Thursday, June 16, 2016

CIS Filing Fee Increase for N-600 Unfairly Hurts International Adoption Community

In early May, USCIS, (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), proposed to raise the majority of its filing fees. This is a big problem for parents of international adopted children:

USCIS Filing Fee Increase and the Impact on Adoptive Parents
                                                       
                                                               Current Fee     Proposed Fee    Increase
                                                                                                                                   
1. Orphan Cases                                      $720                       $775               8%
I600A/I600                                                                                                                
2. Hague Cases                                         $720                      $775                8%
I800A/I800                                                                                                                
3. Adoptive Child Overseas                      $420                      $535                27%
I-130                                                                                                              
4. Adoptive Child residing in the US        $1,405                   $1,675             19%
I-130/I485                                                                                                                              
5. Citizenship Application                         $600                      $1,170             95%
N-600/N600K                                                                                                                        
6. Replacement Certificate of Citizenship $345                      $555                61%
N-565

While USCIS is a fee based agency and an increase in some of its fees may be warranted, the percentage increase for the forms that most affect international adoptive parents, the N-600 and N-600K, is disproportionately high. The increase is almost 95%, which is an unfair burden on these adoptive parents. Intercountry adoption processes are already long and emotionally challenging.  Adding to the costs would serve as a possible deterrent to prospective parents and an impediment to needy children finding a permanent family. 

Further, many families who did not complete their adoptions overseas, subsequently have completed the re-adoption or finalization process in the U.S. prior to the child's 18th birthday.  This means that their children became U.S. citizens under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.  However, they do not have proof of their child's status because they never filed for a Certificate of Citizenship, using the Form N-600.  So, the filing fee increase not only will negatively impact future adoptions, but it unfairly impacts children who are already U.S. citizens but whose parents have just never filed the appropriate form.

For those families, I urge them to file the  N-600 for their adopted child now before the increase becomes effective. Also, I encourage the adoption community as a whole to express its opinion about this increase as USCIS is allowing public comments about the fee increase until July 5, 2016.

 Send your comments here: 
You may submit comments, identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS-
2016-0001, by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow this site's instructions for submitting comments.
     Email: You may email comments directly to USCIS at 
uscisfrcomment@dhs.gov. Include DHS Docket No. USCIS-2016-0001 in the 
Subject line of the message.
     Mail: You may submit comments directly to USCIS by mailing 
them to Samantha Deshommes, Acting Chief, Regulatory Coordination 
Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and 
Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2020. To ensure proper handling, 
please reference DHS Docket No. USCIS-2016-0001 on your correspondence. 
This mailing address may be used for paper or CD-ROM submissions.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: You may submit comments directly to 
USCIS by having them delivered to Samantha Deshommes, Acting Chief, 
Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 
20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2020. The contact 
telephone number is (202) 272-8377.

Hopefully, if enough people express their dissatisfaction with the filing fee increase for the N-600, USCIS might consider a smaller filing fee increase or no increase at all.
Drafted by Karen S. Law, Esquire with assistance from intern Amanda Wong
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This blog and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2016