USCIS ISSUES RULE TO RAISE FEES AND FUND ASYLUM PROGRAM WITH NEW $600 EMPLOYER PETITION FEE
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed raised fees and a rule to fund the asylum program with an increased fee of $600 to be paid by employers who file either a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees. The new fees would allow USCIS to recover its operating costs, reestablish and maintain timely case processing, and prevent the accumulation of future case backlogs.
The proposed rule would still preserve existing fee waiver eligibility for low-income and vulnerable populations and add new fee exemptions for certain humanitarian programs. If finalized, the proposed rule would alter fees for more than one million low-income filers each year.
After a comprehensive fee review at USCIS, sources determined that the agency’s current fees, which have remained unchanged since 2016, fall far short of recovering the full cost of agency operations. Since filing fees are a primary source of USCIS funding, DHS and USCIS proposed several changes.
The proposed changes would include removing the separate biometrics fee; requiring separate filing fees for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and associated Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (advance parole), and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; establishing separate fees for Form I-129 by nonimmigrant classification; revising the premium processing timeframe interpretation from calendar days to business days; and creating lower fees for forms filed online.
The proposed fee hikes include, but are not limited to:
Application for Employment Authorization – Online, from current $410 to new $555
Application for Employment Authorization – Paper, from current $410 to new $650
Application for Employment Authorization – Online and Paper (with biometric services), from current $495 to new $650
H-1B Pre-Registration Fee, from current $10 to proposed $215
I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker: H-1 Classifications, from current $460 to proposed $780
I-129 Petition for L Nonimmigrant Worker, from current $460 to proposed $1,385
I-129 Petition for O Nonimmigrant Worker, from current $460 to proposed $1,055
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, from current $700 to proposed $715
H-2A Petition – Named Beneficiaries, from current $460 to proposed $1,090
H-2A Petition – Unnamed Beneficiaries, from current $460 to proposed $530
H-2B Petition – Named Beneficiaries, from current $460 to proposed $1,080
H-2B Petition – Unnamed Beneficiaries, from current $460 to proposed $580
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor, from current $3,675 to proposed $11,160
Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor, from current $3,675 to proposed $11,160
Application for Regional Center Designation, from current $17,795 to proposed $47,695
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (with biometric services), from current $1,225 to proposed $1,540
USCIS encourages public comment on this proposed rule. The 60-day public comment period will begin on Jan. 4, 2023, and will end on March 6, 2023. Fees will not change until after this public comment period.
To view the USCIS news release, click here.