Fees for more than three dozen immigration and naturalization applications or related services are proposed to increase by as little as $15 to as much as hundreds of dollars for some common categories.
The Department of Homeland Security released its proposed changes to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule on May 4, 2016, affecting its fees for services. The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register (81 FR 26904, 5/4/16) and is open for comment. Comments are due by July 5, 2016. The proposed changes are likely to go into effect this fall.
Fees would increase, for instance, by $45 for an application for naturalization and by $195 for an application for a fiancé visa. The rules also include one new fee of $3,035 to recover the full cost of processing the Employment Based Immigrant Visa, Fifth Preference (EB-5) Annual Certification of Regional Center, Form I-924A. In addition, the DHS proposal would clarify that people who apply for a benefit may be required to appear for biometrics services or an interview and to pay the biometrics services fee, among other changes
What will change under the proposed rule:
USCIS has proposed a three-level fee for the Application for Naturalization (N-400). Under the proposed rule, the standard filing fee for Form N-400 would increase by 8 percent (from $595 to $640). A welcomed change is a new proposed partial fee waiver for naturalization applicants, for those with household incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Applicants for the partial fee waiver would use a proposed new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee, that would be filed with the N-400 and the reduced fee of $320 (with the biometrics fee, the total fees would be $405). USCIS estimated 11 percent of average annual Form N-400 filings would be likely to quality for the lower fee.
Among the more substantial increases proposed is for Forms N-600 and N-600K, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. The current fee is $600 and DHS proposes raising it to $1,170 (a 95 percent increase). While the Certificate of Citizenship may be considered an optional form, it may be required when someone applies for certain other benefits, including, but not limited to: Social Security benefits; state issued ID including a driver’s license or learning permit; financial aid; employment; and passport renewal. Eligible applicants for Forms N-600 and N-600K may apply for a fee waiver.
The proposed rule increases the fees for Forms I-130 by 27 percent and I-485 by 16 percent. Under the current fee schedule, the total of filing fees for a one-step, concurrent filing of Form I-130, Form I-485, Form I-765 and Form I-131 is $1,490. Under the proposed fee schedule, the total fees would be $1,760. USCIS also proposes an increased fee of $750 for a child under age 14 when filing Form I-485 concurrently with the application of a parent seeking classification as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, a family-sponsored preference immigration or a family member accompanying or following to join a spouse or parent. The current fee is $635.
Nonimmigrant Workers, including Religious Workers
USCIS proposes to increase the fee for Form I-129 from $325 to $460, a 42 percent increase. This is the first significant increase to this application since 2007.
Another significant increase under the proposal is for Form I-131, Application for Advance Parole not filed concurrently or subsequent to filing Form I-485. Among CLINIC affiliates, such stand-alone applications for Advance Parole are most commonly filed by recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status. The current filing fee is $360. The proposed fee is $575, a 60 percent increase. The form is not eligible for fee waiver. The fee for refugee travel documents will remain the same.
Employment Authorization Documents
USCIS proposes to increase the fee for Form I-765 from $380 to $410, an 8 percent increase. This increase affects applicants for work authorization, including foreign students approved for Optional Practical Training, spouses of certain nonimmigrant visa holders, recipients of DACA and TPS applicants.
Replacing Permanent Resident Cards
The fee for Form I-90 is proposed to increase from $365 to $455, a 25 percent increase. USCIS still can waive this fee for those who demonstrate inability to pay. Low-income applicants who qualify for naturalization and the respective fee waivers may choose to apply for naturalization rather than replace permanent resident cards.
What will stay the same under the proposed rule:
- Biometrics services fee remains $85
- Refugee Travel Documents fee remains $135 for adults and $105 for children under 16
- Forms I-821 ($50) and I-821D ($0) remain the same
- Premium processing fee remains $1,225
- Interim filings, (concurrently filed Forms I-131 and I-765 with Form I-485) will continue to pay only the I-485 fee