The Department of State (“DOS”) issued a fee increase effective June 4, 2010 for most nonimmigrant visa categories. The amount of the fee increase depends on the visa category. Most nonimmigrant visas have been increased to $140, such as the B-1/B-2 visa and Border Crossing Cards. Petition-based visa categories such as the H-1B, L-1, O-1, P, Q, and R visas have increased to $150, and applicants for E visas pay $390, which is a significant fee increase from the previous fee of $131. K fiancé visa applicants pay $350. DOS rounded the fee increases to the nearest $10 for the ease of converting to foreign currencies, which are most often used to pay the fee.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), a fee-based organization, recently issued a proposed regulation which would increase many filing fees by approximately 10%. USCIS’ fee revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 were much lower than expected, and fee revenue in fiscal year 2010 also remains low. USCIS asserts that a fee increase is necessary to ensure that it recovers the costs of its operations while also meeting it application processing goals. The proposed fee structure would establish three new fees, including a fee for regional center designations under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program ($6,230), a fee for individuals seeking civil surgeon designation ($615), and a fee to recover USCIS’ cost of processing immigrant visas granted by the Department of State ($165). The comment period on the proposed rule will end on July 26, 2010, with the new fee schedule implementation to be slated for the Fall of 2010.
The following is a comparison of the current and proposed immigration fees for some common applications and petitions:
Some fees will actually decrease as a result of lower processing costs, such as form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status ($300 currently decreasing to $290). Other applications and petitions to decrease filing fees include the following: form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, form I-698, Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident, form I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits, and form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.
Please send questions relating to the DOS fee changes or USCIS proposed fee increases to Jacqueline Lentini McCullough, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 630-262-1435.