U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Immigration Fees and Adjudication Costs: Proposed Adjustments and Historical Context [July 16, 2010]   [open pdf - 406KB]

"The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a fee schedule for immigration services that increases fees by a weighted average of 10%. Under the proposed schedule issued June 11, 2010, most fees would increase, several would decrease, and the naturalization fee would remain unchanged. USCIS has also proposed three new fees for services the agency currently performs. The proposed fee schedule results from an FY2009 USCIS fee review. It represents the agency's attempt to (1) more accurately align processing revenues with costs, (2) redistribute costs of some processing activities for which no fees can be charged, (3) impose new fees to capture costs for currently unreimbursed activities, and (4) resolve anticipated budget shortfalls. Charging fees for federal government services has long been practiced. Such fees have usually been charged for service cost recovery only to individuals who use the service or benefit--socalled user fees. As immigration services grow in complexity, questions arise over what service users should pay. The user fees debate has produced two positions: (1) an agency should recover all of its costs through user fees, and (2) an agency should only recover costs directly associated with providing services. USCIS last increased its fees for immigration and naturalization services in July 2007 by an average of 88%. At that time, cost estimates by USCIS and the Government Accountability Office found that the agency's pre-2007 fee structure was insufficient to maintain proper service levels and avoid backlogs."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34040
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