U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials declined to explain exactly how they arrived at the new fee amounts. But the agency has said it must increase fees across the board — including substantial hikes for green card and citizenship applications — to avoid a $1.26 billion annual budget shortfall. By law, USCIS must fund itself through fees.
…Some of the files are scheduled to transfer to the National Archives, where they can be accessed free by the public in person, but the vast majority of the information contained in the files is not available outside of the USCIS program, he said.
Venezia said he is puzzled by the jump in fees, especially given that the program nearly tripled fees in 2016, explaining at the time that the new fees would fully cover the program’s costs, he said.
“What could possibly have changed in three years to warrant such a huge increase?” he asked.