Published September 22, 2019


Administration Aims to Dramatically Increase Filing Fees for Appeals

In an effort that will effectively deter appeals of certain immigration decisions within the deportation court system, the Trump administration is reportedly advancing a regulation to dramatically increase the filing fees associated with such appeals.

The regulatory proposal being considered would increase the current filing fee of $110.00 by 900% to a total of $975.00 in most cases.

If imposed, the new filing fee will create a severe financial obstacle for a significant portion of the impacted population, a mostly vulnerable population seeking to advance their right to due process of law and to facilitate meaningful review of legally incorrect decisions.  Developments on this issue will continue to be featured in this column as further news becomes available.

DHS/CIS Processing Times for I-485 (Green Card) and N-400 (Naturalization) applications for Chicago Area Applicants

In the past year, processing times for Chicago area Green Card and Naturalization applicants have expanded slightly, but overall have remained fairly consistent. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for other critical applications, such as for Employment Authorization or Advance Parole travel documents, with processing times for these filings skyrocketing to unprecedented wait times.

All I-485 applicants for Adjustment of Status (Green Card), whether based on a family relationship, or employer sponsorship, are called in for interviews these days.  This is a departure from previous protocols, where typically it would be only marriage based applicants getting interviewed.  I-485 applicants will generally be scheduled for their adjustment of status interview at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Chicago Field Office within approximately 7-9 months of application submission.

Chicago area applicants for Naturalization (N-400) will be scheduled for their citizenship interviews within approximately 9 months of submitting their filing, and an oath ceremony, for approved cases, usually being scheduled a month or so after interview.

In more detail, the following timelines are at play for both family and employment based I-485 adjustment of status filings — assuming all aspects of the filing and documentation are prepared and submitted according to instructions:

  1.  Dept. of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services receipts are issued within 1 to 2 weeks of application submission,
  2.  Notices scheduling appointments for bio-metrics (fingerprint) are usually sent out 2 to 4 weeks after filing,
  3.  Employment Authorization Document (and for those eligible, Advance Parole Travel Document) is issued within 6 months from the filing date – REPRESENTING A MAJOR CHANGE AND HUGE DEPARTURE from previous practice, where such documents used to be issued within 60-90 days of filing and,
  4.  Interview notices (for DHS/CIS Chicago cases), as stated, are generally issued within 7-9 months following application submission.


PUBLISHED September 22, 2019– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2019, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois