Fee hike for US visas is ‘unlawful’, says US district court judge, brings to a halt


A US district court judge has issued a preliminary injunction to stay the proposed board fee increase for a wide variety of visa applications.

After many backlashes against the hike of fees for US visas, Judge Jeffrey White, a district court judge for the Northern District of California has stayed the proposed fees that were to come into effect from Friday, October 2.

Eight non-profit organizations, including the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which provides a variety of immigration-related services to low-income applicants, had moved court. They had challenged all the fee increases on the grounds that these fees were proposed and issued under officials who were not properly appointed to their positions and therefore fee hike rules were unlawful.

The basic fee for H1B was hiked by nearly 21%, from the existing $460 to $555 from. The base filing fees for L-1 visas was to rise significantly by 75% to $805. Spouses of H-1B workers to 34% I.e. $550 just to obtain a work permit. Fees for applying for citizenship were proposed to rise sharply by 83% from $640 to $1,170. An unprecedented asylum application fee of $50 was also introduced.

The officials concerned are Chad Wolf who is the Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Kevin McAleenan, former Acting Secretary. The lawsuit also contended that the fee increases, such as citizenship application fee and asylum fees, harm the most vulnerable in the society.

 The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) welcoming a court decision to halt the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) impending fee increases made a statement.
“We welcome the court’s decision to halt the fee increase and elimination of the fee waiver, and we encourage individuals to take advantage of this decision and continue to apply for citizenship or other immigration benefits for which they are eligible, ” Amir Naim, Immigrants Rights’ Attorney at CAIR-SFBA said in a statement: