On Oct. 26, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will increase many of its fees on forms international students may have to fill out once they enter the United States. to study. The increase in fees will be the first since the agency was restructured after Sept. 11, 2001.
The fee increase may affect some of the university’s 1,598 international students.
Most fees will increase about $5 to $15 per form. The fee increase will not affect international students applying to study in the U.S., but it could affect them when they are in the U.S., said Dr. Martyn Miller, Temple’s director of International Services.
The forms include the application for status reinstatement, status change and employment authorization. These forms’ fees will increase by $5.
“[USCIS] is now fee-based instead of being funded by the government,” Miller said. “The total cost must be covered by fees and any of [USCIS’] expense increases must be passed along.”
“Altogether, it’s quite a bit of money. [International] students pay out of state tuition and have many other expenses,” Miller said. The accumulation of fees makes it less and less attractive for students to come to the U.S.”
The fee increase applies to all students coming to the United States, studying at any school.
Rico Sugandy, 29, a senior accounting major from Indonesia said, “The fee itself would not deter me from coming to the U.S. to study.”
Sugandy said he is graduating at the end of this semester and plans to continue working at the accounting firm KPMG, where he currently works.
Miller said he confirmed the fee hike with USCIS on Tuesday. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System fee, which all international students coming into the U.S. to attend school must pay, is controlled by law to not exceed $100, the amount which it is set currently, Miller said. Student visa fees are based on the country of origin and will not increase.
“This is not a prohibitive fee increase,” Miller said, “though if you’re worried about where you’re going to eat your next meal, this could be prohibitive.”
The increase will not affect U.S. students studying abroad, Miller said. International visitors coming to the U.S. for purposes other than education will encounter USCIS’ $5 to $15 fee increases. Miller said it is important to note there are many forms involved in immigration, and the fees can add up quickly.
After Sept. 11, 2001, Immigration and Naturalization Services was moved under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security and renamed USCIS. INS was a government-funded program with smaller service fees.
Josh Chamberlain can be reached at Joshch@temple.edu.