By: Natalia Ricardo*
On Friday, September 24, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its final rule on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) fee schedule, first proposed on June 11, 2010. The rule results in an average 10% increase in fees. Additionally, the rule establishes three new fees associated with the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, the Civil Surgeon Designation, and processing of Immigrant Visa requests. There is also an adjustment of the Premium Processing service fee. USCIS maintained that the fee increase was a necessary means to recover operating costs. The rule will take effect on November 23, 2010; meaning that all applications or petitions mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after November 23, 2010 will be subject to the fee increase.