Since we all want to end any interaction with a positive outlook, I will address the bad news from last week first. The bad news is that USCIS announced that new filing fees will go in effect beginning with October 2, 2020.
Why is this bad? After all, they are begging for a government bailout and need the money to keep almost 15,000 US workers employed, right? Not exactly. USCIS is funded by fees paid by applicants, and not by taxpayers’ money. When there are no applicants, they get no fees. Even before COVID-19 the number of applicants had been significantly reduced because so many of them are no longer eligible for any immigration benefits due to the public charge rule also known as the “wealth test” and other non-sensical barriers. No options means no applicants; no applicants means no filing fees; no filing fees means … let’s just raise the fees and make it even harder for people to apply? It does not make sense, but lately the immigration policy has not been making sense. This does not stop people from coming to the United States; it only stops those already here from working legally and paying taxes.
Permanent residents who want to become US citizens will now have to pay a fee that is 81 percent higher; it goes up from $640 to $1,170. A travel document application (such as advance parole) will not cost $1,110, a 76% increase. An application to preserve residency for naturalization is up 346% (three hundred and forty-six percent) from $355 to $1,585. Yes, there are some applications where the fees are up 3-10 percent. Also, there is now a filing fee for asylum applications.
At the same time, to encourage electronic filing, USCIS is giving a $10 discount to those taking advantage of this feature, if available for your specific application. Unless you absolutely must or the only option available is filing electronically, we do not advise it.
Applications filed last minute assume the risk of getting lost, being rejected (and needed to be refiled with the new higher fee), or receipts issued very late. If you have not yet filed your application, now is the time to do it.
Give us a call and let us help you with any of your immigration needs. We help people make the United States their permanent home.