Immigration filing fees could be increased by an average of 40% following a proposed rule published today by the Department of Homeland Security. The proposed changes will not take immediate effect; rather, DHS will accept public comments for 60 days following Federal Register publication. The chart below illustrates the proposed fee hikes for USCIS forms most commonly filed by employers:
Asylum Program Fee
(additional fee applied to I-129 and I-140 petitions)
I-129 Nonimmigrant Petition (H-1B)
I-129 Nonimmigrant Petition (L-1)
I-129 Nonimmigrant Petition (O-1)
H-1B Cap Registration
I-140 Immigrant Petition
I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status
Total fees for Forms I-485, I-765 (filed on paper), I-131, and biometrics services
I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service
Highlights of the proposed rule include:
I-129 Nonimmigrant Petitions
Among the most dramatic filing fee increases are those for Form I-129, which is filed on behalf of workers performing temporary services in the United States in any nonimmigrant status, such as H-1B, L-1, or O-1. Currently, DHS requires a uniform filing fee of $460 for Form I-129, regardless of the nonimmigrant classification requested. Under the proposed rule, DHS would impose distinct filing fees based on the nonimmigrant status requested, all of which represent steep increases from the current uniform fee. In addition to the filing fee increases, all petitioners filing Form I-129 nonimmigrant petitions would pay a new $600 “Asylum Program Fee” designed to help cover some of the costs of asylum processing which does not include a fee. The agency asserts that this change would mitigate the size of proposed fee increases for individual applicants and petitioners.
H-1B Cap Registration
The proposed rule would increase the cost of registering for the H-1B lottery on behalf of cap-subject employees. Citing the operational costs of the registration program, DHS proposes to raise the H-1B cap registration fee from $10 per registration to $215 per registration.
I-140 Immigrant Petitions
DHS proposes only a modest increase of the Form I-140 filing fee, from $700 to $715. As explained above, however, the proposed rule would also impose a $600 “Asylum Program Fee” for immigrant petitions on top of the I-140 filing fee.
Adjustment of Status, Work Authorization, and Advance Parole
The proposed rule would also impose separate filing fees for Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status and its ancillary benefits. Under the current fee schedule, USCIS “bundles” adjustment of status applications with applications for employment authorization (Form I-765) and advance parole (Form I-131) when the forms are filed concurrently. This allows applicants to file all three forms for a total of $1,225, which includes the $1,140 filing fee for Form I-485 and a biometrics fee of $85. The proposed filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,540, which will include biometric services. In addition to increasing the filing fee for Form I-485, USCIS proposes to unbundle adjustment of status applications from their ancillary benefits. Under the proposed rule, the filing fee for Form I-765 would be $555 if filed online or $650 if filed on paper, and the filing fee for Form I-131, which can only be filed on paper, would be $630. Accordingly, the total cost of filing Forms I-485, I-765, and I-131 would increase from $1,140 to approximately $2,820 if Form I-765 is filed on paper.
Premium Processing Service
In addition to increasing filing fees, USCIS has proposed to lengthen the premium processing timeframe from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, reducing employers’ ability to expedite the processing of time-sensitive petitions. The fee for premium processing service would remain unchanged at $2,500.
Across the board, the proposed fee schedule would increase current fees by a weighted average of 40 percent. DHS asserts that these increases are necessary to reduce processing times, improve customer service, and eliminate backlogs. The agency will accept public comments on the proposed rule until March 6, 2023 and has published answers to frequently asked questions about the proposal at https://www.uscis.gov/proposed-fee-rule-frequently-asked-questions. Following the 60-day public comment period, the proposed rule must undergo a federal review process before the final rule can be published and take effect.
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