USCIS announces new visa fees

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will be raising the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions.

USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.

From 23rd December, fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 per cent for most applications and petitions. USCIS says that this increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by them. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.

The new fees will be listed on the Our Fees page of the USCIS website. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after 23rd December must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.

“This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews.”

Rodríguez continued: “However, as an agency dependent upon users’ fees to operate, these changes are now necessary to ensure we can continue to serve our customers effectively.  We will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalisation applicants with limited means.”

Click here to find out how much more you can expect to pay when applying for your US visa.

Article published 25th October 2016