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USCIS Proposed Rule with Adjustments to Fee Schedule and Other Changes

From our friends at AILA:

AILA Doc. No. 19110834 | Dated November 14, 2019

DHS proposed rule which would make changes to the USCIS fee schedule. DHS proposes to adjust USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 21 percent, add new fees, and make other changes, including form changes and the introduction of several new forms. Comments are due 12/16/19. (84 FR 62280, 11/14/19). If you are interested in commenting on the proposed USCIS fee increase click on the following link: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=USCIS-2019-0010-0001

The following table includes current fees for USCIS forms and proposed changes.

Form No. Form Title Current Fee Proposed Fee Difference Percent Change
G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request $65 $240 $175 269 percent
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request $65 $385 $320 492 percent
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $455 $415 -$40 -9 percent
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document $445 $490 $45 10 percent
I-129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $460 *DHS is proposing to separate Form I-129 into several forms. See below.  
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $535 $520 -$15 -3 percent
I-129CW (Proposed) Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker $460 $705 $245 53 percent
I-129E&TN (Proposed) Application for Nonimmigrant Worker: E or TN Classification $460 $705 $245 53 percent
I-129H1 (Proposed) Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: H-1 Classification $460 $560 $100 22 percent
I-129H2A (Proposed) Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: H-2A Classification $460 $860 (named); $425 (unnamed) $400 (named) 87 percent
I-129H2B (Proposed) Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: H-2B Classification $460 $725 (named); $395 (unnamed) $265 (named) 58 percent
I-129L (Proposed) Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: L Classification $460 $815 $355 77 percent
I-129MISC (Proposed) Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: H-3, P, Q, or R Classification $460 $705 $245 53 percent
I-129O (Proposed) Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: O Classification $460 $715 $255 55 percent
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $535 $555 $20 4 percent
I-131 Application for Travel Document $575 $585 $10 2 percent
I-131 Travel Document for an individual age 16 or older $135 $145 $10 7 percent
I-131 I-131 Refugee Travel Document for a child under the age of 16 $105 $115 $10 10 percent
I-131A Application for Carrier Documentation $575 $1,010 $435 76 percent
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $700 $545 -$155 -22 percent
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) $930 $800 -$130 -14 percent
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant $930/585 $1,415 $830/ $485 142/52 percent
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa $585 $2,790 $2,205 377 percent
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal $930 $1,040 $110 12 percent
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $675 $705 $30 4 percent
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant $435 $455 $20 5 percent
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $1,140 $1,120 -$20 -2 percent
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) $750 $1,120 $370 49 percent
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur $3,675 $4,015 $340 9 percent
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $370 $400 $30 8 percent
I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal $0 $50 $50 N/A
I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative $775 $810 $35 5 percent
I-600A Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition $775 $810 $35 5 percent
I-600A/I-600 Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-600A/I-600 N/A $405 $405 N/A
I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility $930 $985 $55 6 percent
I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver $630 $960 $330 52 percent
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) $930 $525 -$405 -44 percent
I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act $1,130 $1,130 $0 0 percent
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility $715 $770 $55 8 percent
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision under Section 210 or 245A $890 $725 -$165 -19 percent
I-698 Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA) $1,670 $1,615 -$55 -3 percent
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence $595 $760 $165 28 percent
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization $410 $490 $80 20 percent
I-800 Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative $775 $810 $35 5 percent
I-800A Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country $775 $810 $35 5 percent
I-800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A $385 $405 $20 5 percent
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits $600 $590 -$10 -2 percent
I-821D Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Renewal) $0 $275 $275 N/A
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition $465 $500 $35 8 percent
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status $3,750 $3,900 $150 4 percent
I-881 Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Removal $285/570 $1,800 $1,515/$1,230 532/216 percent
I-910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation $785 $650 -$135 -17 percent
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program $17,795 $17,795 $0 0 percent
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center $3,035 $4,470 $1,435 47 percent
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant $230 $1,515 $1,285 559 percent
I-941 Application for Entrepreneur Parole $1,200 $1,200 $0 0 percent
N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention $270 $1,320 $1,050 389 percent
N-336 Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings $700 $1,755 $1,055 151 percent
N-400 Application for Naturalization $640 $1,170 $530 83 percent
N-400 Application for Naturalization (Reduced Fee) $320 *DHS is proposing to remove the reduced fee option    
N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes $355 $1,600 $1,245 266 percent
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document $555 $545 -$10 -2 percent
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship $1,170 $1,015 -$155 -13 percent
N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 $1,170 $960 -$210 -18 percent
  USCIS Immigrant Fee $220 $200 -$20 -9 percent
  Biometric Services Fee $85 $30 -$55 -65 percent
  Dishonored Payments (Returned Check Fee) $30 $0 -$30 -100 percent

