The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a proposal to make substantial increases to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees. The notice was published in the Federal Register on November 14 and allows public comments until Monday, December 16.
USCIS is required by law to fund its adjudication and naturalization services through fees charged to applicants; the proposed fees average 21 percent higher than existing fees. In addition, the department has added new fees for certain benefit requests and eliminated some fee waivers.
The fees, as proposed, could change depending upon comments received and various legal and technical considerations. In order to determine the new fees, the agency was required to determine the costs involved in providing specific services, including the number of labor hours involved.
Individuals considering applying for immigration benefits would be wise to do so sooner rather than later. It is anticipated that the new fees will go into effect next spring. As an example, DHS proposes to increase the fee to apply for naturalization from $640 to $1,170, an increase of $530 or 83 percent.
Comments posted on the proposed rule were uniformly negative in character. Anna Serkiz wrote, “A grandson of an immigrant with two immigrant wives ... No wonder he hates immigrants!” Another person, Mary September, posted, “Once again you are proposing policies that would hurt families. Stop it! This is cruelty! If you need more money, grant citizenship quickly so these hard-working people can get on with their lives, focus on building their businesses, buy homes and pay their taxes. That will generate so much more revenue than these ridiculous fee hikes.”
To learn more about the USCIS fee hikes or to comment, go to bit.ly/34617E4.