USCIS is strapped for cash and has been appealing to Congress for a bailout to the tune of $1.2billion. They had threatened to furlough 13,400 employees, however these plans have been put on hold after it was noted that USCIS accounts showed a surplus for the fiscal year 2020.
On Wednesday USCIS pleaded with lawmakers to provide the agency with the $1.2 billion, which it has been requesting claiming, that shortfalls in funding were due to the pandemic. The reality is that Trump’s anti-immigration policies over the last three and a half years have resulted in far less people filing because of the barrage of RFEs and denials issued by the agency. Additionally, USCIS has mismanaged funds to investigate cases of fraud, where there has been little or no evidence, including setting up a Denaturalization committee aimed at taking away people’s citizenship.
At the hearing on Wednesday Immigration advocates testified and stated that USCIS could undergo a complete audit before being provided with the funds to find out where the money has been spent.
However, in announcing a hike in fees USCIS claims that the current fees do not recover the cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services and is adjusting USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 20% to help recover its operational costs. USCIS further claims that the current fees would leave the agency underfunded by about $1 billion per year.
Below is a snapshot of some of the fee changes. While some fees have gone down others have increased by as much as 83%.
|Case Type||Current Fee||Percentage Change||New fee as of 10/2/2020|
|I-539 (Filed online)||$370||+5%||$390|
|I-539 (Paper filed)||$370||+8%||$400|
|I-485 fee for children under 14 years old||$750.00||+66%||$1,130|
|I-130 (Paper filed)||$535||+5%||$560|
|I-130 (Filed online)||$535||+3%||$550|
|N-400 (Paper filed)||$640||+83%||$1,170|
|N-400 (Filed online)||$640||+81%||$1,160|
The I-485 fee will no longer include EAD (Employment authorization) and AP (Travel document). There will be separate fees for these. $550 for the EAD and $590.00 for the travel document.
The new fees will go into effect October Oct. 2, 2020. Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or after this date must include payment of the new fees, otherwise USCIS will reject some applications.
The adjudication time for premium processing will also be extended from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.