On January 31, 2007, USCIS issued a proposed rule regarding a new fee structure for the fiscal 2008/2009 period based on a comprehensive review conducted by USCIS. According to USCIS, the new fee structure is intended to ensure appropriate funding to meet customer service needs and national security requirements and is built around the following three strategic pillars: Improving Service Delivery, Enhancing the Security and Integrity of the Immigration System, and Modernizing Business Infrastructure. The last comprehensive fee review was conducted in fiscal year 1998. USCIS indicates that the latest review indicated that the current fees do not reflect current processes or recover the full costs of services that should be provided. Therefore, USCIS proposes the following changes:

  • increase the immigration and naturalization benefit application and petition fee schedule by a weighted average of $174, from an average fee of $264 to $438; 
  • merge the fees for certain applications so that applicants will pay a single fee rather than paying several fees for related services; 
  • allocate evenly costs for surcharges and routine processing activities across all form types, and to adjust fees in proportion to the amount of time generally required for adjudication and interview; 
  • eliminate fees for interim benefits, duplicate filings, and premium processing by consolidating and reallocating costs among the various fees; 
  • exempt applicants for T nonimmigrant status, or for status under the Violence Against Women Act from paying certain fees; and 
  • modify the availability of individual fee waivers by limiting them to certain specified form types

copy of the proposed rule is available at:

http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/ProposedRule.pdf  Written comments regarding the proposed rule must be submitted on or before April 2, 2007.