US immigration fees set to rise
The changes, expected to be confirmed within the next few months, will see the cost of a US Green Card rise from $930 to $985.
Other proposed changes to the immigration system will see the cost of temporary residence applications increase by $420 to $1,030, and investors' visas, previously free, subject to a new $6,230 fee.
About 90% of the budget of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Department (USCIS) comes from fees paid by applicants and petitioners. It is required to review its fee structure every two years to determine whether it is recovering its costs sufficiently.
Fee revenue for 2008 and 2009 was lower than expected and is expected to remain low in 2010 - explaining the rise in fees.
There will be however be no changes to the charges for US citizenship application, which costs $595.
The citizenship fee was increased by 69% in 2007, triggering a rush of applications before the new fee was implemented.
USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas said: "We are mindful of the effect of a fee increase on the communities we serve and have worked hard to minimise the size of the proposed increase through budget cuts and other measures.
"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."
The fees for non-immigration US visas were changed earlier in the year, with the old flat fee of $131 replaced with a tiered structure designed to reflect the fact that some visas require more processing than others.
Crystal Williams, a spokesman for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said: “Unfortunately USCIS is the one agency of government run entirely on filing fees - even the overhead. While they did receive a small amount of appropriated funds this year, it was not nearly enough.
“We are pleased that USCIS managed to avoid raising the naturalization fee, but would urge Congress to adequately fund the agency so that fees do not go out of reach of the average working family. And we continue to be concerned about a marked deterioration in the quality of adjudications that those fees are paying for.”
US GREEN CARD APPLICATION : HTTP://DV-US.COM