from $460 to $425.
  • Form I-129 for H-2B (Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker) $460 to $395.
  • Form I-129F (Foreign Fiance Petition) from $535 to $520.
  • Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition as a Foreign Worker) from $700 to $545.
  • Form I-191 (Request for Relief Under section 212 (c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) from $930 to $800.
  • Form I-485 (Application for Permanent Residence Registration or Adjustment of Status) from $1,140 to $1,120.
  • Form I-612 (Application for Exemption on Foreign Residence Under Section 212 (e) of the INA) from $930 to $525.
  • Form I-694 (Notice of Appeal Decision) from $890 to $725.
  • Form I-698 (Request for Adjustment of Temporary Status to Permanent Resident Under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act) from $1,670 to $1,615.
  • Form I-817 (Application for Family Unit Benefits) from $600 to $590.
  • Form I-910 (Application for Appointment as a Civil Doctor) from $785 to $650.
  • Form N-565 (Application for Replacement of Naturalization / Citizenship Document) from $555 to $545.
  • Form N-600 (Application for Citizenship Certificate) from $1,170 to $1,015.
  • Form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322) from $1,170 to $960.
  • USCIS Immigrant Fee of $220 to $200.
  • Biometric Services from $85 to $30 dollars.
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