New Application and Petition Fees Went Into Effect on July 30; Rep. Lofgren Introduces Bill to Void New Fees
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a reminder that, with the exception noted below, the new fee schedule is effective as of July 30, 2007. Applications or petitions postmarked or otherwise filed on or after that date must include the new fees. The exception is that the fee schedule in place before July 30 will apply to “[a]ll I-765 and I-131 applications based on employment-based adjustment of status applications filed pursuant to Visa Bulletin #107” through August 17, 2007. Those applications may no longer be electronically filed and must be submitted to a Service Center via regular mail or courier service, USCIS said.
USCIS also recently posted and then withdrew an announcement that it would take offline for maintenance its e-filing system and posted the new I-485 application form to reflect higher fees, despite the dispensation to file at the old fee through August 17.
Meanwhile, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.) introduced a bill on July 30, 2007, to void the increases in immigration fees. The bill, which would reinstate the previous fee structure, states that USCIS has failed to reduce application backlogs and has suffered from a lack of transparency and effective management. “Our immigration services need to move into the 21st century,” Rep. Lofgren said. “But USCIS has consistently failed to explain or justify the amounts and distributions of this new fee increase. While I agree that USCIS needs to modernize its existing infrastructure and procedures, they must do so in a transparent and open manner. After repeated requests over several months, USCIS has yet to provide Congress with a detailed plan for its infrastructure modernization efforts. Our immigration system should be both effective and fair; sacrificing one to achieve the other should not be an option.”
The new fee schedule that became effective on July 30, 2007, applies to all other applications filed on or after July 30, 2007. Overall, application and petition fees have increased, on average, about 66 percent. The new fee schedule is available here. Information on the exception under Visa Bulletin #107, also see this press release (PDF). Rep. Lofgren’s press release announcing the new bill is available at www.lofgren.house.gov.