Planning to apply for a visa or green card? You should know that fees charged by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for most applications will increase about 21% on December 23, 2016.
According to the USCIS, this increase is necessary cover the full cost of services, including the costs for fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other applicants who are exempt from fees.
Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.
“This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “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 an agency dependent upon users’ fees to operate, these changes are now necessary to ensure we can continue to serve our customers effectively. We will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means.”
According to the USCIS, those applying for citizenship (N-400 application for naturalization) will see “a modest fee increase of $45, or 8 percent, from $595 to $640.” However, there’s a new reduced filing fee for naturalization applicants with family incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, so that an applicant from a four person household with an income between $36,000 and $48,600 per year could pay the reduced fee.
Some of rising application fees are:
$460 I-129 Petition for non-immigrant visa applications
$700 I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (green card)
$535 I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
$1140 I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (plus $85 biometrics fee)
If you can, save on your application fees by applying before December 23.
I hope this article helps you understand basic immigration requirements, but please don’t consider it as legal advice or legal opinion about your specific circumstances. For legal advice for your unique situation, you are invited to schedule an immigration strategy session with me.