[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 185 (Monday, September 26, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56182-56184]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-19226]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2352-05]
RIN 1615-ZA23


Adjustment of the Immigration Benefit Application Fee Schedule

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of 
Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This Notice announces that the Department of Homeland 
Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will increase the 
fees for immigration benefit applications and petitions to account for 
cost increases due to inflation. The fee increases will apply to 
applications or petitions filed on or after October 26, 2005. The 
average fee increase for inflation is approximately $10 per application 
or petition. Fees collected from persons filing immigration benefit 
applications and petitions are deposited into the Immigration 
Examinations Fee Account and are used to fund the full cost of 
providing immigration benefits, including the full cost of providing 
benefits such as asylum and refugee admission for which no fees are 
assessed.

DATES: This notice is effective October 26, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Schlesinger, Director, Office of 
Budget, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 20 Massachusetts 
Ave., NW., Suite 4052, Washington, DC 20529, telephone (202) 272-1930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under What Legal Authority Does U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services Have To Charge Fees?

    The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for the 
collection of fees at a level that will ensure recovery of the full 
costs of providing adjudication and naturalization services, including 
the costs of providing similar services without charge to asylum 
applicants and other immigrants. 8 U.S.C. 1356(m). The INA also states 
that the fees may recover administrative costs as well. Id. This 
revenue remains available to provide immigration and naturalization 
benefits and the collection, safeguarding, and accounting for fees. Id. 
at 1356(n).
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must also conform 
to the requirements of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (CFO 
Act), Public Law 101-576, 104 Stat. 2838 (1990) (codified at 31 U.S.C. 
901-903). Section 205(a)(8) of the CFO Act requires each agency's Chief 
Financial Officer to ``review, on a biennial basis, the fees, 
royalties, rents, and other charges imposed by the agency for services 
and things of value it provides, and make recommendations on revising 
those charges to reflect costs incurred by it in providing those 
services and things of value.'' 31 U.S.C. 902(a)(8).

What Federal Cost Accounting and Fee Setting Standards and Guidelines 
Were Used in Developing These Fee Changes?

    The authority provided by section 286(m) of the INA permits USCIS 
to recover the full costs of providing all immigration adjudication and 
naturalization services, including those services provided to 
individuals other than those paying fees. When developing fees for 
services, USCIS also looks, to the extent applicable, to the cost 
accounting concepts and standards recommended by the Federal Accounting 
Standards Advisory Board (FASAB). The FASAB was established in 1990, 
and its purpose is to recommend accounting standards for the Federal 
Government. The FASAB defines ``full cost'' to include ``direct and 
indirect costs that contribute to the output, regardless of funding 
sources.'' Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, Statement of 
Financial Accounting Standards No. 4: Managerial Cost Accounting 
Concepts and Standards for the Federal Government 36 (July 31, 1995). 
To obtain full cost, FASAB identifies various classifications of costs 
to be included, and recommends various methods of cost assignment. Id. 
at 36-42. Full costs include, but are not limited to, an appropriate 
share of:
    (a) Direct and indirect personnel costs, including salaries and 
fringe benefits such as medical insurance and retirement;
    (b) Physical overhead, consulting, and other indirect costs, 
including material and supply costs, utilities, insurance, travel and 
rents or imputed rents on land, buildings, and equipment; and,
    (c) Management and supervisory costs.
    Full costs are determined based upon the best available records of 
the agency.

How Is the Processing of Immigration Benefit Applications Funded and 
Supported?

    In 1988, Congress established the Immigration Examination Fee 
Account (IEFA). See 100 Public Law 459, 209, 102 Stat. at 2203. Since 
1989, fees deposited into the IEFA have been the primary source of 
funding for providing immigration and naturalization benefits, and 
other benefits as directed by Congress. In subsequent legislation, 
Congress directed that the IEFA fund the cost of asylum processing and 
other services provided to immigrants at no charge. See 101 Public Law 
515, 210(d)(2), 104 Stat. at 2121. Consequently, the immigration 
benefit application fees were increased to recover these additional 
costs. The current immigration benefit application fees are based on 
the review conducted in 1997, adjusted for cost of living increases and 
other factors; the fees were last changed effective April 30, 2004. 69 
FR 20528. The current fees also include a $5 per immigration benefit 
application surcharge to recover information technology and quality 
assurance costs. This surcharge allows USCIS to improve upon the 
delivery of

[[Page 56183]]

services to its customers such as offering electronic filing for 
certain immigration benefit applications.

