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Final fee rule announced by USCIS

Gentle people, we won.

Pure and simple.

The final rule adopting new fees for the genealogy program at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was published today and…

We won.

Starting April 1, 2024, the fees for some of the most common genealogy records requests at USCIS will actually be coming down, rather than going up. And the fees that are going up are going up by a lot less than had been threatened by the agency in its rules proposal in January of 2023.

Yeah. We won.

USCIS final rule

As proposed the rule would have increased the fee for genealogy record index search requests filed online from the current $65 to $100 and the fee for an actual record request filed online from the current $65 to $240. The fees for a request filed by mail on paper would have gone from $65 to $120 for an index search and $65 to $260 for a copy of a record.1

As announced this morning, the fees for requests made on paper will increase: the fees for an index search will rise from $65 to $80, and from $65 to $80 for a copy of a record. That’s up by 23%, far less than the 85% and 300% increases originally proposed.2

But the fees for requests filed online will actually decrease: the fees for an index search will go down from $65 to $30 and the same — from $65 to $30 — for a copy of a record requested online. That’s down by 23 percent, instead of the 54% and 269% increases originally proposed.3


This is a Very Big Deal.

Even better is the recognition by the agency, in response to comments made by genealogists to the proposed rule, that “NARA is the appropriate repository for permanently retained records”4 — a critical first step in getting key records moved to where they should be for permanent preservation and access.

The bottom line here is two-fold:

1. When the genealogical community comes together, works together and speaks with one voice, sometimes we can win very important battles when it comes to records access.

2. Come April 1, there are going to be a lot of very happy genealogists making immigration and naturalization records requests for a much lower fee than expected — and even less than we’re paying now.

Folks, we won.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “BIG win on USCIS fees,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 31 Jan 20242024).


  1. See generally Judy G. Russell, “USCIS proposes BIG fee hike,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 5 Jan 2023 ( : accessed 31 Jan 2024).
  2. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements,” 89 Fed. Reg. 6194, 6198 (31 Jan 2024).
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., at 6326.
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