The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to increase filing fees for various immigration services and benefits by an average of 21%.
In a news release on Friday, USCIS said it will soon publish a proposed new fees structure. The fees structure is scheduled to be published on the Federal Register on November 14th.
Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded and federal law requires the agency “to conduct biennial fee reviews and recommend necessary fee adjustments to ensure recovery of the full cost of administering the nation’s immigration laws, adjudicating applications and petitions, and providing the necessary infrastructure to support those activities.”
In the news release, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS, says the proposed adjustment in fees “would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimizes subsidies from an already over-extended system.”
“Furthermore, the adjudication of immigration applications and petitions requires in-depth screening, incurring costs that must be covered by the agency, and this proposal accounts for our operational needs and better aligns our fee schedule with the costs of processing each request,” added Cuccinelli.
USCIS says a weighted average increase of 21% would ensure the agency recovers 100% of its operating costs, adding that the current fee structure, if left unchanged, will leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year.
USCIS last increased its fees structure in fiscal year 2017, by a weighted average increase of 21%.
Below are the current filing fees for some immigration benefits (as of November 8th, 2019):
- Application for a Green Card (Form I-485): $1,225 (includes $85 biometrics fee) for applicants between the age of 14 and 78; $1,140 for those 79 and older or those under 14 and not filing with at least one parent
- Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130): $535
- Application for Citizenship (N-400): $725 (includes $85 biometric fee)
- Application for Employment Authorization (I-765): $410
- Application for a Travel Document (Form I-131): $660 (includes $85 biometric fee) for applicants between 14 and 79 years old; $575 for applicants 13 and younger, and for those 80 and older