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The Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services is collecting adjusted fees, and petitioners should start using revised forms for immigration benefits including employment authorization, CIS said Nov. 22.
CIS Sept. 23 issued a final rule (75 Fed. Reg. 58,961) to increase fees for immigration benefit applications by a weighted average of about 10 percent (28 HRR 1016, 9/27/10). Although the final rule generally increases fees, it does not change the cost of naturalization applications, because of the “unique importance” of obtaining citizenship, CIS said.
Applications and petitions postmarked on or after Nov. 23 must include the adjusted fee or a fee waiver request that is later approved, CIS said. If an item is mailed through a courier service, the date it entered into the courier's system is considered the postmark date, CIS added.
CIS also announced that the forms for several applications and petitions have been revised.
All applications and petitions subject to the new fee rule have been republished to reflect the change in fees, CIS said. The forms have been updated with a new edition date of Nov. 23 and can be accessed on the CIS website (http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis).
In addition, several forms include additional revisions unrelated to the fee changes.
Form I-129, the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, which is used by employers petitioning for temporary workers in a variety of nonimmigrant visa classifications, has been updated to include questions to “enhance USCIS's ability to determine eligibility,” the agency said.
CIS will accept previous editions of the Form I-129 through Dec. 22, the agency said. Beginning Dec. 23, only the updated version of the form will be accepted, and e-filing for the form will be temporarily unavailable while CIS updates its systems to reflect the new version of the form, CIS said.
In addition, CIS revised the Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition. The form is used by employers to classify employees as L-1 nonimmigrant intracompany transferees under a previously approved blanket petition.
CIS added questions to the new form that help determine whether the petitioner must submit a new $2,250 fee required of companies that have more than 50 employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of their employees are on H-1B or L-1 visas. CIS will accept previous versions of the form through Jan. 6.
In addition to the revised forms, CIS also has published two new forms--the I-912 Request for Fee Waiver and the I-924 Application for Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.
“Our goal is to bring clarity and consistency to immigration benefit services,” CIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas said Nov. 22. “The development of the new fee waiver form reflects our commitment to making improvements through extensive collaboration with the public,” he said.
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