Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘USCIS Fee Increase’

29th October 2010

In recent postings on this blog, the administration has noted that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is poised to raise some of the costs and fees associated with American Immigration. To quote directly from the official website of USCIS:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers that its new fee schedule goes into effect Nov. 23, 2010.  Applications or petitions postmarked or otherwise filed on or after this date must include the new fee, or they will be rejected.

USCIS published the new fee schedule in the Federal Register on Sept. 24, following a comprehensive review of public comments received after publication of the proposed rule this summer.

The new fee schedule increases application and petition fees by an average of about 10 percent but does not increase the naturalization application fee.

Although no one likes to see fee increases, there are some who argue that an increase in processing fees is a necessary consequence of both inflation and the rising cost of the services sought. It should be noted that USCIS recently posted a shortfall and the recent fee increase would seem to be one response to this issue.

The new policy will also usher in new fees that have not previously existed. As they did not exist before it is not really correct to call the new fees “increases,” but as they result in new overall costs, the term increase could be used since the fee was technically increased from nothing to the new fee. To quote from another page of USCIS’s website:

The final fee rule establishes three new fees, including a fee for regional center designations under the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program, a fee for individuals seeking civil surgeon designation, and a fee to recover USCIS costs to process immigrant visas granted by the Department of State. Additionally, the final rule reduces and eliminates several fees, including some for servicemembers and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces who are seeking citizenship-related benefits. The final rule also expands the availability of fee waivers to additional categories.

It is interesting to note that one of the newly instituted fees involves the EB-5 visa (also referred to as an investor visa). There are those who posit that the EB-5 visa might become increasingly popular in the upcoming months as the American dollar remains somewhat low compared to other currencies. Therefore, some foreign nationals could invest in EB-5 programs at comparatively cheaper rates due to the current exchange rate with the dollar. This is a net benefit to the United States as influxes of foreign capital would likely prove beneficial in a monetary sense while the infusion of foreign investors with a stake in the American economy could prove to be a catalyst for future innovation, economic activity, and overall growth.

As noted in a previous posting, the USCIS fee associated with the K-1 visa is expected to decrease when the final rule in promulgated. Although, Department of State fees associated with the K1 visa interview have recently been increased.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Thailand.

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13th June 2010

With the recently announced fee increases associated with K visa applications filed overseas, there are many who feel that serious thought should be given to the type of visa a couple should petition to obtain. In the past, many couples who were thinking of marriage opted to apply for a US fiance visa, also referred to as a K1 visa. That being said, it was recently announced that the application fee for all K visas sought overseas would be increased from $131 to $350. Apparently, the resources accrued are to be used in furtherance of fraud prevention measures as well as implementation of measures meant to streamline the overall visa process. As the fee increase was only recently announced, it remains to be seen how newly acquired fees will be used on the Consular level. With that in mind, it has also been recently announced that USCIS may be raising fees for Immigrant visa petitions. For those who are unfamiliar with this blog, it should be noted that for purposes of traveling to the USA, the K1 visa and the K3 Visa are considered to be immigrant visas even though they do not automatically confer lawful permanent residence to the bearer upon entry in the USA.

Those seeking a US visa would be prudent to seriously consider their options because the costs associated with the process of applying for and obtaining a CR1 visa or an IR1 visa may be lower in some cases when compared to the costs associated with the K1 visa process. When viewed from a long term perspective the CR1 visa, although more time consuming to obtain, confers lawful permanent residence to the bearer upon entry and thereby negates the necessity of adjustment of status which is necessary for those who travel to the US on a K1 visa with the intent to marry the Petitioner and remain in the USA permanently.

In most cases, those wishing to bring a spouse to the USA are wise to bear in mind the fact that K3 visa applications, once a popular travel document for bi-national married couples, are now being administratively closed by the National Visa Center if the underlying I-130 is approved prior to, or at the same time as, the I-129f application. This has lead to many instances of spouses being required by circumstance to process a CR1 or IR1 visa rather than a K3 visa because the NVC simply will not process the K3 application.

For those interested in further information about US Immigration please see: American Visa Thailand.

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