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Immigration Law Associates, PC

Visa Fee Increases Alongside a Proposed 10% USCIS Fee Increase

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The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have proposed an increase in the filing fees for certain applications.  Generally speaking, the fees will increase by 10% for most applications and three new fees will be added.   See us for quick efficient work before the fees go up.
In 2007, USCIS increased all filing fees by 60%, except for the Naturalization filing fee, which was increased by 70%.  The reason for this increase was to fix the deficit in the budget – USCIS was spending more money on paying employees to process applications than it was receiving through filing fees. Better service and quicker service was promised but NEVER received.  Instead delays increased even more.   When those increases came into effect, the result was not what USCIS expected.  Instead of fixing the deficit, this fee increase only made it worse because fewer immigrants could afford to file petitions. 
Now USCIS is faced with a deficit once again.  In 2008 and 2009 the deficit was almost $200,000,000 and this year it’s estimated to be $0.2 billion. According to Director Mayorkas, “there are three ways in which we can address a shortfall in revenue.
One is to seek appropriations from Congress; the second is to make budget cuts; and the third is to propose a fee rule. We have indeed made the budget cuts. As I have indicated, we have implemented $160 million in budget cuts. We have sought for the Fiscal Year 2011 budget a significant increase over the amount appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2010. We have a remaining gap.”  Thereby, the government sees the fee increase as the only other solution to this problem, even though it has failed to work in the past.
In addition to the fee increases, there are three new possible fees:
  1. A fee for regional center designators under the Immigration Investor Pilot Program.
  2. A fee for immigrants seeking civil surgeon designation.
  3. A fee to reimburse USCIS’s cost of processing immigrant visas granted by the State Department.
It has also been mentioned that the cost of certain applications, which have not been named, may go down.  This is because processing costs will be lower for those applications.  We have yet to see which applications these will be and what the price reductions might be.
 In addition to USCIS application fees going up, the Department of State (DOS) is also increasing prices for visa applications.  These fees went into effect on June 4, 2010.  The fees went up because:

  1. DOS to be able to financially cover the increasing cost of processing nonimmigrant visa applications
  2. DOS needs to have sufficient resources in order to be able to process applications. This especially applies to the nonimmigrant visas that are more difficult and more time-consuming to process.
  3. Cost of security has gone up because new security enhancements have been set in place.


Thereby, the new costs of filing nonimmigrant visas are as follows:

  • Tourist and other non petition-based visas – $140
  • Business visitor, student, and exchange visitor visas – $140
  • Temporary worker and trainee visa – $150
  • Intracompany transferee visa – $150
  • Aliens with extraordinary ability visa – $150
  • Athlete, artist, and entertainer visa – $150
  • International cultural exchange visitor visa – $150
  • Religious worker visa – $150
  • Fiancée of US Citizen visa – $350
  • Treaty-traders and treaty-investors visa – $390

Filed under: Immigration Issues

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