On December 23rd, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) noticeably increased the majority of its filing fees and application costs. Since most people do not spend their days tracking the business of a particular government agency, the price hikes went largely unnoticed. If you are thinking about filing for a visa application or any other process handled by the USCIS, you should first be aware of the new costs.
The USCIS cost increases affected (increases rounded to nearest whole number):
EB-5 petitions and relevant applications:
- I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur: $3,675 (145% increase)
- I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program: $6,230 (186% increase)
- I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center: $3,035 (new fee)
Miscellaneous immigrant petitions:
- I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: $700 (21% increase)
- I-130 Petition for Alien Relative: $535 (27% increase)
- I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence of Adjust Status: $1,140 (16% increase)
- I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence: $595 (18% increase)
- I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card: $455 (25% increase)
- USCIS Immigrant Fee: $220 (33% increase)
- I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: $460 (42% increase)
- I-539 Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status: $370 (28% increase)
- I-131 Application for Travel Document: $575 (60% increase)
- I-765 Application for Employment Authorization: $410 (8% increase)
- N-400 Application for Naturalization: $640 (8% increase)
The average USCIS fee increase, ignoring the spiked outliers and the entirely new fee, is 21%. The USCIS has stated that the fee increases are a direct reflection of the agency struggling to keep up with its own rising costs. Since the majority of all USCIS actions are funded completely by the income brought in by application and petition costs, the hope is that the increased costs will eventually benefit immigrant and nonimmigrant applicants. Namely, if the USCIS can expand due to an increased income, it might be able to process applications and petitions much faster than it does now.
The USCIS also does not offer any sort of refund or return policy on failed or incorrect applications. That is to say, if you file for the wrong visa and get denied, you could be out hundreds or thousands of dollars. To make certain you are selecting the right application or petition, and to increase your chances of having it accepted the first time through, be sure to work with Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. and our Cleveland immigration lawyers. We have 50+ years of total legal experience focused on immigration law.
Contact us online or call 888.491.8770 to start your petition.