The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced an upcoming adjustment to premium processing fees for most forms, effective February 26, 2024. This development demands careful consideration for applicants seeking expedited visa processing.
Here’s everything you need to know about this update.
The USCIS Stabilization Act (passed in September 2020) established the current premium processing fees and the authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to adjust the premium fees on a biennial basis. After leaving these fees unchanged for the three years following the passage of the Act, DHS is now increasing the premium processing fees USCIS charges for all eligible forms and categories to reflect the amount of inflation from June 2021 through June 2023, according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.
USCIS cites inflationary pressures as the primary justification for the revised fees. The agency asserts that processing costs have risen, and the adjustments are necessary to maintain operational efficiency and service quality. The fee adjustments represent a 12.7% increase across most eligible forms.
Here’s a summary of the changes:
The impact of this change warrants individual assessments. Applicants facing pressing deadlines or time-sensitive requirements may deem the expedited processing worth the additional expense. However, for those with greater flexibility, standard processing timelines may offer a more budget-conscious approach.
Opting for premium processing may be prudent for:
Conversely, standard processing may be preferable for:
Applicants comfortable with longer processing timelines, which can range from several months to over a year, depending on the form and workload. Individuals focused on minimizing costs and considering the increased fee a significant financial burden. Those lacking immediate pressures or deadlines linked to their application.
The aforementioned fee adjustments apply to applications filed on or after February 26, 2024. Premium processing does not guarantee a specific decision timeframe, although USCIS aims for 15 calendar days. Regular application status updates are readily available online or through USCIS call centers, regardless of the chosen processing method. In conclusion, the revised USCIS premium processing fees present a new layer of consideration for visa applicants. By carefully weighing the urgency of their needs, budgetary limitations, and personal priorities, individuals can make informed decisions and navigate the path toward their immigration goals with clarity and confidence.
OnBlick will continue to monitor USCIS and will let you know as soon as new updates become available.