On August 3, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule regarding fee adjustments for applications filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A copy of the complete final rule can be found here. The final rule will take effect on October 2, 2020.
According to the news release, “USCIS conducted a comprehensive biennial fee review and determined that current fees do not recover the cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services. DHS is adjusting USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 20% to help recover its operational costs. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by about $1 billion per year.”
The new rule includes new fee increases, removal of certain fee exemptions, as well as changes to fee waivers and premium processing requirements. Some key aspects of the rule are listed below:
- Increases fees by a weighted average of 20 percent
- Adds a $50 fee for asylum applications
- Removes the proposal to transfer money to ICE
- Retains some fee waiver
The new USCIS fees will undoubtedly impose hardships on immigrants and businesses. For example, USCIS is increasing “the cost of the application (N-400) to become a U.S. citizen by more than 80%, rising from $640 to $1,160 (for online filings, although a separate $85 biometrics fee would be eliminated).”
In addition, although there is a $10 decrease for adjustment of status applications, a separate fee will now be required for applications for employment authorization and advance parole (fees which were previously included with the adjustment of status application).
As the Trump administration continues to restrict immigration to the United States, this new rule is an additional measure that makes it more complicated and expensive for immigrants to pursue adjustment of status, citizenship, as well as other legal status within the country.