As a Miami immigration lawyer, I noted with interest the fact that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a fee hike for most immigration applications and petitions. Below are some frequently asked questions.

How is the USCIS funded?

USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities. If you have any questions in regard to this, you should speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

Why is the USCIS raising application fees?

Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions.   This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions. Again, if you have any questions in regard to this, you should speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What happens if I don’t pay the new USCIS application fees?

Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them. If you have any questions in regard to this, you should consult with a Miami immigration attorney.

What are some examples of the USCIS fee increases?

  • A  fee increase of $45, or 8 percent, from $595 to $640 for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
    • USCIS will offer a reduced filing fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For 2016, this means, for example, that a household of four with an income between $36,000 and $48,600 per year could pay the reduced fee. Those eligible may apply for this option using the new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.
  • The fee for Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322, will increase from $550 or 600 to $1,170.
  • A new fee of $3,035 is required for Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center.

Again, if you have any questions in regard to the new filing fees, you should speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

When will the USCIS increase in filing fees take effect?

The new fees will be effective Dec. 23, 2016. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer. This means that if you or a loved one are thinking of adjusting your immigration status, now would be a good time to do so.

If you would like more information on immigration applications, or the increased filing fees levied by USCIS, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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