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Shepelsky Law's bulletin provides the latest USCIS news and legal services to navigate US immigration.
April 19, 2023
Immigration & USCIS News Bulletin: April 19th, 2023

USCIS, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, plays a crucial role in the administration of immigration and naturalization laws in the country. The agency regularly releases news updates and policy changes related to immigration, which can significantly impact individuals, families, and businesses. In this article, we will cover five of the latest USCIS news updates. They will show the ever-evolving landscape of immigration in the United States and its impact on the lives of those seeking to enter, stay, or become citizens of this country.

1. Travel Visa 15% Fee Increase

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently announced that they will be increasing travel visa fees by fifteen percent. Considering there have not been any increases in fees since 2014, this came as a surprise for many. The fifteen percent increase will raise the price from $160 to $185 for applicants of various non-immigrant visa categories. Included are business visas, tourist visas, and student visas. Additionally, the charge for temporary employee visas will rise by approximately eight percent, from $190 to $205. Meanwhile, the fee for treaty traders, investors, and candidates in specialty occupations will rise from $205 to $315.

As depicted by USCIS, work and tourism visas are a key component of United States President Joe Biden’s foreign policy, showing the importance of international travel to the our economy. Additionally, students choose the U.S. as one of the most common countries for studying abroad programs. As a result, the nation receives a greater amount of money with the increase in fees paid for student visas.

Immigration authorities state that they need to increase fees to hire more employees to evaluate applications and reduce the number of open cases. They also need to recover operating expenses and speed up the processing of applications, in addition to increasing staff and reducing case backlogs.

2. Necessary Budget Increases for Tackling Immigration Backlogs 

Democratic representatives Lou Correa and Dan Goldman wrote a letter to the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee insisting on a budget increase to tackle immigration backlogs. They claim that twice the amount of the current funding is necessary in order to support the processing of applications and the elimination of backlogs at the offices handling asylum, the field, and service center operations. 

Despite the need for government money, the majority of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS’s) financing comes from fees applicants pay for a variety of immigration services, including submitting petitions, their own applications, and requests for immigration benefits. A complicated fee structure accounts for the price of processing various application types, administrative costs associated with operating the agency, and the need to have a reserve for unforeseen costs or shifts in service demand.

USCIS may also collect income through grants or contributions in addition to filing fees, although they are very little compared to the agency’s total reliance on applicant-borne expenditures. Roughly 96% of USCIS’s financing comes from filing fees alone, which makes up the majority. To expand their budget, USCIS has recommended an increase in filing costs for practically every form of visa application, with some categories slated to double in costs, in order to address growing financial issues. 

3. Administrative Naturalization Ceremony Venues Updates

Venues host administrative naturalization ceremonies for individuals who have completed the naturalization process and received citizenship from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These ceremony locations differ from federal courthouses to USCIS field offices, to other government facilities. The number of applicants and the accessibility of amenities in the neighborhood are all factors which influence the precise location of the ceremony.

These naturalization ceremonies provide a formal and festive atmosphere for new citizens to recognize their ascension to citizenship within the U.S. alongside their family and friends, who are welcome to attend and celebrate their accomplishments. Administrative naturalization ceremony locations play a significant role in the naturalization process overall, giving new citizens a memorable experience as they take their last step toward assimilating into American culture.

In order to announce administrative naturalization ceremony updates, USCIS makes sure to publish the latest news online and within their manuals. This informs the public, keeping them up-to-date on the latest USCIS news. Aside from informing the public and those looking to provide venue space, the clarifying advice is part of USCIS’s efforts to increase openness about the potential ways to collaborate with the agency on naturalization ceremonies. In accordance with the advice in the policy manual published by USCIS, the agency encourages facility gifts from public and private organizations to further its long-standing objective of encouraging public knowledge of the naturalization process.

4. Unlawful Border Crossing by Asylum Seekers Subject to a New Biden Rule

The Biden administration has recently tightened border control regulations and proposed a temporary regulation. The regulation aims to penalize asylum seekers who enter the country illegally or do not seek protection in other countries they travel through on their routes to the United States.

Refugees who flee persecution are entitled to asylum under United States immigration law, regardless of their method of entry. However, the Biden administration’s new regulation, set to take effect in May for two years, will disqualify anyone who enters the country unlawfully from receiving asylum. The policy aims to reduce the number of border crossers and simplify deportation procedures for those who indicate fear of danger while waiting for a hearing in the overburdened immigration courts in the United States.

Both the Justice and Homeland Security Departments recently announced a new policy to shore up a potential weakness for President Biden if he seeks reelection. Despite the reversal of many Trump administration immigration restrictions, border chaos and record numbers of illegal crossings have hinderedBiden’s promise of an orderly system.

5. Temporary Protected Status Information

USCIS grants Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to nationals who can’t safely return due to dangerous conditions or other circumstances. Countries with ongoing war, environmental disasters, and similar situations can also receive TPS designation. TPS allows individuals to gain employment authorization, but not lawful permanent residency. However, TPS recipients can apply for nonimmigrant status or file for adjustment of status, but they must re-register to maintain benefits.

An application for TPS does not impact an asylum application. Nevertheless, denial of an asylum application does not affect TPS registration, although it may lead to TPS denial. It is important to note that TPS stops the time period on the “requirement to file for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States,” according to USCIS.

Keeping up with the latest USCIS news and immigration policy changes is essential for those navigating the immigration process in the United States. Shepelsky Law, a law firm specializing in immigration law, provides comprehensive updates on USCIS news and policy changes, ensuring that clients are informed and prepared. In addition to keeping clients up-to-date on the latest USCIS news, Shepelsky Law offers a wide range of immigration legal services, including family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, and removal defense. With their extensive experience and knowledge, Shepelsky Law is well-equipped to help clients navigate the complexities of immigration law and achieve their immigration goals.

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