When a foreign national files an application or petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) he or she must pay government filing fees the majority of the time. These fees can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Periodically, USCIS increases its government filing fees. USCIS recently published a proposed rule for comment in the Federal Register. This proposed rule requests an average 21% increase in government filing fees.
This significant fee increase is coupled with decreased services provided by USCIS. For example, USCIS use to allow foreign nationals to make Infopass appointments to inquire about their case in person. These appointments can no longer be scheduled online and may only be scheduled in very limited circumstances. All inquiries must begin with USCIS’s 1-800 number. In my own experience with the 1-800 number, I have noted lengthy wait times to speak with an officer. I have also encountered officers who were confused about basic tenants of immigration law and case processing.
One may ask why USCIS would propose a 21% average fee increase when it has systematically decreased the ability to reasonably inquire about a case. If you would like to take action, please visit this website to comment on the proposed rule: LINK. Comments are due no later than 12/30/2019 at 11:59 P.M.
Please feel free to reach out to me, Elizabeth Cuenca, Tampa Immigration Attorney with any questions regarding this topic.