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Cha-Ching! Increase Proposed for USCIS Fees

The cost of filing an employment-based petition to employ a foreign national and the cost of applying for legal permanent residence (also known as a green card) will soon increase as a result of a proposed United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rule published in the Federal Register on May 4, 2016.

After refining its cost accounting process and conducting a comprehensive fee review, USCIS has determined that immigration and naturalization benefit fees charged will need to be adjusted. The proposed USCIS Fee Schedule is currently listed in the Federal Register to allow for public participation in the rulemaking process. Comments including written data, views or arguments on all aspects of the rule can be submitted until July 5, 2016.

Under the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, USCIS must conduct fee reviews on a biennial basis. The results of the latest fee review for fiscal year 2016/2017 indicate that USCIS fees must be increased by a weighted average of 21% and one new fee added in order to ensure that recovery is made for the costs of USCIS service and to maintain USCIS service. USCIS is uniquely distinguished from other agencies in the Federal Government’s fiscal structure in that its existence and operations are funded not by congressional appropriations, but by the immigration and naturalization benefit fees charged to their applicants and petitioners. Most of the immigration benefit application and petition fees collected are deposited into The Immigration Examinations Fee Account (IEFA) and are subsequently used to cover the operating costs of the agency. USCIS can set the fee levels so that the full cost of the services it provides can be covered. Currently, the IEFA covers approximately 94 percent of the funding received for USCIS’ FY2015.

Below is a table of some of the current and proposed USCIS fees for immigration benefits and biometric services:

Immigration benefits request

Want more information? Contact our Immigration Law Group.

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