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California Federal Judge Blocked USCIS Fee Increase


On September 29, 2020, a federal judge for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from implementing their fee increase rule that was supposed to take effect on October 2, 2020. The decision halted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing the increased fee rule during the litigation of the lawsuit. As such, current filing fees will remain the same until the preliminary injunction is lifted.

The USCIS published a final rule of the fee increase in August 2020, and several non-profit organizations including the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed lawsuits to stop the fee increase from going into effect.

What Did the Court Order? Read the Decision.

The Court ordered:

  1. “Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. section 705 the Court STAYS implementation and the effective date of the USCIS Immigration Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements, 85 Fed. Ref. 46,788 (Aug. 3, 2020) (the “Final Rule”) in its entirety pending final adjudication of this matter.

  2. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65, Defendants Wolf, in his official capacity under the title of Acting Secretary of DHS; Cuccinelli, in his official capacity under the title of Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary of DHS; DHS; and USCIS, and all persons acting under their direction, ARE ENJOINED from implementing or enforcing the Final Rule or any portion thereof.

  3. This preliminary injunction and stay shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect pending trial in this action or further of this Court.”

What Are the Proposed Fee Changes By USCIS?

People applying for U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency or green cards and work visas were going to see a significant cost increase with the fee rule. Further, the rule enforced fees for asylum and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications.

The Impact of the Injunction on Applicants

Applicants will not begin paying the higher fees until the preliminary injunction is lifted. On September 30, 2020, the USCIS made the following announcement:

“While the rule is preliminarily enjoined, we will continue to:

· Accept USCIS forms with the current editions and current fees; and

· Use the regulations and guidance currently in place to adjudicate applications and petitions.”

IMMIGRATION TIP #1:

  1. Applicants should file their petition without further delay. Delaying your filing at this stage does not make sense because it is impossible to know how long the preliminary injunction will remain in effect.

  2. Check USCIS website to ensure that you are using the current forms for each application.

If you have any other immigration questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at elararlaw@gmail.com or (201) 668-7559.

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