Tuesday, May 29, 2007

USCIS Dramatically Increases Fees Starting July 30, 2007

USCIS announced today that it will be dramatically increasing its fees starting July 30, 2007. After reviewing over 3,000 comments, it made some slight modifications to the proposed fee increases it announced in February 2007. For example, it slightly reduced the fee for children who file for a green card along with their parents (sensible because it will take much less time when they are reviewed at the same time as their parents). Also, fee waivers can be requested for asylees, human trafficking victims, juveniles who fit a certain category of deserving juveniles, and domestic violence victims filing under VAWA. Special immigrant juveniles do not have to pay the $375 filing fee for the Form I-360 for SIJ status. And USCIS has the power to waive the $80 biometrics fee for those who get fee waivers on their main applications.

The new fees may cripple people's ability to obtain immigration status that they would otherwise be deserving of. It is hard to understand why immigrants must pay for the entire USCIS infrastructure when the government is the one with responsibility for enforcing the law and granting the benefits that Congress has created.


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