U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) increased many immigration fees including raising the cost of applying for U.S. citizenship, as well as creating new fees for some immigration applications in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal published on November 14 and subsequently extended the comment period to December 30, 2019, when the new law will go into effect. In addition to the proposed increased immigration fees that impact DACA, asylum and green card applications, the increased fees will also impact genealogical records.
USCIS’ new immigration fees will increase by 500% the cost of searching historical genealogical immigration records. It now costs $65 to have USCIS access its database and determine whether it has any records on the immigrant being searched for. If it does, it’s another $65 for each copy of a file. Under the proposed rule, it will cost $240 to request a search of USCIS’ database and $385 to obtain each file.
USCIS says the immigration fee increases are necessary to cover the costs of operating the agency and processing each of the requests it receives:
“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures, just like a business, and make adjustments based on that analysis. This proposed adjustment in fees ensures more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimizes subsidies from an already over-extended system.”
Chicago immigration attorney Mario Godoy is pleased to see the increased awareness surrounding the new USCIS immigration fees:
Immigration advocates are outraged at the new immigration fees USCIS is charging which will make legal immigration unaffordable for many people who are eligible to move to the United States and follow their American Dream. I’m delighted to see the increased public awareness – including by members of Congress – on this critical issue now that genealogists, historians and records-access advocates are waging a public campaign on the impact of these significant immigration fee increases. The Trump administration is determined to make immigration unaffordable, and now U.S. Citizens are feeling the pain of these new fees.
The public comment period on the proposed immigration fee increases closed on December 30, 2019. The Department of Human Services (DHS) and USCIS will review all comments, and a final rule will be published.
Immigration law can be confusing, and it changes frequently. It is important to have legal guidance from a knowledgeable attorney. The immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Chicago and Lombard can help you with your immigration case. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at 855-554-6369.