The Biden administration’s plan to raise the visa fees for various immigration categories has sparked a massive public outcry, as evidenced by the nearly 7,000 comments submitted to USCIS. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned New York immigration lawyer from the Lightman Law Firm to learn more about the proposed hike in green card filing fees and what it may mean for you. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What exactly is the proposed hike in green card filing fees?
The proposed fee hike, announced in January, would affect many people who want to come to the United States for work or family reasons. For instance, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who want to sponsor their relatives for green cards would have to pay 33% more, shelling out $710 instead of $535. Those who want to apply for marriage-based green cards would face an even steeper increase, from $1,760 to over $3,640, as the USCIS claims that verifying family ties is costly. The fees for fiancé visas would also go up by 35%, from $535 to $720.
Why is USCIS thinking about raising the filing fees?
The USCIS says that the fee increases are necessary to cover its operational costs, speed up processing times, hire more staff, and clear its backlog of pending cases. The agency suffered a 40% drop in revenue last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced the number of new applications. Unlike most federal agencies, the USCIS relies on filing fees for 96% of its funding, not on congressional appropriations.
Is this definite?
Whether the agency will proceed with the fee hikes proposed in January or will introduce a modified version based on feedback from the public remains unclear. However, families stuck in the visa process have criticized the government for proposing additional expensive fees before addressing cases that remain stuck in bureaucratic red tape. If implemented, this decision to raise filing fees can potentially have a devastating impact, particularly on low-income immigrants looking to become lawful permanent residents here in the United States.
If you have any further questions about this or any other green card-related matter, please don’t hesitate to contact the Lightman Law Firm today. We are here to help in any way we can.