New USCIS Fees Take Effect. Have you updated your billing system?

The USCIS has published a final rule which increases the fees for many immigration filings, including premium processing cases, and introduces new fees for applications and services that were previously processed without charge. The new fee schedule will take effect 60 days after publication, on November 23, 2010. Petitions and applications postmarked on or after November 23 must include the new fees. A detailed Q&A document about the new fee rule can be foundhere. Passing along the appropriate filing fees to your clients during the transitional period when USCIS fee changes are taking effect can be tricky for a busy law firm. Do you routinely collect fees at the onset of the application/petition, or do you bill after filing? How many hours are spent reviewing invoices, letters of intent, or past correspondences? And what happens if you get it wrong, and inadvertently bill the wrong amount? Managing filing fees in an efficient manner is an absolutely crucial step to insure not only that the appropriate fees are communicated and collected, but also to maintain a good work relationship with your valued clients. How might a busy law firm accomplish this? The first thought that the firm should quickly consider is: “What cases do I have in process right now that might be affected by this change in fees?” An effective case management system will feature a robust reporting system that will allow the firm to produce a list of petitions and applications that are ready to be filed or will become ready to file within the transitional period surrounding the November 23 fee change deadline. A report template of this type can be generated within a few short minutes and will save the office significant concern and time that would otherwise be spent with a manual system researching the case status. But wait, there’s more! Sophisticated case management systems such as EDGE also provide integrated billing systems that may solve much of this concern for incoming new clients. Filing fee management is built into the interface, providing easy one-time updates to fees that will be reflected automatically whenever a new client is retained (and later billed). From there, you can easily view current charges, billing history, payment history and even credits from the comfort of your immigration case management system. This is where a case management system can really shine – enabling a firm to react quickly to USCIS changes with a minimum of additional effort. Want to learn more about how reporting functionality can save your firm time and effort?  Current EDGE clients can contact Customer Support here or by calling us at 602-357-4240 ext. 2 for complete details.  New clients interested in learning more about the LawLogix EDGE system can contact us here or call 602-357-4240 ext. 1. Also, please visit our website for general information.