Introduction U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announces a proposal to adjust the fees for applications and petitions for immigration benefits. The proposal would increase fees by an average of about 10 percent, but would not increase the fee for Citizenship Application. USCIS is an agency that relies heavily on fees, which makes up about 90 percent of its budget. Fees are paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration services. The law requires USCIS to conduct an analysis of its fees every two years to determine if the agency is generating sufficient revenue to administer federal immigration laws, process applications, and provide the infrastructure to support these activities. The proposal is the result of a comprehensive tariff analysis that began in 2009. USCIS revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 was well below forecast and revenue for fiscal year 2010 remains low. Although USCIS received funding from Congress and cut its budget by about $160 million, this has not been enough to bridge the gap between expenses and falling revenues. The fee adjustment detailed in the proposed rule is necessary for USCIS to obtain the necessary funds to operate and meet the processing time goals identified in the 2007 regulations. Main aspects of the proposed tariff regulation for 2010 The proposed regulation would increase the rates for applications by approximately 10 percent. Given the importance of citizenship, USCIS has proposed that the rate of the Naturalization Application not be increased. The proposed regulation establishes three new quotas:

  • Name of the Regional Center for the Pilot Program for Immigrant Investors (EB-5)
  • Appointment of individuals as civil surgeons
  • Expenses related to the processing of immigrant visas granted by the Department of State

The regulations also propose to adjust the rates for the expedited processing service. This will ensure that USCIS can continue to modernize and achieve the goal of being a more efficient and effective organization. The proposed rule reduces the fees for five applications and petitions, for which processing costs have fallen:

  • Alien Fiancé Petition (Form I-129F)
  • Application for Extension/Change of Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539)
  • Application to Adjust Status from Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident (Form I-698)
  • Application for Family Unit Benefits (Form I-817)
  • Application for Replacement of Citizenship/Naturalization Document (Form N-565)