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USCIS to increase fees but processing wait period longer

The last increase was almost 3 years ago. But the additional fees apparently only resulted in additional waiting times.

Crispin Aranda

USCIS to increase fees but processing wait period longer

USCIS to increase fees to “meet operational needs”

In fairness, the last increase was implemented almost three years ago – December 2016.

The USCIS announced it will raise filing fees again, an hour ago at time of writing today 8:38 AM, November 9, 2019.

In fairness, too, the increase in fees did not speed up processing of petitions and applications.

How come the petition for the F2A category – spouse, minor child of a green card holder -says it is current in the Visa Bulletin since July 2019?

The Visa Bulletin is published by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State. Petitions are forwarded by the USCIS to the National Visa Center only after the petition is approved. 

So, it will take up 16.5 months before an F2A petition is approved and sent to NVC.  Only then will an F2A petition be part of the visa applicant queue waiting for their interview dates.

For petitions sponsoring family members to the U.S such as the F4., the wait before said petition could be approved and only then sent to the National Visa Center - can be up to 130 months, almost 11 years.

Then another waiting period begins

An F4 petition finally approved and gets into line of the F4 visa applicants takes another 20 years.  Therefore, the total waiting period from USCIS approval until the priority date becomes current with the State Department is approximately 31 years.

See below for the processing times of cases with the California Service Center where most of the family-based petitions are being processed.

Petition type

Date of cases

Being processed

Estimated waiting

 time to approval

F2A - Petition of lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for a spouse or minor child

 

July 9, 2018

 

12.5 to 16.5 months

F1 – US citizen petition for unmarried son/daughter over 21

October 8, 2014

48 to 62 months

F2B – Green card holder petition for unmarried son or daughter over 21

 

June 26, 2014

 

50.5 to 65.5 months

 

F3 – US Citizen petition for married son/daughter

May 29, 2010

88.5 to 115.5 months

F4 – US Citizen petition for adult brother/sister

March 12, 2009

100 to 130 months

For the current (fee increase in Dec. 2016) click here - https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees 

The official USCIS announcement follows:

Fees collected and deposited into the IEFA fund nearly 96% of USCIS’ budget.

Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded. Federal law requires USCIS to conduct biennial fee reviews and recommend necessary fee adjustments to ensure recovery of the full cost of administering the nation’s immigration laws, adjudicating applications and petitions, and providing the necessary infrastructure to support those activities.

“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 would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimizes subsidies from an already over-extended system,” said Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS.

“Furthermore, the adjudication of immigration applications and petitions requires in-depth screening, incurring costs that must be covered by the agency, and this proposal accounts for our operational needs and better aligns our fee schedule with the costs of processing each request.”   

The rule proposes adjusting USCIS IEFA fee schedules by a weighted average increase of 21% to ensure full cost recovery. Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year.

The proposed fee rule accounts for increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries.

USCIS last updated its fee structure in FY 2017, by a weighted average increase of 21%.

SERVICE OUTAGE ANNOUNCEMENT

Fri, Nov 8, 10:49 PM (8 hours ago)

“USCIS will conduct system maintenance to the Customer Relationship Interface System (CRIS) from Friday, November 8 at 11:59 p.m. to Saturday, November 9 at 3:00 a.m. (EDT.)

During this timeframe, users may experience technical difficulties with one or more of the following online tools:

  • Check My Case Status
  • e-Request
  • Change of Address Online
  • Check Processing Times
  • Civil Surgeon Locator
  • FOIA Status Check
  • Office Locator
  • File Online
  • myUSCIS Online Account

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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