U.S. Foreign Investor Program Funding Luxury Projects, Provisions Set to Expire December 9

The federal EB-5 immigration program meant to encourage investment in the United States from wealthy foreigners is increasingly supporting large luxury real estate projects, not the development in the rural and downtrodden districts that some say were the original targets of the program. Portions of the EB-5 program are set to expire December 9. Read more here.

USCIS Announces Increase in Fees for Immigration Applications Effective December 23, 2016

On October 24, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announces a final rule published in the Federal Register adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective December 23, 2016. This is the first fee increase made by USCIS since November 2010.

USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.

Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions.   This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.

Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.