USCIS to Raise Filing Fees: Filers to Pay More and Service Delivered Declines
Jan 28, 2020
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 28, 2020 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed to make significant increases to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filing fees. The new rule would impact filings for many different immigration services, ranging from applications for asylum to naturalization.
A notice on the proposed fee hike was posted in the Federal Register on November 14, 2019. DHS has extended the deadline for the public comment period from December 16 to December 30, 2019, to allow stakeholders more time to provide input.
“The proposed new fees would nearly double for naturalization applicants, for employers seeking to employ guest workers, or for employers seeking to transfer upper level personnel from abroad into related U.S. companies, in addition to a host of other fee increases,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “This is at a time when USCIS requires massive documentation beyond its own regulatory requirements for most cases, causing significant delays in nearly all case adjudications without improving process integrity, effectively raising the standard of proof beyond that required by case law. It also seeks to transfer about $200 million from user paid benefits fees to ICE for enforcement functions, which is contrary to its user funded mission. With fees reaching the $1,000+ range for some poor applicants, the real question here is the actual goal of these new fees: to recoup additional expenses, or to deter filings, or both.”
Existing fees for immigration-related applications are expected to increase by an average of 21 percent under the proposal. The fee change will not have equal impact on all immigration services. DHS is also implementing new fees for certain benefit requests and eliminating some fee waivers.
As an example, USCIS proposed to increase naturalization filings from $640 to $1,170. An H-1B petition fee alone will be increased 22 percent to $560, not counting a required $500 anti-fraud fee, nor a $1,500 Special Education fee, nor a $1,440 Premium Processing fee that U.S. employers would pay for high skilled workers in short supply.
USCIS announced its plans to increase fees amid burgeoning petition backlogs and processing delays. The proposed new fees are designed to mitigate an estimated $1.3 billion shortage in the agency’s annual funding. Despite the shortfall, the concept of user paid fees for services provided at some point may rise to a point where for many applicants, USCIS fees may become unaffordable.
By Appointment Only
Three Galleria Tower
13155 Noel Road, Suite 900
Dallas, TX 75240
- CRS Issues Report on Repurposing Funds to Build a Border Wall
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report that examines the federal statutes that the Trump Administration has cited to repurpose funds from existing appropriations to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. CRS also discussed multiple lawsuits that have been filed challenging the Administration’s actions. Congress appropriated $1.375 billion to the Department of Homeland …
- USCIS to Limit Some Nonimmigrant Change or Extension of Status Applicants Based on New Public Charge Rule
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on August 14, 2019, announced its final rule on inadmissibility on public charge grounds that imposes a new public benefit condition on individuals who apply for a change or extension of nonimmigrant status. The new rule was originally scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019. But on October …
- USCIS Issues Proposed New H-1B Registration Rules
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a rule change that requires each H-1B petitioning employer to pay a $10 filing fee for every electronic registration submitted to the agency for each H-1B worker who is to be counted in the H-1B cap selection. H-1B petitioning employers whose foreign national beneficiary qualifies for the …