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USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on New Fee Schedule

USCIS issued a revised policy guidance regarding the final rule for fee schedule and changes to certain other immigration benefit request requirements published on January 31, 2024, and effective on April 1, 2024.

What are the Updates to the Policy Guidance?

The updates to the guidance regarding the new fee schedule and changes to certain other immigration benefit request requirements are as follows:

  • Identifies the categories of applicants and forms eligible for fee waivers or fee exemptions including temporary fee exemptions and waivers.
  • Explains the eligibility requirements for fee waivers, including that an inability to pay can be established by receipt of a means-tested benefit, household income at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or extreme financial hardship.
  • Clarifies a requestor must establish eligibility for a fee waiver by a preponderance of the evidence.
  • Clarifies a requestor may submit tax returns, a wage and tax statement (Internal Revenue Service Form W-2) or pay stubs to establish household income.
  • Provides that a parent may use a child’s receipt of public housing as proof of inability to pay when the parent resides in the same residence.
  • Clarifies the documentary requirements for humanitarian categories of fee waiver requestors.
  • Clarifies when a requestor may qualify for a fee waiver based on financial hardship.
  • Incorporates limitations on number of beneficiaries for certain employment-based forms.
  • Clarifies when a request for a fee waiver may be rejected.
  • Clarifies that fees paid by credit card are generally nonrefundable, and when a check or other financial instrument used to pay a fee is returned as unpayable because of insufficient funds, USCIS rejects the filing.
  • Provides that the validity period for an Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition (Form I-600A) approval is 15 months, aligning with Hague Adoption Convention cases.
  • Provides guidance for a new form supplement that prospective adoptive parents may use for requests for action on approved suitability determinations for orphan cases.

This guidance became effective on April 1, 2024, and applies to all applications and petitions postmarked on or after that date.

Related Blog: USCIS Issues Final Rule to Adjust Certain Fees

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