U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it is raising fees an average of 10%, effective Nov. 23, 2010. The agency is primarily fee-based, with about 90% of its budget coming from applicants and petitioners seeking immigration benefits. The agency justifies the fee increase as a way to recover costs after fiscal year 2008 and 2009 revenue was much lower than projected, due in large part to increased migration during the global recession.

Highlights of the new fees include:

* Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: increased from $320 to $325.

* Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee: reduced from $455 to $340.

* Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: increased from $355 to $420.

* Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status: increased from $930 to $985.

* Form I-526, Petition for Alien Entrepreneur: increased from $1,435 to $1,500.

* Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence: increased from $465 to $505.

* Form N-400, Application for Naturalization: not changed, $595.

There will also be a new fee of $165 for Immigrant Visa Domestic Processing. This fee will apply to applicants for immigrant visas. It is designed to recover the costs of USCIS staff time to process, file, and maintain the visa package and the cost of producing the permanent resident card. The U.S. Department of State will collect the fee on behalf of USCIS, although the precise logistics have not yet been announced.

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