Immigration Filing Fees to Increase
How much does it cost to file an immigration application or petition in the United States? Regardless of what those fees used to cost, they will rise this December. According to a news release from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions will increase, and those new fees take effect as of December 23, 2016. The fees may impact immigrants who are seeking certain benefits. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we are here to help Muslims in Oakbrook Terrace who have questions about immigration fees and other matters related to immigration applications and petitions.
Learning More about the Immigration Fee Increases
As the news release explains, USCIS will raise its fees, based on a final rule published in the Federal Register back in October, in an effort to provide additional funding to the agency. Specifically, the news release notes that “USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applications and petitions for immigration benefits,” and in order to keep up with costs, federal law requires that USCIS review its fee schedule every two years to “determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests, and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.”
In the last six years, USCIS has not raised its fees. Now in 2016, however, the fee increase will be a large one. To be sure, fees will rise by a “weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions,” according to the news release. Since the effective date for the fee increase is December 23, 2016, any immigration applications or petitions postmarked on or after that date must provide the correct increased fee amount or the materials will not be processed by USCIS.
Impact of USCIS Fees Increases upon Immigrants
What does USCIS have to say about how the fee increase will impact immigrants? According to USCIS Director León Rodriguez, “we are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews.” However, as Rodriguez went on to explain, USCIS believes the rise in fees is necessary to continue its operations.
As an article from the American Immigration Council explains, processing times are also likely to increase with increased fees, making certain immigration applications and petitions more difficult. Moreover, the Council voiced concerns that the fee increases “may present a barrier to naturalization, or to obtaining documents proving citizenship, for some people who cannot afford the new fees.” What are some of the most salient fee increases? Both the USCIS news release and the American Immigration Council cite the following:
- Increased fees for DACA beneficiaries. Including an increase from $380 to $410 for the Application for Employment Authorization (I-765) and an increase from $360 to $575 for the Application for Travel Document (I-131);
- Three-level fee structure for naturalization application, with standard fee increases from $595 to $640;
- Application for Certificate of Citizenship (N-600) increases from $600 to $1,170; and
- Application for Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document (N-565) rise from $345 to $555.
Contact an Oakbrook Terrace Immigration Lawyer
If you have concerns about how the USCIS fee increases may impact you, or if you have questions about filing an immigration application or petition, an experienced Oakbrook Terrace immigration lawyer can assist you. We have years of experience advocating for members of the Muslim community in DuPage County, and we can speak with you today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office for more information about our services.