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Sep 18, 2020

Update on Upcoming USCIS Fee Changes

Joshua H. Rolf

Quick Takeaways

  • Fee increases and corresponding versions of new forms will apply to filings postmarked 10/02/2020 or later.
  • Fee increases by a weighted average of 20%, $10.00 discount available to online filings.
  • Significant increases for naturalization and overall cost of adjustment of status.
  • Asylum Applications will now carry $50.00 fee.
  • Premium Processing will remain the same fee but with 15-business-day deadline.
  • Most separate biometric fees eliminated and built-in to overall filing fee.
  • Several fee waivers no longer available.

Though USCIS averted its long-threatened furlough of 13,000 workers due to budget shortfalls, the Agency will press forward with implementing fee changes for several benefits as of October 2, 2020. Importantly, the new fees – which, in many cases, will be accompanied by new editions of forms – will apply to all filings that are postmarked on or after October 2, 2020. As such, all filings postmarked on or before October 1, 2020 will retain the current payment schedule. Moreover, while there are certain fees that will decrease (e.g., I-140 Petitions will be $145.00 less than they are now), the weighted average increase will be 20%, with certain benefits seeing significantly elevated fees. And although there is ongoing litigation that could delay the implementation of these fee increases, at this point we do anticipate that they will go into effect as scheduled.[1]

Nonimmigrant Visa Petitions/Applications

With respect to temporary, nonimmigrant workers, many of the above-mentioned fee changes will be accompanied by new Forms. In particular, the Form I-129 will now be broken into several different versions to cover specific classes of nonimmigrant visa categories:

FORM

Current Fee

New Fee

Change (% +/-)

I-129H1

$460.00

$555.00

+21%

I-129H2B (Named Beneficiaries)

$460.00

$715.00

+55%

I-129H2B (Unnamed Beneficiaries)

$460.00

$385.00

-10%

I-129L (L-1A, L-1B, and Blanket L)

$460.00

$805.00

+75%

I-129 E, TN, CW (E-1, E-2, E-3, TN, CW)

$460.00

$695.00

+51%

I-129MISC (H-3, P, Q, R)

$460.00

$695.00

+51%

 

In addition, the new rules will make employers with more than 50 employees, more than 50% of whom are in H-1B or L-1 status, pay an extra fee of $4,000.00 (H-1B) or $4,500.00 (L-1) for initial Petitions and subsequent extensions of stay, instead of just the initial Petitions as presently required. However, the new fees will not impact the Fraud Fee (initial H-1B and L-1) or ACWIA Fees (certain H-1Bs).

Furthermore, the fee for Forms I-539 will increase from $370.00 to $400.00 (and $390.00 if filed online); however, that $400.00 (or $390.00) will now include the biometric fee that was previously $85.00, and there does not appear to be any fee increase for dependent applicants using Form I-539A.

Immigrant Visa Petitions/Applications and Citizenship

Some fees (e.g., I-140 and base I-485) will decrease; however, overall, the new fees will make adjustments of status and naturalizations far more expensive. Of note, EAD and Advance Parole Applications will no longer be free of charge when filed with Adjustment of Status Applications, children under 14 must pay the full Adjustment of Status Application fee, and the cost of applying for citizenship will almost double. Specifically, the new fees will be:

FORM

Current Fee

New Fee

Change (% +/-)

I-140

$700.00

$555.00

-21%

I-485

$1,140.00

$1,130.00

-1%

I-485 (For Applicants Under 14)

$750.00

$1,130.00

+51%

I-765 (Non-DACA)

$410.00

$550.00

+34%

I-765 (DACA)

$410.00

$410.00

+51%

I-131

$575.00

$695.00

+51%

Adjustment of Status with EAD and AP

$1,225.00

$2,270.00

+85%

I-526

$3,675.00

$4,010.00

+9%

I-90

$455.00

$415.00*

-9%

N-400

$640.00

$1,170.00*

+83%

*$10.00 discount if filed online.

Premium Processing

The fee associated with the Premium Processing, when available, shall remain consistent. However, with the fee change will also come a slowdown in Premium Processing – namely, instead of processing in 15 calendar days, USCIS will render a decision in 15 business days. In response to the above-referenced and thankfully-averted furlough, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand access to Premium Processing while also increasing the Premium Processing fee on a classification-by-classification basis, the new fees will not bring about any expansion of this service.

Next Steps

Importantly, the below-listed fee changes are not comprehensive, and therefore do not cover all filing situations we or our clients encounter. Accordingly, we strongly suggest that you reach out to our Firm if you have any questions regarding the upcoming fee changes.


[1] As of right now, it is only USCIS that is increasing fees; as such, Fees paid to the U.S. Department of State for Visa Applications at U.S. Consulates abroad shall remain consistent.

Related Team

Joshua H. Rolf

Joshua H. Rolf

(215) 395-8959

(215) 395-8959

email Joshua

Philadelphia (US Headquarters)

Full Biography

Joshua H. Rolf

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