In a press release issued on June 9, 2010, the USCIS announced that it has posted a notice in the federal register seeking an increase across the board on immigration applications. A handful of applications will see reduced filing fees. However, on the bulk of the applications the filing fees have been increased. The biggest increases are seen in petitions filed by investors for green cards under the EB-5 investor visa category. For the first time, there is a whopping $6,230 filing fee for applicants seeking designation of a “pilot program” area for regional investor visas. Also for the first time, the USCIS is charging medical doctors for applications to be recognized as “civil surgeons” to conduct medical examinations for immigrants. The fee for naturalization (currently $ 595) has not increased.
The filing fees for Form I-90, application for renewal of permanent resident card has increased by $75, to a new level of $ 365. Fees for relative petitions (I-130) will go up $65, to $ 420. The application fees for green card has increased by another $55, to a base fee of $ 985. Of course, where applicable, biometric (fingerprint and photo) services are also tacked on to these base fees, and these biometric fees have increased to $ 85. Advance Parole (I-131) applications have increased $ 55 to $ 360. EAD (Employment Authorization) applications have increased $ 40 to $ 380. Thus, the increased burden really hits hard at individual filers. Filing fees have increased on the vast majority of the most commonly filed applications.
The USCIS claims it has a $200 million budget shortfall and therefore has to make up this difference. Doubtless, we will see an additional fee increase in another two years. Note that this is NOT the final fee schedule, which will be determined and published only after the USCIS takes note of the comments received through July 26, 2010.
Copyright Farhad Sethna, Attorney, 2010