Starting December 2, 2019, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the filing fees for expedited processing (i.e., Premium Processing) services for certain eligible immigration proceedings from $1,410 to $1,440. While this is an inflation-related fee increase and is not as substantial as the prior increase in 2018, petitioners and beneficiaries should carefully consider utilizing Premium Processing for the noticeably higher risk of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) for proceedings submitted for expedited adjudication. Consult your immigration legal counsel regarding potential advantages and risks of Premium Processing service requests prior to submitting them to USCIS.
Several federal courts enjoined the U.S. government from implementing the new rules pertaining to the use of public benefits and risk of becoming a public charge assessment for immigration benefits applicants. USCIS was on the verge of adopting the new forms for key immigration proceedings such as H and L nonimmigrant petitions and Adjustment of Status applications, when the nationwide injunction kept the government’s prior approach to public charge assessment in effect until the issue is resolved in courts. Many immigrants would not have been affected by the new rule, however, the fear and uncertainty the new approach had caused in the vulnerable immigrant communities is hard to overestimate, and the likely chilling effect on the use of much needed benefits by eligible individuals would have been great.