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Premium processing fee increase is Congress’ solution to USCIS financial hardship.

After a federal judge enjoined USCIS from drastically increasing their filing fees a week ago, the fee-funded agency is projecting to be in a financial deficit. However, last week Congress enacted the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act to immediately require USCIS to use premium processing at $2,500 for case types it previously charged $1,440. The Act also allows USCIS to set new premium fees without going through the typical regulatory process.

USCIS has increased fees starting in October.

USCIS is almost entirely fee-funded, and a decrease in applications in recent months and years has caused the agency to be in a serious budget deficit. On July 31, USCIS announced that it would increase fees for a range of immigration and naturalization applications. Fee increases include a $500 increase in applying for naturalization, adding a $50 fee for asylum seekers, and more. In order to encourage online filing, USCIS will decrease fees by $10 for anyone who files an application or petition online. The new rule and fees will go into effect on October 2, 2020.

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