USCIS Fee Rise on Hold

Planned October 2, 2020 USCIS Fee Schedule temporarily blocked by Injunction

“Procrastinators, YOU can rejoice” You still have time to avoid big
increases in the cost of Naturalization to become a US Citizen as well as Work and travel authorizations
for green card applicants.

For months, actually probably years, USCIS has had a price increase in the works.

Finally after much, much, deliberations, posting in the Federal Register, reviewing and replying to comments,
delays due to Covid 19, challenges from Congress, back and forth with Congress, FINALLY they got their wish.

A new price list was set to take effect on October 2.

Most fees went up. Some down. Some like Naturalization and Work + Travel Authorizations when up A LOT !.




The biggest bumps were a $445 increase from $725 to $1,170 for Naturalization,

$545 increase from 0 for Work Authorization
and
$585 increase from 0 for Advance Parole.

Other benefits that VisaCoach clients are concerned with changed little. Some a little up, some a little down.

Once the fee change was announced, we jumped on it, letting all our clients know what was happening
and helping those who would suffer the must from the fee increases to get their applications in on time.

We were very, very busy for a month during the run up to October 2.

Then, at the eleventh hour, just before October 2 came around, a group of opponents to the fee change were successful
to convince a court to place a temporary injunction, temporarily halting the fee change.

Well that’s Good news and bad.

Good news for procrastinators, who delayed but now can still submit under the old fee schedule.

BAD news for applicants in general, as total confusion is the rule of the day. The injunction is in effect,
but for HOW LONG? At any time it could be dropped.

Maybe the all new fees will be implemented, maybe only some parts, maybe none.

Who knows?

But is does cause problems. First of all, the fees could change without notice at any time. We are asking our clients
to reach out to us, when they are ON THE WAY to the post office to mail in their applications to confirm what
the correct fee is on the day they submit.

We can handle that with out clients, on a one by one personal case. Thats manageable. What I worry about are
how well the clerks at USCIS will handle the processing of cases and acceptance of payments once the fees actually change.

Officially, USCIS should check the postmark and mailing date shown on each package they receive. And then
apply to the contents of the package, the fees and procedures that were in force on the day of mailing. Unfortunately
that system does not work so well. The last time a major change occured, and this was on February 24 when the
public charge rules came into effect. Hundreds of applications that had been shipped, on time, were rejected, due
to clerical error. It took months for clients, who had legitimate proof of mailing to battle with USCIS to
get their cases back on course.

I am afraid in the week after the new fees take effect, that there will be even more such mistakes
made at USCIS causing great inconvenience and unnnecessary delays to applicants.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

 

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