What Is the Authority of USCIS To Adjust Immigration Benefit 
Application Fees for Inflation by Federal Register Notice?

    The authority for adjusting immigration benefit application fees 
for inflation by Federal Register Notice is contained in 8 CFR 
103.7(b)(3):

    The fees prescribed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall be 
adjusted annually on or after October 1, 2005, by publication of an 
inflation adjustment. The inflation adjustment will be announced by 
notice in the Federal Register, and the adjustment shall be a 
composite of the Federal civilian pay raise assumption and non-pay 
inflation factor for that fiscal year issued by the Office of 
Management and Budget for agency use in implementing OMB Circular A-
76, weighted by pay and non-pay proportions of total funding for 
that fiscal year. If Congress enacts a different Federal civilian 
pay raise percentage than the percentage issued by OMB for Circular 
A-76, the Department of Homeland Security may adjust the fees, 
during the current year or a following year to reflect the enacted 
level. The prescribed fee or charge shall be the amount prescribed 
in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, plus the latest inflation 
adjustment, rounded to the nearest $5 increment.

See generally 69 FR 20528 (2004).
    Beginning on October 26, 2005, the public should no longer rely on 
the fee schedule set forth in 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1) as the fees specified 
in the 103.7(b)(1) schedule do not include the inflation adjustments 
described in this Notice. The changes to the fees announced in this 
Notice will appear on the companion instructions to the application/
petition forms. In addition, this information will be available to the 
public on the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, via an agency 
information brochure accompanying hard copies of the forms, and by 
contacting the National Customer Information Center using the toll free 
number at 1-800-375-5283.

What Is the Basis for the Fee Adjustments for Inflation?

