Proposed Fee Increases and Consulate in Cuba

You may have heard about the proposed rule changes, mostly with regard to filing fees for USCIS. That came out January 4th of this year and any proposed fee increases or rule changes first come out as a proposal for a notice-and-comment period so the public knows that these things are coming or being thought of and it gives you time to respond.

We essentially have 60 days after January 4th to make any comments on the proposed fee increases. They are quite a bit of an increase and certain forms that would be most impacted would be the travel Document, the employment authorization, and the adjustment of status.

Those are proposed to be increased by several hundred dollars, they are also looking at a couple of different changes in regard to the fee structures such as increasing or including the biometrics. Right now, it is an additional or separate charge. They would include those in some of the fees instead of having them be separate.

They’re also proposing other things like separating out some different costs for certain types of forms that are used in different ways. The I-129 and the I-360 are always used like that. Those forms are used for several different types of applications.

There are a couple that they’re thinking about proposing different changes for each of those. They’re trying to move towards online filing. We’ve not found that as of yet to be super helpful for attorneys and not work super well. We’re hoping they continue to make that more widely available, more user-friendly, and more reliable.

They’re looking to have decreased fees for those applications and those people that apply online. They’re also looking at some additional things like revising the premium processing from 15 days to 15 business days. Little nuances that might make a big difference in the processing world.

You certainly can find these online and do comment since they are required to review the comments. Anything that is proposed becomes final and once it is reviewed and published in the Federal Register, then we would see those fees become increased incrementally from here on out.

Opening of the Consulate in Cuba

The consulate in Cuba has been closed since 2017 for a myriad of reasons. They’ve been working on a skeleton crew essentially. A lot of the staff had been down-staffed and now have a full staff and are accepting all visa types.

Obviously, you’re still going to be subject to limits and evidence and all of that but they’re at least processing them. There are some consulates that are only processing certain types so it looks like Cuba will be open for all of those which is really good news.

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