Government

USCIS Fee Increases

USCIS Filing Fees Increase

USCIS Announces Increases in Filing Fees USCIS has announced increases in the filing fees for many immigration benefits.  It also announced a new reduced filing fee for Naturalization.  The fee schedule will raise the fee amount for 40 different USCIS forms, effective December 23, 2016.  The average increase in fees is $476.  However, this figure is skewed by substantial increases in fees for the EB-5 Investor Visa program.  Not counting those increases, the average increase is $205 and the average percentage increase is 28%.  The overall average percentage increase is more than 50% (again, primarily attributable to the EB-5 Investment Visa program), and the median increase is about 25% over the previous amount.  Half of the fee increases were less than $100 and had proportionate increases of 25% or less. In the area of family-based immigration, notable fee increases include: Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) rose from $340 to $535, for an increase of $195, or 57%. Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative rose from $420 to $535, for an increase of $115, or 27%. Form I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status rose from $985 to $1140, for an increase of $155, or 16%. Form N-400 Application for Naturalization rose from $595 to $640, for an increase of $45, or 7%. Partial Fee Waiver for Naturalization A new partial fee waiver is now available for applicants for Naturalization. The waiver is available for applicants with household incomes not more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  A new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee, can be completed and submitted with the N-400, along with the reduced application fee of $320, plus the biometrics fee of $85. The largest increases related to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program includes:  An increase of from $1,500 to $3,675 (or 145%) for the Form I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien

Deportation Impact on Housing Market

Mass Deportations Have Had a Big impact on the U.S. Housing Market, Study Shows Interesting article on the impact of deportations on the U.S. housing market by TheUpshot, a division of the New York Times.  TheUpshot reported on new research regarding the relationship between deportations and home foreclosures.  The article reports that the dramatic increase in deportations of undocumented immigrants over the last decade exacerbated home foreclosures. In “Counties that collaborated with ICE in what became a large-scale deportation sweep experienced a surge in foreclosures of homes owned by Hispanics, according to a study … published in the journal of Sociological Science.”  See “Why More Mass Deportations Would Be Bad News for the Housing Market,” New York Times:TheUpshot, Dec. 8, 2016.