Recently, the United State Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that immigration fees are set to increase on Oct. 2. Overall, fees will increase an average of 20%, but some types of fees will increase more.
Fees for visas for traveling artists and groups are set to increase by more than 50%. This change comes at a time when touring for musicians and other performers has nearly completely vanished. The fee for an O visa, for “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement” will rise by 53%, from $460 to $705. The fee for a P visa, which usually covers touring groups, will rise by 51%, from $460 to $695.
A revenue drop of more than $1.1 billion
Unlike other federal agencies, the USCIS is funded almost entirely by user fees. By law, the agency must conduct a review of its fees twice a year. This summer, it found it expected a drop of at least $1.1 billion in its revenue this year, and the agency announced at the end of July that it would be raising its fees. The increases in fees for O and P visas were announced about a month later.
Another reason the USCIS cited for raising its fees was an increase in the costs of the agency’s administration, legal hearings and immigration enforcement actions. To encourage online applications, the agency provides a $10 discount for online applications. The last time the USCIS increased its fees was in late 2016.
For people who are trying to resolve their immigration issues, a fee increase is just one of the many complications making their task more difficult these days. However, for many applicants, a fee increase will be a significant burden. An experienced immigration attorney can advise people of their rights and the most efficient ways to resolve their issues.