Jamaica Magazine

Immigration Fees Due To Increase

Written by Nadine A.Brown

Applicants for various Immigration benefits should be aware that on and after July 30, 2007 new Immigration application fees and procedures for payment will apply. Immigration Fees are not refundable.

Generally a fee must be included with an application if a fee is required. Forms with the improper fee will be rejected by US CIS. The payment must be in US dollars and should be in the form of a US money order. You may pay with a personal check; however, this will delay the processing of your application as it is subject to collection. If your check is returned for insufficient funds, your application will be rejected. All payments should be made payable to the “US Department of Homeland Security”. US CIS will no longer accept abbreviations such as “US DHS/US CIS”. You must write out the name of the agency completely. However, if you live in Guam, make the payment payable to “Treasurer, Guam”. Or if you live in the US Virgin Islands, make money order payable to “Commissioner of Finance of the Virgin Islands.”

A major change with US CIS is for Green Card applicants. Beginning July 30, 2007 only one fee will apply for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) and employment authorization document (EAD) and Advance Parole. Applicants will still have to complete a form I-765 for an EAD and form I-131 for advance parole, but will only pay the filing fee for form I-485 application to adjust status. If, however, you applied for adjustment of status before July 30, 2007 and need to renew your employment authorization, or advance parole, you must pay the new fees for each application. Another major change has to do with the renewal process for expiring or expired cards. If applying for a renewal of a Green Card, Employment Authorization Document or Advance Parole travel document, the applicant must submit the expiring or expired card/document with the petition and the filing fee. If a concern is a lost or missing card, make sure to send petitions for renewal by US mail certified return receipt, registered or express delivery.

Those who are not able to afford the new substantially high fees can still request “fee waivers”. In order to obtain a fee waiver, an applicant must demonstrate his or her need by providing documentation of income and an affidavit of necessity, including copies of household bills. Before your Immigration application can be reviewed and a decision made in your case, your fee waiver application must be approved. A fee waiver does delay the processing time for the application, but is helpful for truly indigent persons. Fee waivers can be applied to many applications but not all. Some of the more relevant forms for which a fee waiver may apply are:

I-90 renewal of Green Card

I-751 Removal of Conditional Residency Status

I-765 application for employment authorization document

N-400 application for naturalization

N-565 application for duplicate naturalization certificate

N-600 application for certificate of citizenship (derivate & acquisition)

I-485 application for Lawful Permanent Residency IF based on ASYLUM, T visa or U visa

I-360 Application for Special Immigrant (battered spouse or child).

A complete list of Immigration fees can be found at www.uscis.gov. Some of the new fees for the most frequently used forms effective July 30, 2007 are below (the asterisk * and numbers in parenthesis denotes current fee):

I-90 Application to Renew or Replace Permanent Resident Card (incl. biometrics) (*$260) $370

I-129F Petition for Fiancée (*$170) $455

I-129F For K-3/K-4 status for spouse or child of a US citizen sponsor (*$170) No fee

I-130 Alien Relative Petition (*$190) $355

I-131 Travel Document (Advance Parole) (*$170) $205

I-140 Petition for Immigrant Worker (*$195) $475

I-360 Petition for Special Immigrant (*$190) $375

* Battered Spouse and Special Immigrant Juveniles No fee

I-485 Application to Adjust Status to Lawful Permanent Residency (*$395) $930

I-539 Application to Extend or Change Non-Immigrant Status (*$200) $300

I-601 Waiver for Grounds of Inadmissibility (*$265) $545

I-751 Remove Conditions on Residency (biometric incl.) (*$205) $545

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Document (*$180) $340

N-400 Application for Naturalization (*$400) $675

N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship (derivation & Acquisition) (*$255) $460

Applicants should pay fees in separate money orders for each petition/form requiring a fee. As most fees will increase significantly, it is prudent to submit petitions as far in advance of the deadline as possible to allow for mail delays. Procrastination will cost you.

About the author

Nadine A.Brown