Department of Homeland Security Will Increase Immigration Filing Fees on October 2, 2020!
On July 31st, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its decision to adjust the fees for certain immigration and naturalization petitions. The final rule was initially revealed on November 2019 in a proposed regulation. It will become effective on October 2, 2020.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that process immigration applications. USCIS is fee funded unlike many government agencies. Nearly 97% of USCIS’ budget is covered by the filing fees collected and deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account. USCIS conducted its most recent comprehensive biennial fee review as required by federal law. The agency concluded that the current fees do not recover the cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services. Therefore, DHS is adjusting the fees by a weighted average increase of 20 percent to help recover the operational costs. The statutory provision, INA section 286(m), 8 U.S.C. 1356(m), authorizes DHS to charge fees for adjudication and naturalization services at a level to “ensure recovery of the full costs of providing all such services, including the costs of similar services provided without charge to asylum applicants and other immigrants.”
The Final Rule removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, and modifies inter-country adoption processing. Some of the changes to impact future immigration applications are 1) The mandatory $50 application fee for asylum seekers. According to DHS, this application fee is intended to help limit the increase of other fees that must otherwise be raised to cover the estimated full cost of adjudicating asylum applications, 2) The final rule will eliminate bundled adjustment of status filings. Before the final rule, individuals applying for an adjustment of status could concurrently file, at no additional cost, an I-131, Application For Travel Document and I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Effective October 2nd, 2020, individuals applying for adjustment of status will need to pay the filing fees for each application separately.
The table below details the fee adjustments for certain immigration benefits. You will notice that the biggest change is for citizenship applications. The price to file for citizenship will increase by over 80 percent!
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its decision to adjust the fees for certain immigration and naturalization petitions effective October 2nd, 2020. In its Final Rule, DHS announced an adjustment of fees by a weighted average increase of 20 percent to help USCIS recover its operational costs. The Final Rule removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, and modifies inter-country adoption processing. The Final rule is intended to ensure that USCIS has all the necessary resources to provide adequate services to all applicants and petitioners.
Patricia Elizee is the managing attorney at the Elizee Law Firm. The firm focuses on immigration and family law cases. The Elizee Law Firm can be reached at ph:305-371-8846 and is located at 1110 Brickell avenue, suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131.