President Obama is currently considering another round of fee hikes for green card adjustment of status cases and some non-immigrant visas. Fees were last increased on the summer of 2007; new fees are due to go into effect later this year.
Green Card Adjustment of Status Fees
Certain foreign nationals who are present in the United States are permitted to remain in the US while going through the green card process; the more formal procedure is for the foreign national to apply for a green card at a US embassy or consulate abroad. Applicants who are allowed to adjust status already pay a premium for the privilege. Adjustment of status is handled by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) arm of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The current fee for adjustment of status is $1010 — this is in addition to any fees related to the actual visa petition. For instance, a spousal green card petition costs $355, with the additional $1010 paid if the foreign spouse applies for the green card in the US. If the spouse were to apply abroad through the US State Department, the green card application would only be around $500 more. The adjustment of status fee is scheduled to increase to $1070.
Fiance Visa Adjustment of Status Fees
For a fiance visa, the fees to get the foreign national into the US are approximately $600, with the $1010 adjustment of status fee paid after the couple has married and is applying for a green card. As with regular green card adjustment of status applications, the adjustment of status application filed in conjunction with a fiance visa will also increase to $1070.
Adjustment of Status fee increase needed due to revenue shortfall
Criticism of the adjustment of status fee increase comes amidst complaints that Obama has not fulfilled his campaign promise related to a complete overhaul of the US immigration system. USCIS claims that the increase is needed because the agency spends approximately $2.3 billion on processing immigration petitions and immigration applications but expects to collect only $2.1 billion in revenue this fiscal year. Unfortunately, the proposed fee increases will only cover some of the shortfall – USCIS is requesting almost $250 million in backup funding from Congress, in additional to money for military naturalization programs.