DHS Proposes Rule to Increase USCIS Filing Fees
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 27, 2016 – Most immigration filing fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would be increased under a rule change proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on May 4, 2016.
According to DHS, the fee schedule must be adjusted to maintain adequate service and to recover costs. The agency stated that it conducted a comprehensive fee review and determined that current fees do not recover the full cost of services which it provides. Under the proposed rule, USCIS fees would be increased by a weighted average of 21 percent, with one new fee added. DHS also proposes to clarify that people filing an application or petition may be required to attend a biometrics appointment and a pay a fee for biometrics identification services.
“The USCIS fee increase proposal comes at a time of substantial case backlogs. It is almost as if USCIS is to be rewarded for poor service by being permitted to charge higher fees,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney with Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “Under law the Department of Homeland Security must charge fees to ensure recovery of the costs of providing its services. One wishes that one day, in addition, it also must provide more timely services if it is to periodically raise fees.”
USCIS is primarily funded by fees charged to applicants and petitioners, which are deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account (IEFA) and used to fund the cost of processing immigration applications. USCIS calculates that if fees remain at their current levels, there will be a $560 million shortfall between IEFA revenues and costs.