USCIS proposed a fee increase for certain immigration services, including applications for naturalization and certain types of visas. The proposed fee increase would affect a wide range of individuals, including those seeking to become naturalized citizens, as well as those applying for nonimmigrant visas such as H-1B, L-1, and E-2 visas. The proposed fee increase would also apply to individuals seeking employment authorization documents and those seeking to renew their green cards.
The text of the proposed rule is now available and is noted at the bottom of this article. There is a variable fee for Form I-129 depending on the type of status sought, such as H-1B, L-1, TN, etc. The I-129 fee increase ranges between 70% – 201%. The current I-129 fee is $460.
According to the USCIS, the proposed fee increase is necessary to “ensure the agency has the resources it needs to maintain processing times, reduce backlogs, and improve its services.” The agency claims that it has not raised fees for many of its services in over a decade and that the proposed increase is necessary to keep pace with the rising costs of providing immigration services.
However, the proposed fee increase has faced widespread opposition from immigrant advocacy groups and some members of Congress. Critics argue that the fee increase would place an undue burden on immigrants and could discourage people from seeking legal immigration status. They also argue that the fee increase is unnecessary, as the USCIS already generates sufficient revenue through fees to cover its costs.
At this time, it is unclear when or if the proposed fee increase will take effect. The USCIS is required to allow for a period of public comment before implementing any changes to its fees. It is possible that the agency will make changes to the proposed fee increase based on the feedback it receives during this period.
In conclusion, the proposed fee increase from the USCIS has generated significant controversy and opposition. While the agency argues that the increase is necessary to maintain its operations, critics argue that it would place an undue burden on immigrants and is unnecessary given the agency’s current fee structure. Procedural rules require that the proposal go through a formal notice-and-comment period that will likely last 60 days, during which time any member of the public may submit feedback.
Here is a link to the proposed rule: https://lnkd.in/eQSvXPGY