U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule to adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees for the first time since 2016. The final rule will allow USCIS to recover a greater share of its operating costs and support more timely processing of new applications.
The final rule is the result of a comprehensive fee review, as required by law, and follows the January 2023 publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking. The review concluded that the current fee schedule falls far short in recovering the full cost of agency operations, including the necessary expansion of humanitarian programs, federally mandated pay raises, additional staffing requirements, and other essential investments.
The final fee rule includes several important updates since the initial rulemaking. The final rule:
- Lowers the agency’s required annual cost recovery by $727 million, in part by considering the budget effects of improved efficiency measures;
- Expands fee exemptions for Special Immigrant Juveniles and victims of human trafficking, crime, and domestic violence; U.S. military service members and our Afghan allies; and families pursuing international adoption;
- Provides special fee discounts for nonprofit organizations and small business employers;
- Allows for half-price Employment Authorization Document applications for applicants for adjustment of status and a reduced fee for adjustment of status applicants under the age of 14 in certain situations;
- Expands eligibility for a 50% fee reduction for naturalization applications, available to individuals who can demonstrate household income between 150% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; and
- Implements a standard $50 discount for online filers.
The new fees under the final rule will go into effect on April 1, 2024.
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