In a recent announcement, USCIS, as part of their annual budget review and due to lower-than-estimated fee revenue collection, proposed a fee increase that will amount to an average increase of 10% across the board.
A formal proposal has been published in the Federal Register and there is a 45-day comment period. Some of the increases are substantial, especially when considered in conjunction with the ~60% fee increase done in 2007. For example, an I-130 petition for an alien relative will jump from $355 to $420. An I-131 application for a travel document goes up by $55, and an application for an employment authorization document increases by $40. Adjustment of status fees will increase by $55. Businesses will also need to pay more – I-140 petitions for immigrant workers are increasing by over $100, premium processing fee is going up by $225 and a brand new fee of $6,230 is proposed to establish a Regional Center under the EB-5 program.
The USCIS justification is plain – our costs are high, our revenues are low, we need to either decrease service (by having less adjudicators and by increasing processing times) or to raise fees. In a conference call to discuss the fee increase, USCIS Director Mayorkas explained that the fee increase is necessary to bridge the $160 million budget shortfall at the agency.
The 45-day comment period is due to expire in late July, so we encourage our readers and clients to comment on the proposed fee increase. We will continue monitoring this proposal and will announce any developments with respect to any changes to the rule or to its effective date. Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.