The costs associated with processing certain immigration benefits in the United States are set to increase in 2023. According to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in January, the proposal may increase fees by more than 100 percent in some cases late this year, and the agency said this upward adjustment is necessary to address the considerable backlog of applications and petitions that accumulated during the Trump administration and the COVID-19 pandemic.
USCIS fees have been raised across the board on four occasions since 2000, but the cost to acquire the numerous forms the agency uses is still zero. USCIS forms have always been free to obtain, and this won’t change with the 2023 increase in processing fees. The current methods to obtain these forms include the following.
Online filing has become the most common method of completing and submitting free USCIS forms. Foreigners can register free USCIS accounts and access nearly 20 forms in this manner, which also allows for online payment of processing fees.
Most USCIS forms are available in PDF format, and they can be completed directly using a web browser or a third-party application such as Adobe Acrobat.
Individuals can also request paper copies of the forms by mail. USCIS continues to operate a Forms by Mail service that allows individuals to order forms and have them delivered to their personal addresses.
USCIS Field Offices
Physical copies of the forms are available for pickup at USCIS regional centers and other facilities where the agency conducts adjudications and interviews.
Authorized USCIS Partners
Some nonprofit community groups keep a supply of commonly filed forms. These include the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.
No one should pay for USCIS forms. Anyone who charges for them is engaging in a fraudulent offense, and the agency has been warning about such fraud since the 1990s. Selling government forms is part of the “notario scam” that targets those unfamiliar with the immigration system. The scam involves individuals who falsely represent themselves as “notarios públicos,” which are similar to attorneys and court officers in some Latin American countries. In the U.S., a notary public is an individual registered at the state level to witness the signing of documents. The literal translation of “notario público” is how the scam begins, and it continues with an offer to provide legal advice and assistance with USCIS forms. These individuals may sell forms, charge high fees for their services, and make promises or guarantees they cannot fulfill because they’re not immigration attorneys who are authorized to provide law-related immigration services in San Diego, CA.
Immigration Law Firms
Foreigners who retain the services of law firms don’t pay for USCIS forms. Legal immigration services start with a consultation, and they often include proper completion and submission of USCIS form packets. Immigration lawyers follow up on USCIS submissions and adjudications. They can also challenge USCIS decisions and even file appeals, but they’ll never charge for blank forms.
If you need help with any aspect of the immigration process, reach out to the caring, experienced San Diego immigration attorneys at KS Visa Law. From green cards to family immigration to naturalization, we can address all your immigration-related needs. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.