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U.S. Immigration
 
 
United States Immigration column and commentaries
 
FEB 2007: Consulates No Longer Authorized to Adjudicate I-130s
 
JAN 2007: Personal Interview Now Required For Visa Applicants
 
DEC 2006: Proposed Visa Screen Blanket Denial is Unfair
 
NOV 2006: Hardship waiver of the two year J-1 Residency
 
APR 2006: Compromise Bill Emerges Despite Senate Bickering
 
MAR 2006: Immigration Reform: Looking beyond border patrols for answers
 
MAR 2003: Immigrant Visa Processing of Foreign Nurses
 
JAN 2003: Asylum and the Child Status Protection Act
 
DEC 2002: Recalculating Age for purposes of relief
 
NOV 2002: New relief for "Age-Out" cases
 
FEB 2002: Update: Child Citizenship Act of 2001
 
JAN 2002: Tips: Preparing your "B" visitor extension requests
 
DEC 2001: The U.S. economic downturn: How the non-immigrant can weather the storm
 
NOV 2001: Possible immigration consequences of the events of Sep. 11, 2001
 
APR 2000: Business immigration
 
MAR 2000: Employment-based adjustment applicants
 
FEB 2000: INS clarifies status of H1B woker while on leave
 
JAN 2000: Immediate opening for nurses
 
DEC 1999: Practical tips in dealing with the US consulate in Manila
 
NOV 1999: INS Processing delays and how to live with them
 
OCT 1999: How to maximize your changes of obtaining a B2 tourist visa
 
SEP 1999: In the aftermath of  245(i) who benefits?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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US IMMIGRATION UPDATES

LEGAL NOTES / FEB 7 2007

 
File now Before Sharp Rise in USCIS Fees

By Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq.

  The big news in the immigration front is the proposal of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to increase filing fees in some cases more than 200 percent. To get a better picture of the dollars-and-cents impact of this proposal, here is a brief rundown of the current versus proposed fees of the most common petitions and applications filed with the USCIS.

For an alien relative petition (I-130), the current fee of $190, will rise to $355; for an alien worker petition (I-140), the current fee of $195, will be increased to $475; for adjustment of status applications (“I-485,” a.k.a., “green card applications”) the current $325 fee will rise to $905; for employment authorization applications (I-765), the current $180 fee will be jacked up to $340; and for citizenship applications (N-400), the $330 fee will become $595.

The proposal is still up in the air, although it seems the USCIS is pushing hard on this massive fee increase. The prudent move for those seeking immigration benefits, including those who are eligible for naturalization is to file their applications and petitions immediately. While it may be possible that public clamor would eventually convince the USCIS to minimize the proposed increase, an increase is nevertheless very likely. Thus, now is the best time to file.

 
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There had already been a four-fold rise in filing fees over the past 12 years, observes the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in a recent press release. USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez previously stated that the USCIS is aiming to see a “20 percent improvement in processing times by the end of 2009.”

According to AILA, the fee increases will be used to fund not only the services for petitioners and application, but for other USCIS expenses, including law enforcement, particularly, background checks.

AILA, however, said it is not convinced that the money from new increases will be put toward improving the antiquated systems that have caused delays in the path to citizenship.

Key leaders in Congress and the press have echoed the objection to the proposed USCIS fee increase.

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), as well as Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chairmen of the Judiciary Committee and Immigration Subcommittee of the Senate and House, respectively, have already written to the USCIS to ask that the fee increase be held in abeyance pending their examination of the cost estimates and other bases for the fee increase. They further requested the USCIS to notify them in advance of plans to finalize the fee increase and its timeline for implementation.

 
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The New York Times editorial on February 4, 2007 depicted the proposed fee increase with a startling picture of Lady Liberty holding up the lamp beside the golden door with one hand, while plucking out bills from immigrants’ pockets with the other. It chastised Congress for failing to appropriate federal funds for USCIS operations.

The Times added that because all Americans benefit from the healthy, invigorating flow of naturalized citizens, all Americans, not just the “newest and least powerful ones” should help pay for USCIS operations.



REUBEN S. SEGURITAN has been practicing law for over 30 years. He was former immigration editor and is author of a book on immigrant experiences. He frequently speaks on immigrant issues and for his advocacy efforts he was the recipient of two presidential awards by President Ramos and an award by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. He previously taught business law and international politics. For further information, you may call him at 212 695 5281 or log on to his website at www.seguritan.com
 
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