    The current fees are adjusted for the fiscal year (FY) 2006 and FY 
2007 biennial period by pay (Federal employee payroll and benefits) and 
non-pay (contracts, utilities, rent, etc.) inflation factors issued by 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) used in implementing OMB 
Circular A-76 (Performance of Commercial Activities). OMB Circular A-76 
publishes the inflation factors used in calculating pay and non-pay 
increases contained in the President's annual budget request. Since 
Congress enacted a different federal civilian pay raise percentage than 
the percentage used in calculating the current fees for the FY 2004 and 
FY 2005 biennial period, the fees are also adjusted to reflect the 
congressionally-enacted levels. For example, because the fees were 
adjusted using a 1.7 percent pay raise factor in FY 2005, whereas 
Congress enacted a 3.65 percent pay raise factor the fees are raised by 
the difference, 1.95 percent. See 8 CFR 103.7(b)(3). The fees are 
rounded up or down to the nearest $5 increment consistent with past fee 
adjustment practices. Id. The average fee increase is $10, but the 
amount varies from $5-$20 relative to the amount of the application/
petition fee. Even with the inflationary fee adjustments, the fees 
collected do not exceed the full cost of providing immigration 
benefits, including the full cost of providing benefits such as asylum 
and refugee admission for which no fees are assessed.
    The methodology basically has two components: one that accounts for 
the difference between the enacted and projected inflation levels 
imbedded in the current fees for the FY 2004 and FY 2005 biennial 
period, and one that accounts for the projected inflation levels for 
the FY 2006 and FY 2007 biennial period. As an example of the 
methodology, an inflationary increase of $6.86 was originally built 
into the current $315 fee for the Form I-485 (Application to Register 
Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status) for the FY 2004 and FY 2005 
biennial period. Based on the projected pay inflation factors of 2.3 
percent (1.7 percent for three-quarters of the 2004 calendar year; 4.1 
percent for one-quarter of the 2004 calendar year) and 1.7 percent 
(entire 2005 calendar year) versus enacted inflation factors of 4.1 
percent (entire 2004 calendar year) and 3.65 percent (3.5 percent for 
three-quarters of the 2005 calendar year; 4.1 percent for one-quarter 
of the 2005 calendar year) for fiscal years 2004 and 2005, the 
inflationary increase should have been 3.13 percent, or $9.86. The net 
difference of $3.00 increases the costs of the Form I-485 from $313.63 
to $316.63. However, rounding down to the nearest $5 increment did not 
change the $315 current fee for the Form I-485. Based on the projected 
pay inflation factors of 2.8 percent (2.6 percent for three-quarters of 
the calendar year; 3.5 percent for one-quarter of the calendar year) 
and 2.6 percent (entire calendar year) for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, 
the inflationary increase is $10.25. This increases the costs of the 
Form I-485 from $315 to $325.25. Rounding down to the nearest $5 
increment raises the fee by $10, from $315 to $325. The total fee 
increase is $10.
    As stated previously, the size of the fee increase varies relative 
to the amount of the application/petition fee. However, rounding 
discrepancies account for exceptions to this general rule. For example, 
even though the current fee for the Form I-193 (Application for Waiver 
of Passport and/or Visa) is smaller than the Form I-485 fee, the fee 
increase is greater. This is because the Form I-193 was rounding up to 
the nearest $5 increment and the Form I-485 was rounding down to the 
nearest $5 increment. An inflationary increase of $5.25 was originally 
built into the current $250 fee for the Form I-193 for the FY 2004 and 
2005 biennial period. Based on the projected pay inflation factors of 
2.3 percent (1.7 percent for three-quarters of the calendar year; 4.1 
percent for one-quarter of the calendar year) and 1.7 percent (entire 
calendar year) versus enacted inflation factors of 4.1 percent (entire 
calendar year) and 3.65 percent (3.5 percent for three-quarters of the 
calendar year; 4.1 percent for one-quarter of the calendar year) for 
fiscal years 2004 and 2005, the actual inflationary increase is $7.54. 
The net difference of $2.30 increases the costs of the Form I-193 from 
$252.02 to $254.31. In this case, rounding up to the nearest $5 
increment increased the current fee for the Form I-193 from $250 to 
$255. Based on the projected pay inflation factors of 2.8 percent (2.6 
percent for three-quarters of the calendar year; 3.5 percent for one-
quarter of the calendar year) and 2.6 percent (entire calendar year) 
for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, the inflationary increase is $8.30. 
This increases the costs of the Form I-193 from $255 to $263.30. 
Rounding up to the nearest $5 increment raises the fee by $10, from 
$255 to $265. The total fee increase is $15.
    Besides the normal payroll increases mandated for government 
employees each year, inflation-based cost increases have appeared in 
significant non-payroll items such as rent, physical security, 
investment technology, and contracts. More specifically, USCIS has 
observed cost increases due to inflation in some of its largest 
contracts including those for Service Center operations, adjudications 
clerical support, Application Support Centers, card production 
facilities, the National Records Center, the National Benefits Center, 
and the National Customer Service Center.

[[Page 56184]]

What Are the New Application Fees and How Do the New Fees Compare to 
the Current Fees?

    The new immigration benefit application fees and their dollar 
differences are displayed in Table 1.

