If you have an immigration process to file, you’d better consider submitting your application before December 23, 2016, when higher fees will be charged for immigration services by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Some fees will be increased as little as $15, but others will be higher.
The increase is coming after a process in which USCIS requested a review, proposed new fees, and gave the public the opportunity to comment on the impact of such increases. They received 436 comments during the 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule, published May 4.
This price hike was considered necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS including fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing. Additionally, the new fees are needed to offer services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants, as well as fee waivers or exemptions to individuals with disabilities, among others.
Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees, or USCIS will not be able to accept them.
“If you’ve been thinking about filing a petition for a family member or you are up for citizenship, and you haven’t really thought of it as much, you should probably make a plan,” says Emmanuel Villegas, immigration specialist and Chicanos Por La Causa consultant. Chicanos por la Causa has a BIA-certified Family Immigration Clinic in Somerton, Arizona.
Among the changes approved are:
- A modest fee increase of $45, or 8 percent, from $595 to $640 for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- USCIS will offer a reduced filing fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For 2016, this means, for example, that a household of four with an income between $36,000 and $48,600 per year could pay the reduced fee. Those eligible may apply for this option using the new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.
- The fee for Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322, will increase from $550 or $600 to $1,170.
- A new fee of $3,035 is required for Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center.
Please note there is no increase in the Biometrics Service Fee.