United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted an update that fee changes are coming. Those fee changes will have a significant impact on some application fees, and a minor change to other fees. If you have an immigration case that you are interested in filing, you may make an appointment with us for a free consultation to discuss your options before the fees increase.
USCIS must make these changes through a rule update. These changes are announced through the Federal Register. Once these rule changes are announced there is a period before the rules go into effect. The rule to change the fees was posted in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020 with an intent to make the rule effective on October 2, 2020. The intent is to start on that date, but there is litigation underway to block these changes as they are such a large change that they will block some individual from receiving the benefit.
One significant change is the change in price between filing a paper fee and filing online. It is without question that more issues have arisen for applications that file online because without the paper trail the applications can disappear. The applications also quit in the middle, the application is lost and you must start over. Due to this, all examples provided in the article will be for paper submissions to prove what was submitted and when.
Some examples of the more common applications and the changes to those fees include:
- Application for Asylum, from $0 to $50.
- Petition for Alien Relative increasing from $535 to $560, a 5% increase.
- Application to Register as a Permanent Resident from $1,140 to $1,130, a 1% decrease.
- Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence from $595 to $760, a 28% increase.
- Application for Employment Authorization (not DACA) from $410 to $550, a 34% increase.
- Application for Employment Authorization (DACA) is $410, unchanged.
- Application for Naturalization from $640 to $1,170, a 226% increase.
- Biometric Services (not DACA) from $85 to $30, a 65% decrease.
- Biometric Services (DACA) is $85, unchanged.
The clear items to call out on these changes include that USCIS anticipates DACA going away. Making no DACA changes gives less room for a legal appeal when the program is again terminated. Second, USCIS is making it more expensive to work. If it is more expensive to get a work permit then permit is less achievable. Third, removing conditions on a green card and gaining citizenship (naturalization) costs are increasing greatly. This approach to limiting the ability for individuals to join the United States as citizens is one of the reasons there is litigation taking place to block these changes.
If you have questions about your situation, or you are interested in getting a green card or citizenship for your family member, we offer a free consultation to review those options. We also offer payment plans so that you can get your process started without making a full payment up front. Contact us before the fees increase at (916) 917-5217! We look forward to speaking with you.
Andrew Schach is the Managing Attorney at Schach Law Group. These blog topics are not intended as legal advice as each individual's case and history are different. Call for free consultation to review your options at (916)917-5217.