 

How does this affect us? 

  • The proposed rule would force USCIS customers to pay more for less. USCIS is proposing a 21% overall fee hike without offering evidence that this increase will reverse the ongoing deterioration of the agency’s immigration benefit services. In fact, in key respects the rule would further weaken USCIS’s case processing standards. If implemented, families, protection seekers, and American businesses throughout the country would face the dual burden of increased fees and decreased services.
  • The proposed fee hikes, coupled with the elimination of vital fee waivers, would price many individuals and families out of our legal immigration system. If the rule is implemented, application fees for green cards, along with associated work and travel authorization, would surge by 79%, and for citizenship by 83%. The rule would also eliminate fee waivers for those form types as well as for numerous others. Moreover, the rule would significantly raise fees for DACA renewal requests. Taken together, these changes constitute yet another brick in the Trump Administration’s “invisible wall” restricting legal immigration.
  • USCIS should rescind its inefficient policies rather than ratchet up fees to subsidize them. In recent years, USCIS’s own inefficient policies have comprised core drivers of its crisis-level case processing delays. Now the agency is proposing higher fees to fund their continued implementation—in effect, foisting onto the public the costs of its own inefficiency. To fix the backlog, the agency should start by ending bad policies—not by raising fees to underwrite them.
  • By imposing a fee on asylum applications, the rule could result in the deportation and even death of vulnerable protection seekers. Only three countries in the world charge fees for asylum—now the United States, one of the world’s wealthiest countries – threatens to become the fourth. The proposed fee for affirmative asylum applicants could prove prohibitive for many protection seekers. Children and families lacking financial recourse could be compelled to return to the countries they fled, only to face further persecution or even death.
  • The rule’s proposed transfer of over $200 million in USCIS applicant fees to ICE defies the agency’s service-oriented statutory mandate. Congress created USCIS to function as a service-oriented immigration benefits agency, distinct from the immigration enforcement missions of ICE and CBP. Yet the proposed transfer to ICE for immigration enforcement purposes makes clear that USCIS is prioritizing ICE’s work over its own.
  • Though the rule seeks to justify its fee increases in large part by citing a need for more staffing, over the past year the agency diverted hundreds of its employees to perform enforcement work for ICE and CBP. In recent years, the rate of new applications and petitions filed with USCIS has declined appreciably. Yet the rule asserts that the agency needs far more resources to properly process its workload. The rule fails to explain why, if that is the case, USCIS sent hundreds of its employees to perform enforcement work for ICE and CBP in FY 2019.
  • The proposed rule is bad for business. Among other harmful changes, the rule relaxes the premium processing deadline from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, which will result in slower adjudications at higher prices—and as a consequence, slower hiring for American businesses facing critical workforce gaps and an inefficient agency lessening its own accountability standards.
  • Consistent with longstanding practice, USCIS should extend the comment period for the proposed rule from 30 to 60 days. Although the proposed rule is more than twice as long as USCIS’s most recent fee schedule rule, the comment period is half that of its predecessor. A 30-day period is wholly insufficient for the publicly to properly comment on a regulation of this size and complexity.

 

Citation: AILA Doc. No. 19111438 and AILA Doc. No. 19110834.

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