Get those citizenship applications in now if you qualify, or get ready to shell out more in fees to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services.
Fees for more than three dozen immigration applications are set to go up again by this fall. The Department of Homeland Security recently closed its comment period on the proposed fee changes.
The fee increases could be steep in some instances and minimal in others. For instance, an application for a fiancé visa could now increase by $195 and one new fee of $3,035 to recover the full cost of processing the Employment Based Immigrant Visa, Fifth Preference (EB-5) Annual Certification of Regional Center, Form I-924A.
Other proposed fee changes are as follows:
Fees for naturalization or citizenship applications could also increase again. The USCIS has proposed a three-level fee for the Application for Naturalization (N-400).
Under the proposed rule, the standard filing fee for Form N-400 would increase by 8 percent (from $595 to $640). But for Forms N-600 and N-600K, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, the fee could go up from $600 to $1,170 (a 95 percent increase).
Although the Certificate of Citizenship may be considered an optional form, it may be required when someone applies for certain other benefits, including, but not limited to, Social Security benefits, a state issued ID such as a drivers license or learner permit, financial aid, employment and passport renewal.
Family based residency
The proposed rule also increases the fees for Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, by 27 percent, and I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, by 16 percent. Under the current fee schedule, the total of filing fees for a one-step, concurrent filing of Form I-130; Form I-485; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document is $1,490.
Under the proposed fee schedule, the total fees would be $1,760.
USCIS also proposes an increased fee of $750 for a child under age 14 when filing Form I-485 concurrently with the application of a parent seeking classification as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, a family sponsored preference immigration or a family member accompanying or following to join a spouse or parent. The current fee is $635.
Employment authorization documents
USCIS proposes to increase the fee for Form I-765 or Application for Employment Authorization, from $380 to $410, an 8 percent increase. This increase affects applicants for work authorization, including foreign students approved for Optional Practical Training, spouses of certain nonimmigrant visa holders, recipients of DACA and TPS applicants.
Replacing permanent resident cards
The fee for Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is proposed to increase from $365 to $455, a 25 percent increase. USCIS still can waive this fee for those who demonstrate inability to pay. Low-income applicants who qualify for naturalization and the respective fee waivers may choose to apply for naturalization rather than replace permanent resident cards.
What will stay the same under the proposed rule?
Biometrics services fee remains $85
Refugee Travel Documents fee remains $135 for adults and $105 for children under 16
Forms I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, ($50) and I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, ($0) remain the same
Premium processing fee remains $1,225
Interim filings (concurrently filed Forms I-131 and I-765 with Form I-485) will continue to require only the I-485 fee.
The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.