J. Molina Law Firm

NEWS: Immigration Filing Fee Increase

This year, on January 31, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final regulation that changes numerous immigration filing fee associated with the process of requesting immigration and citizenship benefits.

This filing fee increase is the first significant modification to fees that has been implemented since 2016, and it is beneficial to USCIS in terms of its management and financial issues. Many immigration applications will be required to pay much higher fees as a consequence of this. Particularly, family petitions and other family-based visas are among the groups who are most harmed negatively.

As of the beginning of this week, on April 1, 2024, this final regulation went into effect.

Why is there an increase in the filing fees?

In contrast to other government organizations, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is primarily supported by application fees, rather than by taxes or by Congress. With this self-sustaining approach, it is vital for the agency to change their fees on a regular basis in order for it to function well.

Only 4% of USCIS’s funding comes from money that Congress provides, whereas 96% of its funding is achieves through the money that USCIS receives from filing fees. Since 2016, the fees that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges have not been sufficient to cover its costs. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant decrease in the number of people applying for immigration.

USCIS plans to use the extra money to clear up backlogs of applications and speed up processing times. But the impact will rely on many things, such as the number of applications and the number of staff. They have stated that they intend to continue providing excellent customer service and promptly processing new applications.

Other Considerations

Fortunately, USCIS has always provided the information of filing fees in its website. You can always confirm through their fee calculator while selecting the right prompts or check their fee schedule online.

In an effort to make things more uniform, USCIS is also starting to digitize its processes. For example, most people who file forms online instead of by mail will get a $50 discount, if the application they want to apply for is available for a filing option online.

For more information, feel free to check USCIS’s website for Frequently Asked Questions on the USCIS fee rule of 2024.


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