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Director Mayorkas on Proposed Fee Rule

Release Date:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has posted to the Federal Register its proposed fee rule that would adjust fees for immigration benefit applications and petitions. The proposed fee rule will be available for public comment at regulations.gov on Friday, June 11.

I have previously shared with the public that our fee revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 was much lower than projected, and fee revenue in fiscal year 2010 remains low. While USCIS did receive appropriations from Congress, budget cuts of approximately $160 million have not bridged the remaining gap between costs and anticipated revenue. A fee adjustment, as detailed in the proposed rule, is necessary to ensure USCIS recovers the costs of its operations while also meeting the application processing goals identified in the 2007 fee rule.

As a result of the cuts we have implemented, the proposed fee rule would increase overall fees by a weighted average of about 10 percent.

The proposed fee structure would establish three new fees, including a fee for regional center designations under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, a fee for individuals seeking civil surgeon designation and a fee to recover USCIS's cost of processing immigrant visas granted by the Department of State. The proposed fee structure also reduces fees for certain individual applications and petitions as a result of lower processing costs.

Requesting and obtaining U.S. citizenship deserves special consideration given the unique nature of this benefit to the individual applicant, the significant public benefit to the nation, and the nation’s proud tradition of welcoming new citizens. Recognizing the unique importance of naturalization, we propose that the naturalization application fee not be increased.

I encourage you to submit formal comments on the proposed rule, which is available at regulations.gov. The comment period runs for 45 days beginning on June 11, 2010.

Your comments will inform and help shape the final rule. Additional detail on the methodology and data USCIS used to develop these fees will be available at regulations.gov on June 11, 2010.

We at USCIS understand the effect of a fee increase on many of the communities we serve, especially in these economically challenging times. We have worked hard to minimize the size of the fee increase, and we will continue to do so. We will also continue to work hard to provide you with the level of service you deserve, a level befitting our nation as a beacon of hope and opportunity for people from all over the world, now and for generations to come.

Alejandro N. Mayorkas