U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed large filing fee increases for many immigration-related forms. In addition to raising fees, the rule proposes to merge the fees for certain applications so applicants will pay a single fee rather than paying several fees for related services. There is a 60-day comment period on the proposed rule, and the increases are not expected to take effect until at least six months after publication.

USCIS said the rule would permit the agency “to devote certain revenues to broader investments in a new technology and business process platform to improve substantially its capabilities and service levels.” Among other things, the rule also proposes to eliminate fees for interim benefits, duplicate filings, and premium processing by “consolidating and reallocating costs among the various fees.”

Forms Affected by Proposed Increases

Some of the business-related forms that will be affected by the proposed increases, and their current and proposed fees, include:

· I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker: current, $190; proposed, $320.

· I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: current, $195; proposed, $475.

· I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: current, $325; proposed, $905 for applicants 14 years of age or older (except certain refugees).

· I-765, Application for Employment Authorization: current, $180; proposed, $340.

· N-400, Application for Naturalization: current, $330; proposed, $595.

Legislators Express Concern

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), and Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.) sent a letter on January 22, 2007, expressing their concern about the proposed fee increases to USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez. They said they want to review the “extraordinary circumstances that could justify such a massive increase.”

Their letter is posted at http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=21505.

Comments on the proposed rule (Docket No. USCIS-2006-0044), which was published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2007, should be sent to USCIS by April 2, 2007. Supporting documentation and any comments received will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. An advance copy of the regulation circulated on January 31, 2007, is posted at http://bibdaily.com/pdfs/FeeRule.pdf.

Related announcements and fact sheets are posted at http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/PRBuilding1.pdf, http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/FSbuilding.pdf, http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/QABuilding1.pdf, and http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/FSmethod.pdf.