A provision in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 required the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to reduce application and petition fees by 25 percent (an average of $50) by Friday, January 24, 2003, the date that the Homeland Security Act went into effect. INS published the fee changes (showing old fee versus new fee) in the Federal Register on January 24, 2003. [68 Fed. Reg. 3798 (January 24, 2003)]

The fee adjustment is required by Section 457 of the Homeland Security Act (AMDOC# 200212001) which removed from section 286(m) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) the provision that allowed INS to set its fees at a level that ensured recovery of the full costs of handling and processing applications from overseas refugees and from asylum seekers in the United States. For those who overpay their fees after January 24, 2003, the INS is planning to set up a refund system rather than rejecting the applications. The INS has stated that it will have to find funds from other sources to cover the costs of refugee and asylum processing. Some fear that the loss of the asylum and refugee "surcharge" funds will adversely affect the processing times not only of those types of applications, but all other types of applications as well. AMDOC#: 200301005