USCIS proposes increasing some application fees amid funding shortfalls

Published: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 - 5:51pm

Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, wants to raise the fees applicants pay when trying to get certain visas to come to and stay in the U.S.

The agency says the increase will allow it to address its financial woes and processing delays triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

USCIS gets the overwhelming majority of its funding from fees immigrants pay to apply for things like green cards, work visas and citizenship.

But the agency says the pandemic triggered a dramatic dip in those applications, a drop in revenue and a temporary hiring freeze. It says those factors have meant USCIS is short on funding and the staff to adjudicate cases quickly, and increasing certain fees will help fill the gap. 

In a proposed rule filed on the Federal Register this week, the agency proposes increasing application fees for certain, employment-based visas, while preserving exemptions for low-income and vulnerable populations applying for naturalization and emergency stays. 

A 60-day public comment period will open this week.