                           Table 1.--Current Versus New Application and Petition Fees
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               Form No.                              Description                New fee   Current fee    Change
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I-90..................................  Application to Replace Permanent            $190         $185         $5
                                         Resident Card.
I-102.................................  Application for Replacement/Initial          160          155          5
                                         Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure
                                         Record.
I-129.................................  Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker...        190          185          5
I-129F................................  Petition for Alien Fianc[eacute](e)..        170          165          5
I-130.................................  Petition for Alien Relative..........        190          185          5
I-131.................................  Application for Travel Document......        170          165          5
I-140.................................  Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker..        195          190          5
I-191.................................  Application for Permission to Return         265          250         15
                                         to an Unrelinquished Domicile.
I-192.................................  Application for Advance Permission to        265          250         15
                                         Enter as a Nonimmigrant.
I-193.................................  Application for Waiver of Passport           265          250         15
                                         and/or Visa.
I-212.................................  Application for Permission to Reapply        265          250         15
                                         for Admission into the U.S. After
                                         Deportation or Removal.
I-360.................................  Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or        190          185          5
                                         Special Immigrant.
I-485.................................  Application to Register Permanent         \1\325          315         10
                                         Residence or to Adjust Status.
I-526.................................  Immigrant Petition by Alien                  480          465         15
                                         Entrepreneur.
I-539.................................  Application to Extend/Change                 200          195          5
                                         Nonimmigrant Status.
I-600/600A............................  Petition to Classify Orphan as an            545          525         20
                                         Immediate Relative/Application for
                                         Advance Processing or Orphan
                                         Petition.
I-601.................................  Application for Waiver on Grounds of         265          250         15
                                         Excludability.
I-612.................................  Application for Waiver of the Foreign        265          250         15
                                         Residence Requirement.
I-687.................................  For Filing Application for Status as      \2\255          240         15
                                         a Temporary Resident.
I-690.................................  Application for Waiver of                     95           90          5
                                         Excludability.
I-694.................................  Notice of Appeal of Decision.........        110          105          5
I-698.................................  Application to Adjust Status from         \3\180          175          5
                                         Temporary to Permanent Resident.
I-751.................................  Petition to Remove the Conditions on         205          200          5
                                         Residence.
I-765.................................  Application for Employment                   180          175          5
                                         Authorization.
I-817.................................  Application for Family Unity Benefits        200          195          5
I-824.................................  Application for Action on an Approved        200          195          5
                                         Application or Petition.
I-829.................................  Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove           475          455         20
                                         Conditions.
I-881.................................  NACARA--Suspension of Deportation or      \4\285          275         10
                                         Application for Special Rule
                                         Cancellation of Removal.
I-914.................................  Application for T Nonimmigrant Status     \5\270          255         15
N-300.................................  Application to File Declaration of           120          115          5
                                         Intention.
N-336.................................  Request for Hearing on a Decision in         265          250         15
                                         Naturalization Procedures.
N-400.................................  Application for Naturalization.......        330          320         10
N-470.................................  Application to Preserve Residence for        155          150          5
                                         Naturalization Purposes.
N-565.................................  Application for Replacement                  220          210         10
                                         Naturalization Citizenship Document.
N-600.................................  Application for Certification of             255          240         15
                                         Citizenship.
N-600K................................  Application for Citizenship and           \6\255          240        15
                                         Issuance of Certificate under
                                         Section 322.
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\1\ 225 for an applicant under the age of 14 years (a $10 increase from the current $215). See 8 CFR
  103.7(b)(1).
\2\ A fee of $255 for each application or $120 for each application for a minor child (under 18 years of age) is
  required at the time of filing with the Department of Homeland Security. The maximum amount payable by a
  family (husband, wife, and any minor children) shall be $630. See 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).
\3\ For applicants filing within 31 months from the date of adjustment to temporary resident status, a fee of
  $140 for each application is required at the time of filing with the Department of Homeland Security. The
  maximum amount payable by a family (husband, wife, and any minor children (under 18 years of age living at
  home) shall be $420. For applicants filing after 31 months from the date of approval of temporary resident
  status, who file their applications on or after July 9, 1991, a fee of $180 (a maximum of $540 per family) is
  required. See 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).
\4\ $285 for adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security, except that the maximum amount payable by
  family members (related as husband, wife, unmarried child under 21, unmarried son, or unmarried daughter) who
  submit applications at the same time shall be $570. $165 for adjudication by the Immigration Court (a single
  fee of $165 will be charged whenever applications are filed by two or more aliens in the same proceedings).
  See 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).
\5\ For each immediate family member included on the same application, an additional fee of $120 per person, up
  to a maximum amount payable per application of $540. See 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).
\6\ $215 for an application filed on behalf of an adopted child. 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, 109 
Stat. 163 (1995), all Departments are required to submit to OMB, for 
review and approval, any reporting or recordkeeping requirements 
inherent in a regulatory action. This Notice does not impose any new 
reporting or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act. Appropriate paperwork will be filed with OMB to reflect the change 
in the annual public cost for each information collection.

    Dated: September 21, 2005.
Robert C. Divine,
Acting Deputy Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
[FR Doc. 05-19226 Filed 9-23-05; 8:45 am]
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