In its recent National stakeholder meeting, USCIS announced it was continuing to consider alternatives to address its financial problems, including a potential increase in fees charged. Specifically, USCIS indicated it was facing a decline in the number of applications and petitions filed which translated to less revenue. Accordingly, as required by Congress, USCIS was reviewing its fee structure to determine whether an increase in fees could potentially allow it to deliver on its promise of improved service. In this regard, USCIS touted the reduction in processing times for N-400’s as well as adjustment of status applications to 4.5 months and 6.2 months respectively.
The possibility of additional increased fees for immigrants is extremely disconcerting especially in light of the fact that USCIS fees skyrocketed as recently as July, 2007. At that time, the cost of filing an I-485 for adjustment of status more than tripled and the cost of applying for naturalization virtually doubled. In light of the current economic climate, it seems irresponsible for USCIS to make it even more difficult for immigrants to adjust status or naturalize. Nevertheless, based on recent statements by USCIS, it seems that further increase in fees are likely in the near future. Accordingly, if you are considering filing for adjustment status or naturalization, it may be prudent to consider acting in the near future rather than waiting for USCIS to increase fees once again.