Are you ready for fee increases by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of up to 225%? The following was written by the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:
On May 4th, the Federal Register published a proposed rule to increase various fees for services of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including fees for their genealogy services. Public comment is invited, deadline for comments is July 5, 2016—60 days from the notice in the Federal Register. Below is a chart to show the current and proposed fees relevant to the genealogy services. Non-genealogy services are also being proposed to be increased but are not addressed in this posting. The fee schedule was last adjusted on November 23, 2010. USCIS calculates its fees to recover the full cost of USCIS operations, which do not include the limited appropriated funds provided by Congress. USCIS anticipates if it continues to operate at current fee levels, it will experience an average annual shortfall of $560 million between Immigration Examinations Fee Account (IEFA) revenues and costs. When Congress created the Genealogy Program under USCIS it required that the program be self-funded and cover all costs.
In 2010 DHS established a genealogy program to reduce delays for these requests. At the time, USCIS averaged 10,000 such requests over four years, and USCIS expected the workload to increase to 26,000 a year with the new program. The current genealogy program fees $20/$35 were not established based on the projected full cost of operating the genealogy research and information services of USCIS, although that was permitted by the authorizing law. At the time, USCIS did not have clearly segregated records of the full cost of operating its genealogy research and information services, and DHS has not since adjusted the genealogy program fees. After seven years of operating the program, DHS now has reliable data to determine the new fees. Currently, fee is $20 for each file copy from microfilm and $35 for each hard copy.
DHS proposes to charge a single $65 fee for Form G-1041A. See proposed 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1)(i)(F). Under the ABC model (ABC is a business management tool that assigns resource costs to operational activities and then to products and services), USCIS projected the cost of the forms G-1041 and G-1041A to be $46 each. The cost is based on the projected volumes and costs of the genealogy program. The projected costs include a portion of Lockbox costs, genealogy contracts, and a portion of costs related to the division that handles genealogy, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and similar USCIS workloads. The proposed $65 fee is based on the ABC model output, plus an additional $19 to recover the applicable administrative costs associated with funding these services, such as the USCIS Librarian and other genealogy research and information services. DHS does not propose to adjust the ABC model output for genealogy fees using the cost reallocation methodology as all costs incurred would have resulted in adding at least $141 to the proposed genealogy fees. Instead DHS proposes to add $19 to the model output for estimated applicable costs for a total proposed fee of $65.
Table 9—Proposed Fees by Immigration Benefit/p>
|Immigration benefit request
||Current fee ($)
||Proposed fee ($)
|G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request||$20||$65||$45||225%|
|G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm)||$20||$65||$45||225%|
|G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record)||$35||$65||$30||86%|
To submit comments: Submissions should include the agency name and DHS Docket No. USCIS-2016-0001 for this rulemaking. Regardless of how you submit your comment to DHS, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you provide.
For access to the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter this rulemaking’s eDocket number: USCIS-2016-0001. The docket includes additional documents that support the analysis contained in this proposed rule to determine the specific fees that are proposed.
To read the regulation see: http://tinyurl.com/htmf73x