In only a couple short weeks, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will raise the price of most of its application and benefits fees. The price change will be officially implemented on December 23, 2016, following an official confirmation in late October. For people seeking to gain or maintain visas, the price increases can feel more like a gouge to their pocketbooks, as some of the increases are as dramatic as 225% the previous cost and most averaging around 20 and 25%.
The vast majority of the USCIS is funded directly by the fees paid by hopeful immigrants and applicants. The increase could be reflective of potential upcoming administrative growth in the agency as border security and scrutiny is expected to increase in the coming years. The law that set the increases in motion also requires the USCIS to review their costs and fees once every two years for adjustment, either up or down; it would be expected to see more increases than decreases as the years go on.
The USCIS has stated that the increases will help the agency pay for:
- Fraud detection services
- National security monitoring and control
- General customer service
- Case processing and filing
- No-charge services to refugees of war
- Any other service paired with a waiver
In addition to price increases to existing policies nearly-entirely across the board, the USCIS has introduced a new service fee: Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center. Petitioners requiring this particular form will need to pay a $3,035, one of the highest amounts on the pricing list.
To review the full list of application and petition prices that will be implemented December 23, 2016, you can visit the USCIS website by clicking here. For additional information, questions, or concerns regarding visas and immigration law, you are encouraged to contact Akula & Associates, P.C. and our Dallas immigration attorneys today.