Immigration benefit application and petitions fees will go up starting December 23, 2016. Applications or petitions mailed or postmarked on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new fees or be subject to being rejected. While some fees are remaining the same, others will see an increase by an average of 21 percent.According to USCIS, this fee increase is due to the lack of federal funding to cover costs associated with the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate (RAIO), the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program (other than what user fees cover), and the Office of Citizenship.A full list of the new fees is available on the USCIS Website.
Immigration advocates like the Attorneys of Acosta & Fraga Law, PLLC argue that certain increases, such as the increase in cost for naturalization applications, will effectively result in discouraging some people who cannot afford the new fee to apply for citizenship. Also, the fees for immigrant investors are increasing significantly which makes the U.S. less appealing for those seeking to invest and in turn hurts our economy.