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Immigration Filing Fees May Soon Increase in the U.S.

From now until July 5th, 2016, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will listen to comments from the public with regard to proposed increases in immigration filing fees.

The DHS is seeking to raise the processing fees of various petitions and applications. For example, the popular H-1B visa that employers file on behalf of foreign skilled workers will increase to $460 from $325.

One filing fee increase that will certainly be discussed is the Form I-130, which is used by Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process petitions filed on behalf of foreign relatives who seek legal residency. The proposed raise of the I-130 will take it to $535 from $420.

An even higher fee increase will be absorbed by U.S. citizens who sponsor a spouse as a fiancé or fiancée. In this case, the fee increase will jump from $340 to $535.

One of the most interesting proposals for an increase would apply to the Form I-526, which is used to process applicants interested in the EB-5 investor visa program. This particular program made headlines during the Great American Recession, which lasted from 2008 to about 2013. USCIS officials promoted the EB-5 program, which requires a considerable cash investment and job creation, as a way to stimulate the ailing American economy. Anti-immigration activists criticized the promotion of the EB-5 program as a demeaning opportunity for wealthy foreigners to easily buy a green card.

Thanks to the recovering economy being enjoyed in the U.S., the EB-58 program is no longer being heavily promoted, and the DHS would like to increase its filing fee by more than 100 percent: from $1,500 to $3,675.

Lesser increases are being sought for employment authorization cards, which currently cost $380 per I-765 petition. If approved, the new fee would stand at $410, which can be a considerable burden for low-income applicants. The Adjustment of Status package, which includes the I-485 plus the biometrics fee, would climb to $1,225.

It is important to remember that the increases are still at the proposal stage and may not be approved if substantial arguments are made against them. At the same time these filing fee increases are being sought, fee waivers are also being considered for immigrants who are seeking naturalization but cannot afford the fees.

For more information or help with any immigration issue, reach out to KS Visa Law. We offer free immigration consultations in San Diego and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today (858) 874-0711. We are here to help.

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